The complete guide to keyword research for job postings (2023)

Imagine that a hiring manager has just come to your desk and asked you to find a new web developer, despite having no budget for posting to paid job sites.

If your website doesn’t naturally pull in large amounts of traffic, simply publishing the job opening on your careers site isn’t enough. However, by utilizing Search Engine Optimization to make your job page appear in the right search results organically, you can always be sure to be found by potential recruits. To do so, you need to target the right job description keywords.

Read the four steps recruiters can use to do SEO keyword research for job postings and find popular terms to target their ideal applicants through Google search.

Step 1 - Prepare a list of relevant terms

The first thing to do is create a list of terms relevant to the job position. Keep in mind the role, including the actual title, location, and preferred candidate skills. Ask the hiring manager to list all the skills and attributes they will like the ideal candidate to possess.

This list will help guide your keyword research. If you don’t know where to start, you can look at what competitors are doing. What keywords are they targeting, what do they include in their job description? Take note as it can give you some insights into what candidates are searching for and help structure your keyword research.

Step 2 - Check the Search Volume for all relevant terms

Now you have a list of all the terms you want to target, it’s time to check whether these keywords will bring traffic to your page by looking at the Search Volume (SV) for each of these terms. This metric shows how many searches a certain keyword gets monthly based on location. This way you can decide which keyword would work best depending on searches.

You can use multiple free keyword research tools to identify the search volume for each keyword, including Google Keyword Planner, Answer The Public, and Keywords Everywhere.

Job description keywords

So let’s imagine that these are three of the required skills for a web developer:

(Video) Keyword Research Tutorial: From Start to Finish

  • Automated testing knowledge
  • Python web framework knowledge
  • Amazon web services experience

Using one of the keyword tools mentioned above, you will be able to recognize how many searches each of these terms have, including related terms that might be more popular. Ideally, the keywords you will pick will have high SV and low competition, so there will be more chances of ranking high.

For example, if you enter “Amazon web services experience” into the tool you are using, you will get similar searches and results. This keyword seems to get 10 searches per month on Keyword Planner, so is there a keyword that has more searches and is still relevant to the skill you want to target?

The complete guide to keyword research for job postings (1)

You can see that many keyword suggestions with a higher search volume abbreviate “Amazon web services” to “aws”. Based on this suggestion, it might be a good idea to abbreviate the job responsibility in your job page to “aws experience”, as it will likely attract a higher volume of searches.

And sure enough, when you enter “aws experience” in the tool, you will get a search volume of 140 with low competition. That means when a potential job seeker searches for jobs with “aws experience”, your job page has a much higher chance of appearing in the search results.

The complete guide to keyword research for job postings (2)

Once you have identified the search volume each required skill will likely receive, you can then take steps to optimize your job page to get as much relevant search traffic as possible.

(Video) Keyword Research Projects: How to do Keyword Research for SEO

Step 3 - Keep in mind Search Intent

Now you have all these keywords and you are ready to go and write your job posting. Is that all? Not really.

When choosing the keywords, you also have to keep in mind search intent. Think of what a candidate will look for on Google. If someone is looking for a remote content marketer role, you wouldn’t want your job post for content analyst in Amsterdam to show up in the first position. This would mean you are not including the right terms and keywords, and your page is going to be ignored.

Step 4 - Choose where to insert the keywords

Now it’s time to actually finish your job page within your CMS or ATS. It is important to recognize which keyword is likely to get the most search traffic and base the title of your job page around that keyword. It makes sense: Google search algorithms place a lot of importance on title keywords.

The meta title of the page should include the job title, location, and name of the company. Sometimes, an essential skill listed in the job description gets a larger search volume than the job title itself, then you can include this in the meta description to ensure maximum reach.

If you are using Recruitee to create your job posting, changing the meta title and meta description is quite simple. Head over to the Careers site editor and go to SEO and sharing. Here you will find sections for the title and description, where you can write all the details you want to include.

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It is also worth replicating the title of the page as the H1, as this is also something that Google takes into account when determining the content of a web page (remember to enclose the H1 in <H1></H1> tags in the source code – there should be a way to do this in your CMS easily).

(Video) Different Ways of Keyword Research Part 1

Once you have decided on a title, it is time to create a URL (there should be a field to enter a URL of your choosing in your CMS or ATS). You should base the URL as much as possible on the keywords you are trying to rank for, as Google gives the keywords in the URL a lot of weight.

As the URL does not need to be a complete sentence, you can base it on your keywords. For example, your slug could be “web-development-aws-expert”; you can remove the word “and”, as that is not something you need to rank for.

Remember to avoid keyword stuffing: do not put the same terms multiple times just to rank, as this will actually hurt the page’s chance of getting ranked. Write your job description naturally, including bullet points and short sentences to keep it readable for your audience.

Long-term hiring needs

One of the struggles to contend with when optimizing job pages for SEO is that a big factor for search engine rankings is the time a page has been online. The longer a page has been online, the more authority and presence it has, at least according to Google.

Job pages are unsurprisingly temporary pages for the most part, as when the position is filled, the job page no longer has a purpose and is thus taken down. Unsurprisingly, some job vacancies that are typically filled quickly may struggle to rank highly for competitive keywords.

So how to get around this hurdle? Well, if you’re always recruiting a particular position, i.e. developers, you could place a permanent developer job page online. This will help you to collect more applications and have the added benefit of increasing the authority and presence of the webpage in the eyes of Google – ultimately helping the page to rank higher for the more competitive keywords.

How to track the ranking of a job page

The great thing about SEO is that you can keep optimizing your page if something is not working and your page isn’t ranking. There are a number of tools available for that very purpose, including Moz, Google Search Console, Ahrefs, SE Ranking, Advanced Web Ranking, and so many more.

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Use these tools to track the impressions (how many people see your post on Google), clicks, traffic, and ranking. You can also analyze whether people stay on your page or bounce right off after a few seconds. You can optimize your page and ensure your hiring manager has the best candidates applying for the role by taking all these into account!

If you are using Recruitee, you can insert tracking codes and JS scripts into your careers site to help you see how the job posting is performing. To do so, you can open the Careers site editor and go to Custom styling. Here you can insert various tracking codes and JS scripts to analyze data from Google AdWords, Google Analytics, and Facebook.

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Using keyword research is a great way to ensure that your job page is targeting the right terms, and ultimately the right people. By deliberately placing relevant keywords in the right place within a web page, you can make sure to stand out from the crowd when looking for your next new addition to the team!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is keyword research?

Keyword research is the process of finding the most relevant and popular terms people look for in search engines such as Google.

What are the best free keyword research tools?

(Video) Different Ways of Keyword Research Part 2

These are the top 5 free keyword tools: Google Keyword Planner, AnswerThePublic, Keywordtool, Google Search Console, Keyword Surfer.

How do I choose keywords for SEO?

When choosing a keyword, you need to consider these four aspects: relevancy to the content, search volume, competition, and conversion.


Which of these questions does keyword research help you answer? ›

Keyword research provides you with specific search data that can help you answer questions like: What are people searching for? How many people are searching for it? In what format do they want that information?

Which are the 3 main factors that go into choosing a keyword? ›

While conducting your SEO keyword research, there are three factors you must consider: the individual keyword's relevancy, search volume and user intent.

Why is keyword research considered the most important part of SEO choose two answers? ›

Keyword research helps you: Understand and reach your audience. Find new relevant topics to cover on your site. Get qualified leads.

What are the 4 types of keywords? ›

When researching to discover a user's intentions behind making a search, we can classify all keywords into four main categories of intent: commercial, transactional, informational, and navigational.

How do you answer the public for keyword research? ›

Here are five easy steps to using Answer the Public for your content strategy:
  1. Step 1: Ask the right questions.
  2. Step 2: Make sure it's relevant.
  3. Step 3: Create content that answers questions.
  4. Step 4: Weave in your product.
  5. Step 5: Optimise for search.

What is the most important quality of a keyword? ›

Keyword Relevance

One of the most important qualities to look for in any keyword is relevant to your website. In the past, some companies have chosen to “stuff” their content with keywords that were unrelated to their content or to their business as a whole.

What is an example of keyword method? ›

Keyword method is a memory technique or mnemonic which generally uses visualization. For instance, a student has to memorize the vocabulary “jaundice” which is mainly characterized by “yellowish skin”. He realizes that "Jaundice" sounds like “juice” which he closely associated with “orange or mango juice”.

What are the most used keywords? ›

The winner of most popular keyword is Facebook, with over 1,102,800,000 searches per month. This is closely followed by YouTube, Amazon, and the weather, or "weather" for short.

What are the 5 steps to be followed during keyword research? ›

You can get started using keywords by following these five simple steps.
  • Listen to your customers. Hopefully, you're doing this step already! ...
  • Type their questions into a search engine. ...
  • Research the popularity and competition of keywords. ...
  • Start using keywords on your website. ...
  • Track your results.
24 Jan 2022

What is research keyword example? ›

Keywords should contain words and phrases that suggest what the topic is about. Also include words and phrases that are closely related to your topic. (For example, if the paper is about heart diseases, use words like stroke, circulatory system, blood, etc.

How long does it take to do a keyword research? ›

Keyword research takes around 10 days to complete and moves into the development of keyword strategy. With these keyword discoveries, an SEO campaign assembles a keyword strategy to grow organic traffic towards your site.

› keyword-research ›

Keyword research kicks off your SEO strategy. It forces you to learn and understand what searchers are searching for related to your products or services.
Keyword research is the process of discovering which words and phrases your target audience is using to search for websites and answers to questions on search e...
Organic is the only channel that drives reliable long-term traffic. It can become a primary revenue generation channel when a holistic, effective organic market...

What are the keywords in the research question? ›

Keywords are important words/concepts found in your research question or thesis. A quick and dirty way to pull keywords from a research question/thesis is to choose the most important nouns; all other words are irrelevant. Using keywords to search will always retrieve more results than phrases or sentences.

What are keywords used for in research? ›

Keywords, also commonly called search terms, are the words that you enter into the database search boxes. They represent the main concepts of your research topic and are the words used in everyday life to describe the topic. Without the right keywords, you may have difficulty finding the articles that you need.

What is the purpose of keywords research? ›

The key purpose of keyword research is to gain a deeper insight into your audience; how they search online, which topics most resonate with them and which companies they engage with.

What is the benefit of keyword in research? ›

The purpose of keywords in a research paper is to help other researchers find your paper when they are conducting a search on the topic. Keywords define the field, subfield, topic, research issue, etc.


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