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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 11, 2008 • Issue 08:08:01

Web site optimization: A route to talent

By Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting

Have you ever wondered how many searches are done each month for job-related keywords on Google? I knew it was a huge number, but I was surprised to see it was over 100 million searches in June 2008 alone - especially considering June is typically a slow month for recruiting and job searching.

The use of key words and overall Web site optimization affect almost every aspect of any growing merchant services business. It's easy to realize you will get more business if your Web site comes up when merchants do a search for "credit card processing services."

Many don't realize keyword optimization can also be an important factor in finding talent.

Historically, search engines haven't publicized numbers on how many specific searches are done for targeted keywords. But recently Google changed its external keyword research tool to reveal monthly search number totals, including the average number of searches for exact keywords.

This helps to spotlight exactly how much job- and career-related search activity is happening each month on Google.

Illuminating data

If you would like to access this free tool on Google, visit https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal. I pulled up interesting data using this tool. The following charts reflect one month's worth of search data:

    Top career areas sought

    Career area Number of searches
    Sales 2.2 million
    Customer service 1 million
    Administrative 823,000
    Accounting 673,000
    Human resource 673,000
    Nursing 673,000
    Finance 368,000
    Legal 301,000

    Top job locations sought

    Location Number of searches
    Georgia 2.7 million
    Illinois 2.2 million
    Arizona 1.5 million
    Massachusetts 1.5 million
    Michigan 1.5 million
    New Jersey 1.5 million
    Chicago 823,000
    Dallas 673,000
    San Diego 550,000

After just a little playing with this Google keyword research tool, you'll see how gigantic the opportunity is for employers who optimize their Web site career and job content, so as to drive Google users directly to their career sites.

If you've read many of my previous articles in The Green Sheet, you will recall that looking for passive job seekers is a common theme I highlight because it is an important aspect of growing an organization.

Optimizing your Web site so that your job opportunities come up when specific merchant services-related terms are typed in can be a resource to attract these passive job seekers.

Here's additional data on keyword searches pertaining to our industry. These figures are based on searches done in June 2008 alone:

    Top payments industry search topics

    Keyword or phrase Number of searches
    Credit card processing 246,000
    Interchange 165,000
    Accept credit card 90,500
    Merchant acquiring 5,400
    Credit card jobs 3,600
    Merchant credit card processing 3,100
    Transaction processing jobs 210

Try it for yourself. Do a search on Google for one of your own job titles and see if you can find your job mentioned online.

You can see that the number of searches for industry specific jobs isn't astronomical, but there were a ton of searches for industry buzzwords like "interchange." If your Web site were optimized properly, your job would have come up when the 165,000 interchange-related searches were done. This can be an effective way to draw potential employees who aren't even looking for a job when they use Google to look up information.

While most corporate career sites look flashy and are designed for employer branding, such efforts can in many cases decrease the likelihood of career site optimization. Using flash animations, pop-up windows, pull-down selections and frames could make your site very stimulating for users, but it could also make your site very difficult to find.

Unfortunately, search engine optimization is a difficult task. Most employers' job content is buried behind a keyword search engine, which is good for candidates who know what they're looking for. But Google won't execute a specific keyword search on its own. So potential job candidates will never see the job opening if they don't know what, specifically, to search for.

Landing pages

Another issue with getting your career site found by Google (using job content only) is that jobs likely go on and off your career site daily, which makes it difficult to obtain a higher placement ranking with the search engines using job content, which is very dynamic.

It's actually more advantageous for employers to develop talent landing pages, which contain profiles for specific hiring need areas and stay online constantly (whether they have open jobs in those categories or not), so that Google can always find that page. The content within these "talent landing pages" contains information about open jobs that match the listed profiles.

If you're a smaller organization, like many ISOs, you should be able to create job-description pages on your Web site with HyperText Markup Language, the most common language used to create Web pages (talk to your webmaster).

However, larger merchant services companies with hiring needs in several categories and multiple locations will need to seek an alternative with more features.

If this applies to you, try a solution that can interface with your applicant tracking system and automatically pull open jobs into these pages. This solution should then route candidates back to your applicant tracking system when they want to apply for a job.

This provides candidates with the best possible experience and allows for the Web site to still have all the bells and whistles you paid for. Even more importantly, this gets you placed high up in the search engine rankings on Google and other search engines.

(By the way, this is not unlike the tactics job boards use to do their search engine marketing, but rarely do we see employers using the same strategy in their interactive marketing).

You can cut your recruiting costs dramatically by driving active and passive candidates directly to your career site, using either search engine optimization or search engine marketing. Now is an ideal time to get started. Fall is coming faster than you think. If you want your job openings to land on the first page of a related Google search by October, take action right away. end of article

Curt Hensley is the founder, Chief Executive Officer and President of CSH Consulting, a recruiting firm exclusively focused on the payments industry. He and his leadership team have over 50 years of combined experience recruiting in the merchant acquiring arena. They recently placed their 1,200th payments industry professional since their inception eight years ago. Contact him at 480-315-8800 or curth@cshconsulting.com.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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