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Like it or not, the war for talent will only become more competitive in 2018. As such, recruiters must assume the role of online marketing masters to attract the best talent and there's no better way to start than by applying search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.

Google receives 300 million job-related search requests each month, which makes up nearly 30 percent of all Google searches. Unfortunately, for many organizations, there's often a significant disconnect between how job seekers search for opportunities and how recruiters post jobs. Consequently, it's all too easy for a job posting to evaporate into cyberspace and become an invisible blip in a sea of information, even with seven out of every 10 job searches starting online.

Using SEM and SEO strategies can boost recruiters' chances of getting a job opening noticed. Here are a few simple recruiting hacks that can help your next job posting find its way to the right candidates.

1) Tweak the Job Title

Think of the job title as a keyword—and do some research on what works best. Keywords are like cookie crumbs; they lead applicants to your treasure. Some jobs are inherently more popular and there's not much you can do about that. But different versions of similar job titles may receive more searches than others.

For example, approximately 4,500 jobseekers use “office assistant" each month, while 80,000 use the phrase “administrative assistant" instead. Google's Keyword Planner, an intuitive tool that provides insight on trending keywords, is one free option, but if you want to step up your keyword game, there are plenty of paid tools out there as well.

2) Use Precise Terminology

While "salesperson," "sales representative" and "sales rep" may all describe the same position, it's critical to identify which phrase or word order job seekers use most often. In other words, when it comes to search engine optimization, "sales rep" and "sales representative" are not necessarily interchangeable, so use Google's Keyword Planner or other tools to identify the most suitable terminology for the job you're posting.

3) Focus on the Position, Not the Company

Keyword position also matters, and could be the difference between showing up on page one of search results versus page two or three. Perform a search yourself and compare how a job listing that reads "Administrative Assistant Family Law" fairs against a listing that says "Family Law Legal Administrative Assistant" and structure your listing accordingly.

4) Keep It Short

Keep the job title to under 60 characters. Some search engines have a maximum number of characters they display. While Indeed is quite liberal with a maximum of 200, Google and Craigslist are stingy at 60 and 70, respectively.

5) Be Different

The goal of a job posting headline is to get applicants to click and apply, so be creative. Try something like this: “Wanted: A Team-Building HR Manager." You can also use parentheses to add more detail to the posting headline. For example, consider "HR Manager (Full Benefits, Medical and Dental)." And if yours is a recognizable organization, don't be afraid to name-drop your company into the posting headline as well.

6) Be Specific Rather than Promotional

Let's say you're a recruiter looking to fill a driver role at a car dealership. You might be temped to use “Amazing Part Time Job Opportunity" in place of a job title to promote the opening, but the chances of a candidate coming across this posting will be slim when he types “Driver" into the search bar. Use specific, informational terms rather than promotional ones.

7) Don't Use Slashes or Other Characters

In a title like “Administrative Assistant/Office," words separated by a slash may be queued as a single search term. Since job seekers are unlikely to search for "assistant/office," you will reduce your visibility and page ranking.

8) Don't Use All Capital Letters

In the digital world, using all capital letters is the equivalent of shouting. Not only are capital letters difficult to read when they appear side by side, they're also a turn-off for candidates and don't improve rankings.

So, where's the future of job posting headed? The simple administrative task of posting a job has evolved into a highly skilled function that combines the art of storytelling and the science of online marketing. A client summed up the situation perfectly when she responded to my critique of a poor-performing post, "It looks like I need more SEO knowledge…who knew?"

Check back next month for part two of this series with more SEM and SEO tips!

Photo: Creative Commons