The Marco, Polo of SEO
Marco! Polo! Marco! Polo!
Hopefully you know the game of Marco, Polo. We’ve all grown up with various versions of the game, but essentially, someone with their eyes closed is searching for other players by yelling “Marco” and listening for the others to respond “Polo” in hopes of finding them. Marco, Polo is a great metaphor for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Our various audiences are looking for a variety of needs, including staffing firms to work with or candidates searching for jobs. In your game of Marco, Polo, how well are you being found?
Many people understand that various search engines have created an algorithm to determine the most relevant websites to searchers’ requests. For example, when searching “staffing firms in Boston” or “Boston staffing firms”, only the most relevant websites appear in the search results. This algorithm is kept a secret from the public in order to avoid manipulation; however, we have all worked to understand the various metrics that are being utilized in order to determine relevancy. The hardest part of the algorithm is finding which metrics drive the most value. Some of the metrics that are used include keyword density in the content of the page, meta tags, meta descriptions, alt tags, page titles, outbound links, inbound links, responsive websites, how recently the site is updated with fresh content, and the frequency of all of these metrics. The trouble with all of these metrics is not knowing which have the most weight in the algorithm, which are within your control vs which are not within your control, and your overall score compared to your competitors.
Where do you begin?
As an old boss of mine used to say, “begin at the beginning”. The beginning of SEO is identifying your keywords, otherwise known as keyword management. When you begin creating your keywords, you are trying to understand how your audience would search for you as well as what you want to be found for in searches. For example, technology solutions firms probably do not want to be found in technology staffing searches, whereas, technology staffing firms want to be found for both.
Keywords come in two forms: standard keywords such as “technology staffing firms”, or long-tailed keywords like, “best technology staffing firms in Los Angeles”. Long-tailed keywords are typically more like phrases and are equally important to their shorter counterparts. When creating your keyword list, remember the variations of words that go into one single idea. Keeping with the thought of “technology staffing firms” as the search, you likely want to create synonym keywords such as tech staffing firms, IT staffing firms, information technology staffing firms, technology recruiting firms, technology recruiting agencies, and the list goes on. Your keyword list should include your practice areas as well as your areas of focus. For example, a healthcare staffing firm puts energy into a keyword of heath care staffing firms as well as nurse staffing firm, rad tech staffing firms, PT/OT staffing firms, and more. Every staffing firm should be looking at their keywords and developing a comprehensive list of their desired terms. Be sure to think about the positions that you typically place and how someone would search for them (i.e. java developer jobs, java developer careers, java developer opportunities, java careers, etc.).
After creating your keyword list, it’s time to integrate them into your website. Every page should have unique keywords that are written into their meta tags, descriptions, alt tags, page titles, as well as the content on the front page. Be sure to keep keyword density in mind because while one mention of a keyword won’t suffice, too many mentions of a keyword works against you in the algorithm. The difficulty is noticed when applying your comprehensive list of keywords into your website that doesn’t contain enough pages for the size of your list. This is where your job postings on your website play an essential role in your SEO. If you have not implemented Google’s Structured Schema for jobs into your website, then this should be your number one priority because it enhances the job posting’s SEO in the most efficient way possible.
Tracking SEO success is an ongoing process. In the beginning, you should take your keyword list and conduct searches to determine where you are ranking for each keyword. Keep in mind that search engines update the rankings approximately every 21 days, unless you do a special request to Google for indexing. This means that any updates that you conduct to your site potentially takes some time to be reflected in the search engine. The searches you perform should be tracked monthly to see your standings and changes that you’re making to your ongoing SEO. It all needs to be documented in case your rankings head in the wrong direction. This allows you to undo unhelpful SEO.
When tracking your rankings, be sure to use a private window in order to receive agnostic results because another factor in relevancy is the searcher’s proximity to your business. You want to see what the general public finds, not what is found from where you are searching from. The monthly report gives you clear visibility into your success and allows for ongoing improvement.
With all of this said, are you going to reply “Polo” when I say “Marco?” Because if not, you are likely not being found on the web. If we can be of any assistance, please feel free to reach out.