How to Optimise Your Job Ads for SEO

If you’re baffled over how to optimise your job ads for SEO, congrats!

You’ve made it to the solution station!

In about 20 minutes, you’ll have a much better idea of what should be included in job ads to make them as search engine friendly as possible.

If anyone can make it all make sense for your recruitment agency, it’s AdBuilder.

In creating our job advert building platform, we’ve gotten pretty comfy cosy with most aspects of job advertising.

One area that we’re now certified pros in?

SEO, bro! 🤟


SEO in Job Ads: Why Does it Matter?

70% of surveyed marketers agree that search engine optimisation is more effective than pay-per-click advertising.

This is a fairly sizable majority, and it should tell you exactly how useful SEO can be. 📊

There are a few main reasons why SEO matters in the world of job advertising:

1. When your ads are optimised for search engines, they generate more organic (unpaid) traffic, which is the biggest source of website traffic out there.

2. When your ads appear early in search results, your agency comes across as more trustworthy and credible to potential candidates and clients, encouraging them to apply and/or get in touch.

3. When you optimise for SEO, you improve the overall candidate experience. You make sure your job ad content is readable, relevant and well-structured.

4. Location-based SEO considerations can see you massively increasing your traffic and application rates, as they’ll allow the role to stand out in its local area.

5. SEO strategy is adaptable and relatively cheap to implement in job ads (and even across your agency’s wider website).

6. SEO strategy performance is very measurable, meaning you’ll know if and when you do need to make changes to the listings posted on behalf of your clients to boost their performance.

What Should Be Included in Job Ads to Optimise Them for Search Engines?

With a better sense of the value of SEO, it’s time to move on from the “why” and head into the all-important “how”.

Let’s start with what should be done within the ads themselves.

An SEO-friendly job advert should include…

Keywords (and the Correct Amount of Them) 🔑

Keywords are the foundational element of SEO.

These nifty little search terms help your content appear in relevant Google searches, and if you want to make your job ad SEO-friendly, you need them.

Unfortunately, you probably already know that the dangers of keyword stuffing make it more complicated than simply dropping a million relevant keywords into your job ad and leaving it at that.

Most experts put the ideal keyword density at 1-2%, meaning that in a 300-word job advert, you should be using between 3-6 keywords.

This strikes a balance, preserving the quality of the content while still optimising it to be super searchable.

3 Tips for Getting Keywords Right in Your Job Adverts

1. Do Plenty of Research

If you’ve got the perfect number of keywords and you’ve created a well-written job advert, you might think there’s no way anything could go wrong, SEO wise.

But in actuality, that’s not the case.

Any old keyword will not do.

To target the CORRECT keywords for your company (keywords that’ll actually increase the visibility of the ad), research will be required.

Use SEO tools to get a handle on the keyword landscape in the area you’re aiming to target, and then include a handful of keywords in your job advert.

Keywords that aren’t so regularly commandeered that you’ll never have a chance of appearing in search results – but aren’t so uncommonly used that again, you’ll never have a chance of appearing in search results.

It’s a balancing act.

2. Keep Updating Your Strategies as Time Goes On

You probably already know that nothing stays the same for too long in the world of digital marketing, and trending keywords are no exception.

The words and phrases that gained you some traction two years ago might be long out of date by now, so make sure you’re regularly updating your strategy to reflect changes in consumer search habits.

Yes, it might be time-consuming to keep up with – but if you can keep on nailing your SEO, it will be money-saving from an advertising perspective.

Your ad will get more hits more quickly, and you won’t have to list it on job boards and job sites like Indeed and Monster for more than 30 days (or pay more for the privilege of doing so)..

3. Never Sacrifice Readability for Searchability

Fundamentally, this is why keyword stuffing is a big no.

Even if Google didn’t penalise you for it (and I can promise you, Google will!), it’s still impossible to create a high-quality job advert that’s about 50% keywords and 50% actual information.

Recruiters should always put candidate experience ahead of everything else, and that means not losing sight of the important details about the job in favour of searchable buzzwords.

At AdBuilder, we’re big believers in the idea that the quality of your content always matters, and we understand that quality of work is especially important for recruitment agencies.

Your clients will expect you to consistently put THEIR company’s best foot forward.

If you fail to, it could create a customer service issue for your business and cause problems nobody enjoys dealing with.

A Searchable Job Title

It’s tempting to try and get quirky with the job title on your ad, but it’s not SEO-approved to do this.

Who is googling fun and wacky phrases like ‘Code Ninja’ and ‘Copywriting QWEEN’?

Not many people, that’s the answer.

When you’re figuring out a job title, communicate with your client about what accurately depicts the role and stick to the same rules you would with keywords.

Make the job title-specific, but not so specific that it’s going to shrink the search field to about four searches a month. ➡️⬅️

Then, get creative with your job postings in other ways.

(Less optimisation-harming ways.)

A Targeted, Specific Location 🧭

Location is a must-include in any job ad.

But for SEO purposes, the more specific you can be about your location, the better.

✅ DO: Get specific about the location, naming the town/city and giving the exact postcode if possible.

❌ DON’T: Include this specific detail in the title tag, as Google will often add it automatically, leaving your listing reading something like this…

Junior Software Engineer Cardiff, Wales – Cardiff, Wales

Instead of something like this…

Junior Software Engineer – Cardiff, Wales

For one, the latter reads better.

But for two, the former could be considered keyword stuffing and end up damaging your Google ranking. 😱

A Strong Opening

Again, the opening would matter regardless, but it’s especially important to nail on an SEO level.

It’s a chance to carefully include some keywords in a well-constructed sentence.

Let’s create an example based on that Junior Software Engineer position I made up above.

A bad opening would read something like…

*Insert company name* was founded in *insert year*, and following a restructuring of the department, we’re currently looking for a hard-working, engaged employee to join the *insert company name* family.

Way too much focus on the company, no keywords, no thanks.

A good opening for the same role might say…

We’re searching for a Junior Software Engineer to join our close-knit software engineering team in Cardiff, Wales. If you’re hard-working, willing to learn and looking to grow with *insert company name*, we welcome your application.

Still gives you the company’s vibe, doesn’t it?

But this time, we get the job title in there, the location, and ‘software engineering’.

You get the picture.

If you need help nailing your opening, we’d recommend AdBuilder.

Heard of it? 😉

How Can I Bring Organic Traffic to Job Ads?

For 61% of marketers, improving SEO and growing organic presence is priority number one.

Yes, it’s nice to top a page of Google results by paying to promote an ad, and it definitely gets more eyes on your job listings.

But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of securing applicants when 70 to 80% of search engine users only focus on the organic results anyway! 🌱🌿


What’s the best way to bring organic traffic to the job ads you’re listing, outside of the stuff you need to do to the ad itself (which we’ve already dug deep into above)?


By making your website, one of the ad’s hosting locations, as reputable as it can be.

You can boost traffic to your recruitment agency’s website in a few different ways…

How Can I Boost Organic Traffic to My Agency’s Website, Allowing More People to See Our Job Ads?

1. Focusing on SEO across the entire site

Ever heard the expression “it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack”? Yeah, that. Make your entire site SEO-friendly (not just your job ads), and passive jobseekers might hop over in search of useful information and leave having filled out an application!

2. Adopting a consistent and regular website content strategy

Beefing up the amount of content available on your website gives people more reason to visit and stick around. Especially if you’re sticking to a consistent schedule and coming across as a reliable source of regular new info.

3. Backlinking and internal linking

In the eyes of the SEO goblins at Google, links equal high-value sites/pages. Ensure your website contains plenty of internal links, and that other sites are backlinking to yours (industry blogs, commercial partners, etc.), and you’ll be in a better position, traffic-wise.

4. Ensuring your site is well-designed and quick-to-load

Nobody likes to wait, and nobody likes to feel confused. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to check your load time is up to scratch, and make sure your website’s design is sleek, smart and simple enough to keep people coming back.

You can generate traffic towards your job ads from another direction, too.

Social media. 👋

LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter can be used as platforms on which to promote your ads and bring interested parties over to your agency’s website.

Especially that elusive, much-coveted creature – the passive jobseeker!

More SEO Ideas for Job Adverts

Want three of my best SEO recommendations to help your job adverts gain more visibility and receive more applications?

Here they are… 🤜🤛

Use an SEO Tool 🛠

SEO tools are well worth your investment if you’re reading this.

It’s that simple.

If you’re dedicated enough to optimising that you’ll sit through my spiel, you’re probably dedicated enough to consider paying for a keyword research service like SEMrush, Moz or Answer the Public.

You can try out each of these tools (and many more) for free, giving yourself a taste before you put down any cash. 💸

When you enlist the help of SEO tools rather than going it alone, you:

  • Discover what your competitors in the recruitment scene are up to when it comes to SEO
  • Save a lot of time generating keyword lists, as the tool notices opportunities for you
  • Save money and time with automatic SEO audits for things like orphaned pages and broken links
  • Can track your SEO progress with each ad and with website-wide optimisation
  • Are more likely to discover slight but very valuable ranking-boosting keyword variations

Consider Mobile Browsers and Applicants 📲

Mobile browsing makes up over 50% of global website traffic.

This percentage is projected to keep on growing over the next few years.

A job ad hosted on a site that can’t accommodate mobile users is going to hurt not only your SEO, but candidates’ perceptions of the role you’re advertising.

Which is, obviously, the last thing you want.

52% of people are less likely to engage with your company again after a bad mobile experience, so you can only imagine how this impacts the number of people pressing that “Apply Now” button. ⏸

Pimp That URL (and Metadata) 🚗

You’ll be hosting your clients’ job ads on job boards.

But as we’ve covered, you’ll also be sharing them on your recruitment agency’s website. 🖥

On your website, you should ensure that the job posting has a searchable, optimised URL by:

– Keeping it short (but including a keyword if you can)

– Keeping it straightforward

– Not using numbers or special characters

– Avoiding hyphen overuse

You should make similar considerations for the meta titles and meta descriptions that’ll appear on search engine results pages.

Keep the meta title of the job ad simple and short like the URL, under 65 characters.

Explain the role in a little bit more detail in the meta description, which should remain under 155 characters.

Choose every character carefully.

More Eyes on Your Ad Equals More Opportunity to Source the Perfect Candidate for your Client 👀

At the end of the day, recruitment is a numbers game.

Like Sudoku or Rummikub, but a teensy bit more complicated. 🤷‍♂️

When more people see your job ad, more applications come in.

And if more applications come in, the ideal applicant is more likely to be discovered.

On the ladder of raising your agency’s game, the first rung is sorting your SEO situation.

This rung results in an increase in visibility.

The next rung is improving the overall quality and consistency of your job ads – something AdBuilder can help with.

The next NEXT step is biased checking your job ads to ensure diverse hiring with a tool like AdGrader.

For further recruitment SEO support, check out our recent podcast with the lovely Marmalade Marketing.

Or if you’re itching for more rich content, stay on our blog and read:

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James Ball
Written by James Ball

James is the founder and owner of AdBuilder and a recruitment expert from Sutton Coldfield in the UK.  He regularly advises companies on how to improve and get the maximum ROI from their recruitment processes and advertising.

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