Optimising Vacancy Pages – Guide to Recruitment SEO part 3

In the last post I discussed some of the basic elements of a search engine optimised homepage on a recruitment website. For part three of my recruitment seo guide, we’re going to talk about vacancy pages.

Vacancy pages. How many jobs has your recruitment agency had in its database since the company started, each vacancy lovingly typed into a database by one of your recruitment consultants, hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands?

How do search engines find all of these jobs? have you built your website with the ability for search engines to crawl, index and rank your jobs pages?

So many recruiters have databases that update their website with new jobs that are completely hidden behind a “search” button on the site. A wealth of valuable, traffic generating content is completely missing from their site. For the recruiters who don’t have “indexable vacancies” here’s what your SEO consultant should be telling you:

1) For faster indexing, make sure that your site structure allows for your most recent jobs to be displayed on your home page and internal content pages. For bonus points (and conversion) you might want to think about displaying jobs that are relevant to the page you’re on.

2) If you’re going to try to get a vacancy page indexed, you’re going to need to be able to rewrite the URL so it’s a little more relevant to the job title and a lot more search engine friendly. Here’s an example:


Note how the url contains the job title and location of the role. That’s good practice when you’re targeting job searcher behaviour in its longest tail. Ok, so this example might be a little long but it’s better than a set of dynamic queries and meaningless numbers.

3) Consider the vacancy page itself. It’s now an optimisable page, just like any other! don’t forget to encapsulate relevant titles in H1’s and H2’s. For bonus points (or better internal link building) this website should consider modifying their breadcrumbs so that a vacancy page links back to the sector page it is most relevant to.

Optimised vacancy (job) page on a recruitment web site

4) What happens when the job has been placed? You’d be shocked about how frequently this part of the puzzle gets lost. Many websites simply return a 404 error page once the vacancy has expired or worse still, a default “this vacancy is no longer available” page is published at the old job url. The outcome, a slow but sure duplicate content suicide.

What you should do, without fail, is keep all the original content, URL and meta code with a simple message displayed: This vacancy has now expired. Please see some of our similar positions below..” Bonus! that way, you don’t lose any traffic (in fact you gain some) nor do you miss out on converting that traffic into CV’s. Perfect. Here’s a good example of an expired vacancy page.

4) Meta code. I wrote a post on SEOmoz about 6 months ago covering dynamic meta code on vacancy pages. Most of that advice hasn’t changed so check out that post here. Perhaps I’ll cover that subject again on seogadget in the near future.

Now you have an optimised site structure, optimised homepage and an ever growing, content rich repository of indexed vacancy pages. My next post is going to cover getting rankings for brand search in the jobs market.

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7 thoughts on “Optimising Vacancy Pages – Guide to Recruitment SEO part 3

  1. It is very important that your message that states ‘This vacancy has been filled’ is served up by javascript so the spiders can’t see that the content of the page has changed. I did something similiar when I was at OneCall.com. I had them stop expiring pages on the site and keep discontinued products live on the site. We then only served up the out of stock messaging in a javascript in order to make sure the page didn’t change to the search engines and we didn’t provide them any code that would trigger a lowering of relevancy. (Yes, I believe that Google can trigger based on text that says “Out of Stock” considering how many ecommerce sites there are online.)

    Great post . . .

    Brent D. Payne

  2. Eric Shannon says:

    Richard, I just went to doublecheck my own job postings @LatPro.com and found we are not using the H1 tag. and we use CSS. is it sufficient to put the h1 in the CSS?

  3. Hi again Eric, it’s definitely best to apply the H1 in the html source so a crawler definitely sees your H1. I hope that’s useful. If you have any more questions let me know.

  4. Eric Shannon says:

    thank you Richard!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Very Useful Information


    Rebecca Cole
    OM Strategies

  6. Alex Mason says:


    just wondered if i am right to think that as i we are a generalist job WITHIN the domain of luxury we should on our homepage place the jobs by sectors in which we intervne and not by posistion as a regular retail or sales job site ? that a complex situation that requires advice from you guys…

    thanks for your response.


  7. Andy says:

    It is good to use the H1 in the html source so a crawler definitely sees your H1.

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