The King of Search has found another domain to conquer; the job search. Google recently completed the rollout of its new ‘ Google for Jobs’ feature.
The new service could impact the lives of digital marketers—and not just by introducing them to job opportunities. Like almost everything else Google does, the new feature means new considerations and a shift in strategy for SEM and SEO professionals, among others.
Though the new applet seems innocuous enough, it has the potential to severely disrupt the search experience of a huge number of users. That’s cause for anyone responsible for what potential customers see on the SERPs to give it a second look.
How it Works
The Google for Jobs functionality is fairly simple. It gets activated when a user searches for a term containing a keyword related to jobs, careers, or work. For instance; “construction hiring near me,” “SEO/SEM jobs,” or “careers at Home Depot” will all trigger the tool to come up much like the Google Maps widget will pop up if you search for restaurants or retail stores.
Sample SERP with Google for Jobs
If you click on the “X+ more jobs” prompt, you are taken to a special Google for Jobs interface that allows you to easily browse through the jobs the search engine scraped up and filter them based on a suite of criteria like title, location, or company name.
Example of a search for marketing positions in Google for Jobs
Google pulls from job post aggregators like LinkedIn and Glassdoor as well as corporate job boards hosted on company sites or third-party job boards. Google aims to bring all the disparate results together in one place.
And as someone who has been on the job market recently, I have to say; it’s a welcome addition to what can be a painful job search experience.
“46% of U.S. employers say they face talent shortages and have issues filling open job positions,” Sundar Pichai, the company’s CEO, said at its recent I/O conference. “While job seekers may be looking for openings right next door – there’s a big disconnect here… We want to better connect employers and job seekers through a new initiative, Google for Jobs.”
“46% of U.S. employers say they face talent shortages and have issues filling open job positions,”
The feature uses Google’s well-trained machine learning capabilities to show searchers jobs they might not have found using the more primitive search engines available on traditional job boards.
Google for Jobs can be activated on both desktop and mobile. Go ahead and check it out some time; maybe you’ll find a great opportunity nearby you’d never have considered otherwise!
How it Impacts SEOs
Anyone working in SEO should keep an eye on Google for Jobs, especially if you target any keywords that even remotely resemble the terms that can trigger it. Keep in mind that the term “[YOUR COMPANY] jobs” can activate the widget.
These are some major keywords that garner a lot of traffic and hold a lot of potential value to businesses. Just a few examples, courtesy of the Keyword Planner tool:
Keyword volume estimates for some common search terms
As the machine learning part of Google for Jobs kicks in and gathers more and more user behavior, it could start activating during searches you might not expect. Monitor your keywords for instances where the widget might activate.
Take a glance at the examples above, or make a search of your own. The first thing that is glaringly obvious is that in searches where the Google for Job applet turns on, it absolutely dominates the SERP above the fold.
The tool appears right above the search results, as opposed to a Knowledge Panel or Graph that would typically be off to the side, at least on desktop. And it is far more intrusive than most featured snippets which tend to be far narrower.
That means organic search results are getting pushed way, way down the page. On desktop, you might see one or two placements before scrolling. On mobile, you will often not see any at all without having to swipe.
That will make a prominent placement at position one or two for such keywords all the more important; visibility and clicks on results beyond that in SERPs, where Google for Jobs is present, will probably go from slim to none.
Finally, SEO best practices might need to start being applied to your business’s job board and job descriptions. Internal hiring content tends to go overlooked by SEOs and is usually managed by HR professionals who know little about practical SEO strategy. However, strong job description SEO and polishing could mean a more prominent placement by Google for Jobs, which in turn could lead to a greater quantity of qualified candidates and a stronger company overall.
Implications for SEMs
Fortunately for search marketers, Google for Jobs probably won’t have a dramatic immediate impact. Paid ads continue populating at the top of the SERP as normal:
There are two important things worth noting here:
- Though Google allows for up to four top-of-page ads, I haven’t found a term that pulls more than three ads when the Google for Jobs widget pops up. So if your SEM strategy involved being the last ad at the top for any of these terms, you might have to start shelling out to move from #4 to #3.
- Ads at the bottom of the SERPs will, of course, be pushed even further down than before.
SEMs should also consider how Google for Jobs could affect their SEO counterparts, as I explained above. If you previously relied on organic rankings in the middle of the SERPs for some terms that are now getting pushed down by the widget, it might be worthwhile to start bidding for territory to ensure your brand is getting the visibility you need.
Finally, there is the topic of paid placements on Google for Jobs itself. Most job boards offer employers a way to feature a job or target it towards certain users—for a price.
Currently, Google for Jobs has no such capability. Furthermore, it claims it has no intent to compete with other job boards or to offer paid territory on the app.
However, I would be surprised if this was a promise that held up indefinitely. Google is well known for finding ways to monetize its massive volume of search traffic, and there’s no reason why it couldn’t start giving certain jobs preferential treatment in the Google for Jobs app for a nominal fee.
If this happens, you should consider reaching out to your internal recruitment team. HR and SEM don’t join forces often, but it is in your mutual best interest to coordinate and get the most from any budgets allocated for online recruitment advertising.