Understanding keywords in job ads
What are keywords?
Keywords are the words or terms that candidates use when they are searching for a job. By typing in specific keywords about a role, skill or industry, candidates automatically narrow down their job search and relevant matches are displayed.
“We have a specific place for candidates to enter keywords on the SEEK homepage,” says Hamish Coutts, SEEK’s national client training manager. “Candidates then use keywords in conjunction with classification and location to set their job search.”
Why keywords matter
Keywords are important to job ads because they allow candidates to search for relevant positions. When hirers and recruiters include key terms and phrases that are relevant to a particular role, appropriate candidates are more likely to find the job ad.
Using keywords with confidence
When developing a job ad, it’s worthwhile for hiring managers and recruiters to put themselves in the shoes of the candidates they are looking for and consider what would attract them to the role.
Ask yourself whether candidates will use industry-specific terminology in their searches (for example, are there software or acronyms that are important to the job and your business?). Also think about whether there are alternative job titles that candidates may use to search for the same job.
How to include keywords when you develop a job ad
Keywords should be used throughout your job ad to indicate to candidates that your position is a good fit with what they are looking for. Coutts says the key to creating an appealing job ad with relevant keywords is to start with a job title, the role and description, whether it’s full time or part time and the benefits (such as flexible working hours).
While keywords play a vital part in attracting candidates they are only one part of the job ad puzzle, says Coutts.
“A well-structured job advert has critical information such as role purpose and company information, together with specific skills and the experience that is required,” he says.
“This means you are including a broad range of information that will potentially be found in a wider range of keyword searches.”
Be keyword savvy
To see if you have repeated keywords too many times, it’s a good idea to read through your job ad aloud. If it’s hard to read or you notice you have overused a word or phrase, go back and edit the ad to get rid of repetition.
It’s also important not to fall into the trap of keyword stuffing - this is when you include so many keywords in your job ad, or repeat the keywords so many times that it isn’t easy for candidates to read.
“Hirers need to avoid keyword stacking a job ad to the point where it doesn’t make sense,” says Coutts.
“At the end of the day, you need to write a job ad that is going to appeal to the candidates you are wanting to hire.”
Keywords to consider
Depending on the industry you are in the top keywords will differ. Explore the top 20 keywords candidates search for in your industry in SEEK’s Top Search Terms for 2017.