Using the SEO Approach to Job Titles

We’re all for injecting personality and a sense of fun into the job ads we develop for our Fitzii clients. When it comes to job titles, however, we stand firmly in the boring is better camp.

Just like titles of blog posts should be constructed for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), so should job titles be optimized for job searches. Using a job title with words and phrases that job seekers are most likely to search for will ensure your job gets in front of more eyes. More eyes mean more applicants. More applicants mean a larger pool of qualified candidates and a better chance of finding your dream hire.

Fortunately, when it comes to developing job titles that closely match the words and phrases that your ideal candidates are searching for on job boards, you don’t have to be a mind reader. Indeed has an easy and free online tool that takes the guesswork out of the process.

Indeed’s Job Category Trends page is a virtual gold mine of information and insights for determining the best job title for your position. When you’re ready to advertise your job, it is definitely worth a browse.

Get started from this page by choosing the category that best reflects your position.

Each job category page then shows the top ten most searched job titles in the lower middle column (“Top search terms per click”).

Reviewing this middle list of top search terms provides real-time insight into the most popular words that candidates use when they search in the category.

By the way, the search terms list is much more valuable for optimization than the “Top Job Titles” list on the left side. The top job titles list the largest volume of jobs, but not the most searched for terms. It tells you what you’re competing with, but not what search terms will optimize your posting.

A good example of how the market is confused between popular job titles and popular search terms is to look at Software Engineer vs Software Developer. Companies clearly prefer to use the term Software Engineer, which is the #1 most popular job title by a wide margin. But it is not the most optimized job title for search results. On the Top Search Terms Per Click list, the term Software Developer is in the #1 spot and is the definite SEO winner with nearly 4x as many searches as Software Engineer.

So, if one or more of the top search terms fit your job then you’re done – use these words in the job title (and throughout the posting) with confidence that you are optimized for the most number of views.

If none of the top search terms listed accurately reflect your position, not to worry! As your next step, do an actual search on the Indeed homepage of the job titles that you’re considering. You’ll get to see how many other similar jobs come up and how other companies are wording their job titles.

To illustrate our point of how overly creative job titles can hinder your search performance, we searched the title “IT Guru” and only 163 jobs came back. When we tweaked that to “IT Support”, over 35,000 jobs were listed.

While tools like Indeed can be incredibly helpful in optimizing your job titles for candidate searches, it’s important that the job title you ultimately choose accurately reflects the roles and responsibilities of the position.

Make your job titles specific. Targeted job titles are more effective than generic ones, so don’t be afraid to include precise key phrases that accurately describe the role in the job title. If the software position revolves around a specific programming language, include that language in the title.

In your efforts to be specific with your job title, be sure the language you use can be understood by people from outside your organization. While your employees may be familiar with the number system your company uses to explain a position’s experience level, for example Software Developer IV, this has little context for people from outside your organization. Instead, opt for more descriptive terms, such as Senior Software Developer (Java).

Would you like some input to help ensure the job title you’re considering is going to be a star in job board searches? Ian Martin Hiring Advisors are here to support you. Contact us today and let us help you find the best candidate for your next job opening.

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