Creating an optimised site structure – guide to recruitment SEO part 1

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be creating a guide to recruitment SEO: the series is aimed at beginner to intermediate SEO’s or in house marketers working to design a search engine friendly website able to attract new candidates or potential clients.

Getting a clearly organised and well optimised sitemap structure on your recruitment website plays a vital role in user experience and search engine optimisation. This is a step by step basic guide to creating your website structure with that in mind. If you’re thinking about creating a new site, read this post.

Step 1 – Do your research

When you’re starting out, there will always be a bigger, better optimised site that you aspire to compete with. Study them. How have they arranged their site? List the types of content you find on the site. Let’s start with taking a look at this corporate governance recruitment company.

SEO site map structure example - homepage - Barclay Simpson

By taking a quick look at the homepage you can see the content types your competitor is using. Make a list:

– homepage
– sector pages (eg Compliance recruitment)
– jobs pages (Intenal audit jobs or Business continuity jobs)
– Supporting content eg: Market report and Success stories

There’s a particulary good reason why Barclay Simpson’s site structure is laid out like this. Relevance. Each section of the site (homepage, sector pages, jobs pages, vacancies) have been assigned their own keyword and therefore become the most relevant content to a specific query.

Step 2 – Draw your own sitemap

Now you’ve done a bit of research and you’ve got a note of the content types you’re going to need, start arranging them into a site map. Here’s one I’ve created:

Sitemap structure for SEO (search engine optimisation)

I’ve created a hierarchical, semantic relationship between the sector pages, jobs pages and the vacancies (that’s if you’re displaying vacancies on the jobs pages, we’ll come to this in another post). This means you only link to the job title pages on the sector pages that are relevant to that industry. Do the same when you’re displaying vacancies on the job title pages.

Obviously this diagram is quite simple, it doesn’t have a sitemap or the related content. Nor does it display horizontal internal links. Whenever you’re creating that extra content, always try to add it to your sitemap and link any keywords to the relevant, important areas of the site. Internal linkbuilding is key.

Step 3 – assign keywords to your sitemap

In a recruitment website structure, there are 4 main types of keyword (keyword buckets). They are;

Generics / top level eg: “Corporate governance recruitment agency” or “Technology recruitment consultancy”. These phrases tend to describe the recruitment business at its highest level and should be applied to the homepage

Industry relevant eg: “Compliance recruitment” or “Compliance jobs”. These phrases need to be applied to their own specialist area (page) on the site. Create a set of pages that represent each industry sector you operate in to capture search queries for sector phrases relevant to you

Job title specific eg: “Internal auditor jobs”. High competition phrases that need their own page creating (you need to capture this traffic) but are categorised under a specif industry sector

Long tail terms eg: “CLAS Consultant job in London”. People do search for jobs like this so your keyword strategy needs to include optimised vacancy pages to capture this traffic. I wrote about the long tail of search in the recruitment business on SEOmoz several months ago. I’ll rewrite and improve that post and include it in my guide.

Here’s a revised sitemap diagram with the keyword buckets assigned:

Sitemap structure diagram for SEO including keywords

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you’ve got a fair idea of the structure of your site and how you’re going to assign your keywords, you have a structured, optimised recruitment website. Next we’ll be looking at a key area of your site, the homepage optimisation.

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8 thoughts on “Creating an optimised site structure – guide to recruitment SEO part 1

  1. Eric Shannon says:

    Well done Richard! You have inspired me to start working on my own seo map for a site we have in development…

  2. Thanks Eric! That’s great to know – feedback is greatly appreciated.

  3. Really very interesting blog…….

  4. Thanks “Recruitment Agency”.. The links on this blog are nofollowed in teh comments so I’m afraid your anchor text might only influence the rankings at Yahoo and MSN :-) – I took a look at your site; my colleagues at 4MAT specialise in Health care and Nursing jobs borad and recruitment agency SEO so you might want to give them a shout. Thanks once again for the comments,

  5. Jaideep Pant says:

    Thanks Richard, I had my queries on the site structure and you have answered them here.

  6. Andover IT says:

    Great article Richard.

    What do you feel is the maximum click from the Home page you should go to?

    Reason I ask is that I had heard 2 is best yet I note the Vacancy Pages are 3 clicks. Do you feel there are any issues with this?

    Just off to read the next article!

  7. DC says:

    Enjoyed the read and always worth expanding on knowledge base. I have forwarded to a few people within our Recruitment Website Design and SEO team to see if it is of interest. Thanks

  8. A really useful guide. Barclay Simpson’s site is a great example of how to target specific phrases. The benefits of using a combination of many longtail terms quite often outweighs those of a few shorttail ones.

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