With over millions of job searches each month on major job boards like Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder, are you doing enough to make sure your job postings are searchable and stand out? When you think of Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), you probably think it pertains to online marketing and websites, right? You wouldn’t automatically associate it with job postings, but it’s just as important. Adding keywords to your job description is one way to make your job postings searchable.

Here’s how you can better optimize your job postings for better search results in three simple ways:

Do Your Research (Keyword Research, that is)

When writing your title and job description, it’s important to pick phrases that are relevant to your job posting. Phrases that are too general come with more competition and put you at risk for showing up at the bottom of the results page or delivering unqualified candidates. For example, instead of using basic phrases like “customer service” you should specify “customer service manager,” “call center customer service representative,” or “medical customer service.” The goal is to get as specific and relevant as you can to reach the most qualified audience (so you don’t have entry-level candidates applying for an upper-level position). If you’re stumped for keyword ideas, try out free keyword research tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get keyword ideas.

Another way to research keywords in the job description is to look at competitor listings for similar postings and create a list of the keywords that they are using. Import your list to a free word cloud generator such as WordClouds so you can visually see the most used keywords being used.

Pick a Searchable Job Title

When creating a job title, you want to choose something that is simple and concise. Be careful not to use this an opportunity to “sell” your posting or get creative (eg: “Top Performers Wanted!” “Rare Opportunity with Great Company!”) because that makes your posting potentially unsearchable. Don’t title your job ad, “Chief Happiness Officer,” “Fashion Evangelist,” or one of these other ridiculous job titles.  To better optimize your title, include the job description with career level or job type (part-time, full-time). Including the acronym to a job title along with writing out the job itself is also important. For example, if you’re hiring for a Registered Nurse, write out “Registered Nurse (RN).” By doing this, you’ll likely catch people who are searching out both of those common phrases.

Keep the job title accurate and concise (anywhere between 5 – 80 characters), and do not write the title in all CAPS. It is also important not to include any special characters unless you are looking for a C# developer. Keeping your job title simple, yet informative will make it easier to read and find.

Optimize Your Job Description

The job description is the meat and potatoes of your posting. A search engine populates the results of listings that have the most relevance, and relevancy begins in the description of your job posting. So how can you accomplish this? Using the results from your keyword research, pick 3 phrases and use those throughout the copy in your description. By using your keywords frequently, your posting will become better optimized and more likely to appear often. It’s also important to note that while you want to be relevant, make sure you don’t over-stuff your description with keywords so frequently that it starts sounding unnatural.

Indeed offers a great resource for writing job descriptions and even offers sample templates.

Make sure to include a strong, opening paragraph to explain the job and company culture. The ideal candidate is busy and doesn’t have time to read every detail of the job description so your opening paragraph needs to stand out and “sell” the candidate on the job early on. Be honest and do not exaggerate or underplay the responsibilities. It is also a good idea to provide an idea of your company culture that might attract applicants. Not only include employee benefits, but also the cultural vibe. For example, does your office allow telecommuting? Does your office have a dress down policy? Mention any benefit that would set your organization apart from your competitors. If you want to see more on this topic see our article on Why Employment Branding is Essential for the Job Recruitment.

Optimizing a job posting can be time-consuming. If you need help with writing one or are not sure which keywords are the best for your posting, you can always consult with your marketing department for optimization help. They’ll be your best resource for helping you craft a searchable and creative job posting.