While in the past, SEO was reserved primarily for consumer marketing, more and more healthcare organizations are implementing it as part of a comprehensive recruitment marketing plan.

In order to understand better how it can work for HR, we sat down with two healthcare marketing experts to get their take on SEO and its best practices for recruitment.

Our interviewees are Mark Ellison, SEO and digital marketing expert in the healthcare space and Kim Alvarez, Vice President at NJ Advance Media. Kim is a Top 25 Leading Women Brand Builder (2017) and NJ AdClub 40 under 40 MARCOM Professionals (2016)

Q 1). What are some of the basics that healthcare recruitment organizations should consider as first steps when considering SEO?

Mark Ellison

Keywords can make or break your SEO strategy. Keyword Research is free and relatively easy and is a must for any recruitment organization. For example, simply knowing that “jobs” is searched 3x as frequently as “careers” is extremely useful information to know as you begin SEO.

Additionally, you want to be realistic about how to rank keywords. Ranking for a generic and extremely competitive keyword like “jobs” is not realistic, as you would be competing with massive websites like Indeed and Career Builder. Start small. Aim for a less competitive keyword like “pediatric nursing careers in Trent”, and then adjust accordingly. It’s better to rank on the first page and get some traffic for a very specific keyword like this, than to rank on the 20th page and get zero traffic for a very competitive keyword.

Kim Alvarez

Put simply SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an umbrella term used to describe the strategies you can implement to ensure that your content and website are ranked highly on search engine results pages.  The first step for any organization that is considering an SEO strategy is to make sure you have a strong foundation to build upon.  A healthy website that is mobile friendly and provides a good user experience while relaying a strong brand is key.   Three of the top things that search engines are looking for when ranking are Content, Crawlability, and Trustworthy Backlinks.  Everyone needs an SEO strategy and in a competitive field like Health Care Recruitment it is best to leave that strategy up to a professional, by finding a trusted partner or marketing agency that can guide you through the ever changing world of Search Engine Optimization to make sure you are at the cutting edge and doing the right things to rank.

2). What role does social media play for these organizations as it relates to SEO?

Mark Ellison

For me, it plays three roles. 1. SEO – The correlation between search engine rankings and social media signals such as retweets, likes and shares is very high, so Social should be part of your SEO strategy. 2. Branding- Be where your audience is… and they’re all on social media. Maybe they are not looking for a new job today, but you want to be top of mind when they do. And you want them to know EXACTLY what it’s like to work in your organization. 3. Engagement- We drive a ton of applicants from social media: Linkedin and Facebook particularly. For some positions, it’s our largest source of applicants by far. Your followers may not be interested or qualified for a certain job post, but their friends or family may be. Shares go a long way. Also, be available for questions from interested candidates.

Kim Alvarez

Officially Google does not recognize social as a major factor in determining rank for an organization; however social does enhance the ranking factors that Google does look for.  Social is built for sharing, therefore if your CONTENT is shared often then people will link to it and links are a driving force when it comes to SEO.  Additionally Social Platforms are search engines too and social profiles will rank if they are optimized correctly, when your social profiles are found on Search Engines candidates can link back to your website and apply for positions.  If you want your social profile to rank you need to maintain and optimize accordingly.  Post often with relevant, sharable content.  Optimize your website for social sharing, make it easy for users to share your content to their networks.  Remember that SEO and Social are not set it and forget it marketing strategies, both need to be nurtured and updated regularly to perform and drive traffic to your valuable store front… aka your website!

3). How important is it for career sites to be mobile optimized? How do they go about doing it?

Mark Ellison

Extremely important. Forget the fact more people search on mobile devices than desktops. On March 28, 2018, Google officially started rolling out mobile-first indexing. In short, this means that for the first time, Google will be using the mobile version of websites instead of the desktop version as the basis for indexing and rankings of websites. In other words, mobile optimized websites were once nice-to-have. In 2018, they are must-have. Few organizations will have these capabilities in house to build a responsive websites necessary to compete in 2018; bring on a consultant or reach out to experienced agencies like Shore Creative Group. Always ask for samples of their work, and always request the data/proof.

Kim Alvarez

Mobile optimization of your career site is of the utmost importance.  With Algorithm changes that Google put into play some time ago mobile-friendliness now plays a bigger role in search results than ever before.  Searches conducted on mobile devices will give preferential ranking to sites that are optimized for mobile, if your site is not responsive you will suffer a significant hit to your rankings.  In addition to ranking on search engines you want to have a seamless apply method that can be used on all devices.  The last thing you want to do is catch the perfect candidate and have them be turned off by the lengthy process of applying to a position or having to switch devices in order to do it.  Two key statistics to bear in mind when considering the importance of mobile; 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile device and 89% of job seekers think mobile devices play a critical role in the job hunting process.

So how do you get started? Well, the best initial step is to contact a trusted partner, web developer or marketing agency that can advise you on how to upgrade your current site or build out a new modern version that will rank appropriately for the types of positions you have open and will attract and wow your prospective new applicants.  As you know your website is the first impression most job seekers will get of your organization; in this highly competitive space do you want to appear modern and seamless or cumbersome and disorganized?

4). What types of content should they consider?

Mark Ellison

I don’t feel very strongly on one type of content vs another. But having done this for 15 years, I can say it varies from organization to organization and even job to job. A great video may work great on one campaign but come up short on another. All I can say is to test (and measure) everything.

Kim Alvarez

The best content for any careers site will tell the story of your brand.  What gets your current employees excited about working for you? Highlight the benefits and culture of your organization, including your mission statement and the many awards and accolades you have received in your field.  What’s your differentiator, how do you stand apart from your competitors when it comes to talent? Consider your careers site a store front and look to engage people.  Build a community within the site that is robust with information and contains the opportunity for jobseekers to learn more and fall in love with you at first site!

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