In early July, Google announced that they’re going to update their job schema and job content editorial guidelines that will ultimately affect job post rankings on Google for Jobs. This is a significant update -- especially for its timing. Anyone who has jobs advertised is going to be affected by this update. Like any update Google makes to search rankings, some will gain visibility, and some will lose it as a result. Whether a company's jobs will win or lose will depend on their candidate experience.
Companies right now are struggling to attract and hire talent as demand for talent surges and competition is fierce for the limited supply of job seekers on the market today. This is about to get amplified since many companies also have significant hiring during the fourth quarter due to seasonality. Now more than ever, companies are in need of traffic to their jobs so they can hire the talent they need.
Unbeknownst to most, Google is about to make an update in October that is expected to significantly affect the traffic to jobs. Google is going to make a change to Google for Jobs (G4J) by updating their job posting guidelines to improve the quality and trust of results for job seekers. Google is making these changes based on direct candidate feedback on these interactions with job search listings during both job search and the associated application experiences.
These updates go into effect on October 1, 2021, and companies need to prepare for the changes coming soon.
The Need For The Update
When Google first launched Google For Jobs, the user experience wasn't the best. Since Google for Jobs first launched, it has been a little bit like the wild west -- where nearly anything goes and where candidates were often the ones caught in the crossfire. What should have been an improvement to their job search and candidate experience often actually was not what they were expecting. There were instances where companies would bait a job seeker with a different company’s job to capture the job seeker’s information and never forward the candidate to the actual companies application process.
What is exciting about this Google for Jobs update is that it will eliminate a lot of that bad behavior. This update creates a more fair playing field for both companies advertising jobs and candidates to trust that they are applying to an actual position. The results of these changes will also likely penalize job adverts where the candidate experience is lengthy, confusing, or otherwise sub-optimal.
Who Will Be Affected?
Anyone who advertises jobs on the web is going to be affected by this update. Google is favoring those who provide a quality experience to the user, so they’re calling out all companies to improve their candidate experience or risk losing being found in Google for Jobs. This update can potentially negatively impact your talent acquisition strategy, the number of applications you receive per role, and at the end of the day, negatively impact your business if you are unable to achieve critical hiring goals.
There is most certainly a ripple effect that will take place as job seeker traffic is redistributed. For example, job boards and publishers will lose traffic because they will no longer get some or all of the free traffic they have come to depend on from Google for Jobs. This means there's going to be a downstream effect, that employers are going to lose traffic from some of the publishers they rely on today. On top of that, if they're not indexed, they're already losing traffic from not being included in the index. The job traffic is going to go to the companies that have compliant AND indexed job pages. In addition, if they prioritized the candidate experience, then their job rankings on Google for Jobs will be rewarded.
The companies that have made commitments to quality application experiences or those that plan now to comply with Google’s new rules will have a significant advantage in this highly competitive market for talent. There is an opportunity to capture all the traffic that is most certainly going to be lost by others after the update. If you are not prepared, you’re going to lose traffic, and it’s going to go to a company that prioritized the candidate experience.
Improving The Job Seeker Experience
A benefit of this update is that it’s going to improve the job seekers experience by getting rid of sites in the search results that are using job post content to get unsuspecting job seekers to provide their information and will eliminate the “black hole” where candidates thought they applied to a job, but their application was never sent to a hiring manager. That's great news for everyone except those misleading job seekers, and it's hard to have any sympathy towards that loss.
WHat You Can DO Now
This update favors those with a positive candidate experience, but shouldn’t the candidate experience always matter? Many companies struggle to make the candidate experience important in their organizations - it's often hard to go to leadership and say there’s a need to invest in the candidate experience because it's challenging to make a case as to why it matters from a strategic perspective.
With Google penalizing jobs with poor candidate experiences, there is now an immediate reason to prioritize the candidate experience at your organization. Organizations that prioritize and make those changes to provide a quality candidate experience will be the ones that will be favored and benefit from additional traffic and applications.
Beyond just a grab for free traffic on Google for Jobs, a quality candidate experience is also proven to increase talent pipelines, improve applicant conversion, improve ROI on recruitment advertising, and improve results through the talent acquisition process. Time to make your candidate experience a priority, if you haven't already.
These changes that Google for Jobs are creating with their latest update were necessary for a long time and will probably become a positive change. To stay informed on this topic and more, subscribe to our newsletter!
Posted by Julie Calli
Julie Calli is the Chief Marketing Officer at Recruitics. In the 16+ years that Julie has worked in talent acquisition, she has managed over $700 million in recruitment advertising and developed strategies that have supported hundreds of organizations. She is passionate about recruitment advertising and the positive impact that it has on bringing together employer opportunities and talented people.