NEW: Google for Jobs is now rolling out in the UK; you can expect to see changes in organic traffic starting to show up in Analytics this month as the roll-out gains wider penetration.

We've updated this guide to better outline the likely impact of the change.

INTRODUCTION 

WHAT’S IN THE GUIDE?

Our guide is designed as a ‘live’ resource, which will be regularly updated as we continue to learn more about Google for Jobs.

You’ll see that some sections are marked as ‘coming soon’ – they will be released ASAP, so make sure you stay updated by bookmarking this page or signing up for email alerts.

WHO IS THIS GUIDE FOR?

1. Job board marketers responsible for candidate attraction
If this is you, we recommend reading the whole guide.

2. Job board owners and managers
You should read the executive summary and download the strategy planning toolkit (coming soon)

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

  • Our goal is to create the first definitive free industry guide to Google for Jobs.
  • We encourage you to contribute wherever you can: if you notice errors, omissions, or simply have something to add please don’t hesitate to contact us.
  • All contributions will be fully referenced.

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CONTENTS

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Google For Jobs - Feature Overview
  3. Challenges for Job Boards
  4. Implications for Other Job Board Marketing Channels
  5. Technical Implementation 
  6. Testing Google Jobs and Thoughts on Optimisation
  7. Should you get involved with Google for Jobs?
  8. Industry Resources for Further Reading

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

WHAT WE KNEW PRE-LAUNCH

  • Google for Jobs is one of three major new services released by Google in 2017. The others are Google for Hire and Google Cloud Job Discovery.
  • It was announced at Google’s annual I/O conference in May 2017, and you can see the full announcement on YouTube.
  • Google for Jobs was launched in the USA first (in English).
  • Google for Jobs has now been launched in the UK and has rolled out to a very small segment of searchers. We expect this roll-out to gradually affect increasing numbers of searchers until it is fully live
  • It's unclear how long this "testing" phase will last until the full rollout goes live

THE CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE

  • Google for Jobs will present candidates with a purpose-built interface when they search for a job keyword (e.g. ‘project manager jobs London’), similar to Google Shopping, News and Maps results.
  • Clicking on a result will present users with a Google-skinned summary of pertinent job information – location, hours, salaries, employer reviews, etc.
  • Google for Jobs puts the emphasis on individual jobs, as opposed to individual advertisers.  Candidates firstly click on a job, and only then are they presented with options as to which provider they choose

HOW IT WILL AFFECT THE MARKET

Going by the impact in the USA, the effect of the Google for Jobs roll-out touches on a number of areas:
  • Extremely large players in the generalist job board market have seen less traffic from organic search as Google moves towards the "jobs first" model as opposed to the "job boards first" model. 
  • Smaller players have seen more traffic attributed to organic search, as Google are doing much of the lifting when it comes to displaying jobs to candidates; they are no longer trying to compete with big generalists in search results
  • Any UK job board that receives a large proportion of its traffic from aggregators and affiliates will be  likely to see a decline in the availability and increase in the cost of such traffic.
  • Those who have diversified their traffic sources – whether through pursuing email and newsletter marketing, editorial traffic, social channels, etc. – and who offer more to registered job seekers, are likely to be less affected.

HOW TO UTILISE GOOGLE FOR JOBS

  • Google for Jobs is currently ‘organic only’ (i.e. it is not possible to sponsor results or buy advertising at present).
  • Inclusion requires use of specific mark-up to specify the details of your job adverts - title, salary, location, etc.
  • We think that, similar to Google Shopping, Google Jobs will eventually incorporate a PPC model.

2. GOOGLE FOR JOBS – FEATURE OVERVIEW 

HOW IT WORKS

  • When the search engine detects that a user is looking for a job it will display the Google for Jobs search box:

As you can see, there are a number of different filtering options available from within the box in the search results.

The first three are always:

  1. A link to the job subject area in general
  2. A link to jobs listed in the last 3 days
  3. A link to full time jobs in that niche.

The rest of the links in the top bar are to related disciplines. Generally, 3 jobs are always visible right from the search results. Google for Jobs supports location filtering right from the search results, so Googling 'engineering jobs CA' will get you results in California, for example:

If a user clicks on anything in this box they enter the full ‘Google for Jobs’ interface where they can filter and browse jobs, etc:

Beneath the Google logo (which takes you back to the regular search results) and dedicated Google Jobs search bar, is a section with two tiers of further filtering options:

The top row presents a number of options which are always as follows:

  • Category
  • Title
  • State
  • City
  • Date Posted
  • Type
  • Company Type
  • Employer

Clicking on options in the top row doesn’t affect the results – instead, it changes the selection of tags that sit underneath. Clicking those tags, in turn, changes the results.

As an example, clicking 'title' presents row of tags to choose from. Note that hovering over these, or clicking the 'slider' icon in the top left, will expand the tags section to reveal additional options:

Let’s look at a job listing in detail:

The job posting itself contains a number of elements:

  1. The job title.
  2. A share button (the link this generates will not work outside of the USA at present).
  3. The company name, logo and location.
  4. Links out to various providers that have the job listed
  5. The age of the advert in days.
  6. The working hours – in this case, 'full time'.
  7. Full job description, preceded by the job title and reference number if applicable, and with a button to expand the view of the text.
  8. Estimated or actual salary depending on what's applicable
  9. Any reviews of the employer that were included in the mark-up.
  10. Finally, a link to the employer’s website, a link to other Google Jobs listings for that employer, and a link to a plain Google search for the employers name.

The Google Jobs search functionality uses machine learning, representing a significant step-up in terms of technology.

BUSINESS IMPLICATIONS

At this stage there is no ‘paid’ version of Google for Jobs, so results are ranked organically in order of their perceived relevance to searchers. However, we anticipate that Google will introduce a PPC-based advertising model for ‘sponsored jobs’ late in 2018.

Google for Jobs means yet more additional aggregated sections in search results, with the potential to impact the visibility of regular AdWords and organic listings. This all has possible knock-on effects for website traffic.

TRY IT OUT

You can see Google for Jobs in action here. The link will open a new window with a US google search box. Enter a specific job search (e.g. ‘project manager jobs new York’) to see how it performs; it may take a few searches for it to work.  We recommend including the word ‘jobs’ to make sure you trigger the job search recognition.

3. CHALLENGES FOR JOB BOARDS

Initially, Google had stated they wanted to 'de-duplicate' results, which we thought was likely to result in a tricky situation for job boards - as employers would be preferred as the 'originator' of each job. Responding to feedback, Google announced that instead they will now offer searchers with a range of options - as searchers want to be able to choose sites where they've already registered, etc.

This is a change in tact for how organic job board traffic works. In traditional search results, job boards can push to be in the top results for a given job query. In Google for Jobs, primarily, the job ranks - not the job board. There is no exclusivity to being ranked; every time a candidate is looking at your listing, your competitors are presented directly next to you.

What this means is that it's never been more important to cultivate an engaged userbase and push brand awareness. The advantage previously brought by being first in the rankings is rapidly turning into the benefit of being the most reconisable brand in a series of competitors.

With a high likelihood that Google will begin tailoring results based on who gets the highest click through rates, job boards that don't have a following are likely to find themselves filtered out from the Google for Jobs results as candidates click elsewhere.

To see if the roll-out has already affected your job board, you can use the UTM source "google_jobs_apply" in Google Analytics to see how much traffic is flowing through your site from Google for Jobs.

4. IMPLICATIONS FOR OTHER JOB BOARD MARKETING CHANNELS

ADWORDS CAMPAIGNS

Having taken some time to consult with our partners in the USA, since Google Jobs has rolled out, a few clear trends have emerged. From experience so far, the rule of thumb is that advertisers can expect around 50% less traffic available to buy through AdWords, and also expect the cost of this traffic has roughly doubled. Whilst there will always be differences between region, this does point to paid traffic becoming pricier.
Therefore, if you are running AdWords campaigns you can expect them to become much more expensive - and you may simply not be able to buy the same level of traffic that you do currently.

SEO

Owing to the fact that Google jobs results are very likely to dominate any search query containing words like 'job' or 'career', we thought initially this would suggest a fairly significant decrease in organic traffic for active job seeking terms.  The reality is less clear.

Whilst branded organic search traffic is therefore unlikely affected, your generic job queries might change significantly. In the USA market, job boards have seen that traffic from Google for Jobs converts better than traffic to regular job board sector pages coming from the regular results.

In addition, providers with a strong brand base have seen a moderate increase in their organic traffic. It is likely that smaller players with weaker brand, and less candidates with registered CVs are going to miss out.

To put it simply, if you've made major investments in your brand, and if you've cultivated an engaged userbase, Google for Jobs is likely to nudge your traffic upwards, and deliver more conversions. If you rely purely on rankings in the organic listings and have made no inroads into boosting your brand recognition, you're likely to suffer a decline in organic traffic.

AGREGGATOR SPEND

We currently use 22 mainstream aggregators in the UK, and we expect them to be affected very differently.

Some aggregators rely on SEO and PPC for the majority of their traffic, and we expect these to be hit very hard, with large increases in cost, and large decreases in available traffic. Database-led aggregators are likely to be less affected (with the caveat that as the other aggregators lose traffic, they are going to become more competitive, which will push prices up).

Affiliate site-based aggregators will see mixed results, as the majority of the affiliate sites are getting most of their traffic from search engines. Aggregators that get a lot of traffic from LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. will be relatively unaffected.

Overall, we are expecting aggregators to be able to deliver less traffic, at a higher cost.

5. TECHNICAL IMPLEMENTATION

HOW TO GET YOUR JOBS LISTED ON GOOGLE JOBS

There are two methods to getting your jobs listed on Google Jobs – listing your jobs on a partner aggregator, or ensuring that your own job advertisements are properly marked up so that Google can index your jobs content.

Before we go into marking up job content, let’s go over some of the formally defined criteria you must meet:

1. Allow frequent crawling
Google already invest a lot of effort in trying to decipher the best rate of crawl for a given site – fast enough to index everything, slow enough to prevent your servers from imploding. That said, to ensure integration with Google Jobs, it’s important that you don’t limit the rate that they crawl your site. If you’ve set up limits in Google Search Console, for example, these will need to be relaxed

2. Add job structured data to your listing
There are 3 ways of going about this.

  1. JSON-LD
  2. RDFa
  3. Microdata

Any of these syntaxes should work, though it’s worth noting that Google generally use JSON-LD for their examples. A ground-up explanation of each of these syntaxes is beyond the scope of this guide. However, this discussion at Stack Overflow is a good starting point for the uninitiated.

Google specify a few must-haves for your structured data, whilst some info is optional.

Required information:

  • The date the job was posted - in ISO 8601 format – year/month/day.
  • Description of the job - this is the full description, which must be properly formatted in HTML (with an absolute minimum requirement to use at least paragraph breaks. Lists, headings, bold text etc. are all supported, but you have to include breaks in your description).
  • Organisation - the name of the company that’s hiring – this can include their website as well.
  • Location - simply enough – the location of the job. Google state that you should use street level addresses for this field. Practically, we have seen advertisers getting away with just listing a town; your mileage may vary.
  • Job Title - again, straightforward enough. However, Google dedicate additional instructions here – to summarise: DO NOT use this area to try and cram in search keywords if you want your jobs to be indexed. Equally, avoid calls to action, 'apply nows', triple exclamation marks, asterisks, etc. If your vacancy is for a software engineer, use 'Software Engineer', and leave it at that. You have been warned!
  • Valid Dates - this is the final required piece of mark-up which specifies when the posting expires.

Recommended information:

  • Salary - the precise salary (not an estimate) as provided by the employer. This can be quantified as hourly, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Ranges are also supported – specifying a minimum and a maximum value.
  • Employment Type - this supports: full/part time, contractor, temporary, intern, volunteer, or 'per day'. These can be combined – such as 'full time contractor'. Other info you can add include a company logo specified with mark-up and reviews of your company on sites such as Glassdoor.

3. Make sure you have valid XML sitemaps of your jobs

  • Your sitemap should be updated at least daily, and at most hourly.

If you’re making more updates than that, you’ll need to contact Google directly

  • Make sure that jobs you’re listing actually are accessible by Google (don’t list jobs on orphaned pages, that are hidden behind a firewall, blocked in robots.txt or otherwise hidden)
  • Try to make sure that your 'last modified' data is actually accurate if you want Google to pay attention to your changes. If Google are constantly recrawling identical URLs when you are saying that they’ve changed, expect to get jobs crawled less often as they try to save their bandwidth
  • Don’t include duplications of jobs in your sitemap
  • Don’t include search results pages
  • Ping Google when you update your sitemap by sending a GET request to Google in the following URL format:

http://www.google.com/ping?sitemap=location_of_sitemap

IE:

http://www.google.com/ping?sitemap=http://www.example.com/sitemap.xml

4. When a job expires, make sure it gets removed properly
Either remove the mark-up from the page, make sure the URL for the job is removed (and returns a 404 code), or noindex the page.

The biggest takeaway from this is that ‘completeness’ is important – if you want to perform well, try to fill every field with full fat information, full addresses, accurate, detailed, well written and formatted job descriptions, compliant job titles, etc. Failing to fill out required fields is likely to prevent your jobs getting listed.

Finally, when your jobs are indexed, you’ll be able to see detailed information on the performance in a new section of Google Webmaster Tools dedicated to the new service.

6. THOUGHTS ON OPTIMISATION

'COMPLETENESS' AND EDITORIAL STANDARDS ARE ESSENTIAL

SEO for Google for Jobs is a departure from typical job board methodology.  In the past, optimising specific job posts has been an inefficient endeavour (due to the fleeting nature of job posts) so attention was focused on landing pages instead.

In the new ecosystem, the SEO of specific jobs will be much more important, as they’ll be accessed and crawled with much more scrutiny.  It will still be inefficient to tweak job submissions after they’re posted, so getting them right from the beginning will be essential.

If your advertisers write spammy job titles (which many do) then your advertised roles will not be pulled through to Google for Jobs.

Therefore most of the legwork of optimisation is rooted in educating clients on what they need to include in their submissions, ensuring that submissions are suitably detailed, are as complete as possible, and that the best search keywords are used in the job title when the job goes live.

BRANDING IS VITAL IN DIFFERENTIATING YOURSELF

The most important step you can take in making Google for Jobs work for you is making sure that candidates in your niche know who you are and will pick out your brand in a series of others. Traditional branding considerations are far more important now.

In the Google for Jobs ecosystem, advertisers are always clustered together, rather like when a retail customer is presented with a shelf of identical products at the same price point. All you have to work with is how recognisable your brand is to your prospective customer.

Therefore, it is crucial that you work on your employer brand. If your branding is lacking, then it is highly worth investing in it, and soon.

7. SHOULD YOU GET INVOLVED WITH GOOGLE FOR JOBS?

If you’re using any of the larger job board platforms on the market, you’re probably already included (whether you have noticed or not).  And if not, it’s likely that your platform provider will add the mark-up to your site soon. We’re already seeing plenty of UK job boards ranking in the results, even if Google for Jobs can’t be accessed normally in the UK for most people.

We believe there are very few instances where excluding your site from Google for Jobs would be beneficial.

With all the transactional traffic heading towards Google’s new aggregated model, it appears ultimately self-defeating to prevent your site being listed. For your clients, using a job board might be a short-term solution for getting their jobs listed on Google for Jobs (i.e. avoiding the investment of time in developing their own sites), and so excluding yourself might backfire for this reason.

Job boards considering an ‘independence stance’ (i.e. excluding your site from Google for Jobs in the same way that Direct Line avoid price comparison sites) will need to follow through with significant investment in their content, focussing on making use of informational traffic by offering as much auxiliary value as possible to candidates. With most job keywords dominated by Google aggregation, this would be the route for increasing the chances of candidates viewing your content, and by extension, your jobs.

8. INDUSTRY RESOURCES FOR FURTHER READING 

If you have created a resource that you would like us to include in our list, please contact us.

Google Guide to Jobs Markup A guide to the markup needed for your job content.
Google Cloud Job Discovery Details and features of Google Cloud Job Discovery.
Google Webmaster Blog post announcing Google for Jobs Official Google announcement.
Google Webmaster Blog post about ‘Enriched Search Results’ Quality guidelines from Google relating to ‘enriched search’.
Google for Hire Information about Google for Hire.
Google Developer Resource on Structured Data Includes information about how to markup your job content.
Google Structured Data Testing Tool Use this to check your markup.
Structured Data General Guidelines Information quality guidelines such as completeness and relevance.
Madgex Guide Email sign up required
Recruitics Guide Email sign up required
Podcast with Bogomil Balkansky Google VP responsible for strategy for recruitment related products

 

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About Talent Nexus

Talent Nexus (formerly Calibrate Digital) deliver revolutionary recruitment marketing services to job boards and direct employers.

We are a full service digital agency, offering advertising services across aggregators, search engines, social channels and programmatic channels, in addition to content marketing, advanced web analytics, SEO and marketing campaigns.

This guide has been collated by Co-Founder Thomas Prince, with contributions from our advertising and SEO teams, as well as our valued industry partners. If you would like to discuss anything in this resource, please contact Thomas on 0207 127 0735, thomas.prince@talentnexus.com or via our contact us page.

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