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What should you do if Indeed switch off your free organic traffic?

3 simple steps every recruitment agency needs to take to get prepared.

Introduction

Indeed might be planning a switch-off of free organic traffic to recruitment consultancies in the UK. Some industry experts are predicting it will happen this year. Now is the time to get prepared.

If you're already aware of the potential changes and the impact on your business, book a demo to find out how you can replace lost traffic.

If you're unsure what this change could mean, here are 3 things you can do now:

1. Calculate the risk to your business

If Indeed decide to switch-off their traffic, how would it impact your candidate attraction? Take this audit to evaluate if your own candidate attraction would be at risk.

Candidate attraction risk audit

Under 5 minutes to complete
Get a free report
Are you receiving free organic traffic from Indeed.com?
Are you at risk?:

It’s looking increasingly likely that a switch-off could happen in the UK this year, so staying reliant on this traffic is a very high-risk approach. If you’re making lots of your placements as a result of receiving this traffic, a switch-off could lead to a significant hit to your revenue.

Actions:

Start taking steps to work out how you could replace this traffic. For now, this might mean running some pilots or trials of other marketing channels. Start having informed conversations with your leadership team to get them prepared and start shortlisting your replacement options.
Are you at risk?:

Whilst it’s good that you are not reliant on this traffic, you are potentially missing out on free candidate traffic for the time being. You could approach Indeed.com, and other aggregators that offer organic traffic, about getting your jobs listed.  

Actions:

Be aware that if and when your competitors lose access to free traffic, they are likely to increase their advertising spend. This will push up the market price of traffic and you may need to be ready to adapt your strategy or find new marketing channels.
Are you giving Indeed a budget to sponsor your jobs?
Are you at risk?:

We’re not expecting Indeed to turn off paid traffic, so this is likely a low-risk candidate attraction channel. Sometimes this can be more expensive than other paid sources of candidates. The only word of caution here is that when we recently spoke with US industry expert Tim Sackett, he suggested that companies that were already working with Indeed on a paid-basis lost their organic traffic first, when organic traffic was removed for staffing firms in the US and Canada.

Actions:

If you’re planning to continue using this channel, ensure you’re making the most of your advertising by understanding the concepts of distribution and rules-based advertising. Sales plug: If you are working directly with Indeed.com, speak to us about how working via an agency like ours can get you better results for less investment.
Are you at risk?:

If you’re not paying to receive any traffic from Indeed.com, this would represent a new marketing channel to trial. Many of our clients get excellent results from advertising on Indeed.com, as well as the many other job board aggregators in the market.

Actions:

You could approach Indeed.com directly to run a trial, or (sales plug) contact our team to discuss how we can manage this on your behalf to achieve better results.
Are you working with any other pay-per-performance job boards (also known as aggregators)?
Are you at risk?:

Using a wider range of job boards is a great way to future-proof your candidate attraction and minimise risk. If one of these sources stop performing for any reason (traffic switch-off, acquisition, going out of business, business model change, price increases), your candidate attraction won’t suffer.

Actions:

Make sure you’re managing your advertising across these platforms effectively – you don’t want to be spending more than you need to. If you’re working with these job boards directly, it’s likely that you could achieve better results through a marketing agency (like ours).
Are you at risk?:

Not using pay-per-performance job boards doesn’t mean your candidate attraction is high-risk. However you might be missing out on getting seen by new candidates who aren’t currently seeing your jobs. Pay-per-performance job boards like ZipRecruiter, Adzuna and Talent.com are some of the largest recruitment websites in the world, but as they are relatively new most staffing firms are not taking advantage of them.

Actions:

It might be worth investigating whether using these pay-per-performance job boards could be viable traffic sources for your recruitment. Find out if you could get extra value and better results by using these sources, by doing a trial of programmatic technology (book a demo)
Assuming you are promoting your jobs on ‘traditional’ job boards, are you using different types of inventory, for example premium adverts and targeted emails?
Are you at risk?:

It’s great that you’re making use of these premium inventory options. Not many recruitment consultancies do this, so continue to leverage premium advertising options to get ahead of the competition.

Actions:

An agency can help you to access an even broader selection of options which might not currently be available for you to buy, often at better prices than if you were to go direct. Contact us for more information.
Are you at risk?:

Taking of advantage of some of these premium advertising features is an opportunity to get ahead of your competition. Many other consultancies won’t be using these features and will be relying on the standard job board advertising.

Actions:

Start exploring options and find out how they could enhance your job board advertising. Speak to our team, as they can often access different formats and better prices than those available directly.
Are you paying to promote your roles to candidates via search engines?
Are you at risk?:

Paid search advertising as a channel isn’t at risk as a results of an Indeed.com change, and if you’re promoting your agency via paid search you’re ahead of the market, and are already building out a diversified marketing mix.

Actions:

If paid search is working well for you at the moment, you could consider replacing organic Indeed traffic with more paid search advertising. Investigate how you could increase budgets and scale up your campaigns, to replace the quantity of candidates you might lose from Indeed.com.
Are you at risk?:

Not running paid search campaigns doesn’t increase the risk of your candidate attraction strategy. But if you’re not using it, you could be missing out on an effective way to get in front of candidates. Often, the first active step a candidate will make to find a new role is to search on Google. So although the cost of acquiring a candidate can be a little higher than average, the odds of them being unique to your agency are much higher.

Actions:

It might be worth investigating whether using paid search could be a viable traffic sources for your recruitment. Consider trying out some low-budget, small scale campaigns to find out if you could be getting more effective results than other channels. If you’d like support, we can help.
Are you promoting your roles to candidates via remarketing?
Are you at risk?:

Remarketing campaigns rely on your website receiving a certain level of traffic. If you’re currently getting a lot of this traffic from Indeed.com then you might find your remarketing campaigns stop working effectively if this traffic is turned off.  

Actions:

You will need to consider new ways to attract traffic back to your recruitment website if you want to continue remarketing. This could be through investing in a new platform that is better optimised for Google for Jobs or SEO. There are other ways of building an audience to remarket to, although they carry a cost that you might not currently be budgeting for.
Are you at risk?:

Not running remarketing campaigns doesn’t increase the risk of your candidate attraction strategy.

Actions:

If you think you’ll still have enough website traffic after Indeed switched-off organic traffic to build audience lists to remarket to, then this should definitely be something you trial investing in. The conversion rates are very high, and the typical costs are very low, compared to most recruitment advertising.
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2. Shortlist all your options

How would you replace the candidates? Here are some options you may want to consider:

  • Pay to advertise on Indeed: Indeed are likely to continue offering their paid replacements to the traffic, as they did last year in the USA. 
  • Invest in other advertising sources: When this change happened in the US and Canada, many recruitment consultancies decided to start using a programmatic approach to advertise on other pay-per-performance job boards.
  • Do nothing: If it turns out that you're not actually receiving that much organic traffic or generating a huge amount of placements, you might decide you don't need to take action.

Find out more about how programmatic advertising works:

3. Start a conversation with your leadership team

It's important to communicate these options to your leadership team early. Let them know what could happen, and provide some detail about what the impact could be.

Communicating bad news is never easy. Don't fall into the trap of highlighting a problem without suggesting solutions.

To help you plan this conversation, take a look at this leadership briefing pack. This document includes a template agenda for a meeting with your company leadership, as well as a one-page overview to help get everyone up to speed.

Complete the audit in the first section on this page and we'll send you a version that's custom to you, including your audit results.

Leadership briefing pack: Document template
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