Staffing Firms: Step into the Now and Solidify Your Future with Localized SEO
An SEO Strategy Primer
by Nathan Goff, Inavero CTO
A major aspect of my role at Inavero involves crafting our product roadmap and assessing opportunities to add value. It became clear to me back in 2012 that helping staffing firms “get found” by job seekers and hiring managers would facilitate meaningful conversations and, ideally, firm growth. But to meet these users where they are would require us to add this value in the online channel.
- Research from the Staffing Advantage Report (an annual study conducted by Inavero and CareerBuilder) shows that after referrals, buyers are most likely to search online as a way to find potential staffing firm partners.
- Of prospective clients who do receive a referral, 2 in 3 will continue their search online before reaching out to a given provider.
Of course, “getting found” online is a separate blog post in and of itself. The area I feel most equipped to shed light on is the search engine strategy that has shown a significant ROI for the staffing firms we work with – that is, localized content for local searches.
Localized vs. brand search strategy
Back in 2012, Google changed the local SEO game by releasing the codename project Venice, which updated their search engine to consider the location that a user is searching from when it returns search results. For the first time in internet search history, if you were sitting in your office in New York and searched for ‘staffing firms,’ Google would use your location to return search results that prioritized New York staffing firms (instead of a nationwide search). This change has ushered in a whole new world of localized SEO that continues to influence digital strategy today.
Unfortunately most staffing firms with more than a single physical location have not kept up with Google’s localized preference.
Hiring managers and candidates want localized information.
Google didn’t make this change lightly – they have mountains of data that demonstrate how important localized content is to your end users.
A 2018 study by MomentFeed found that 85% of all consumer impressions with brands that have more than one physical location happened on a digital asset that was specific to a location – with just 15% of impressions happening at the overall brand level!
Job seekers and prospects will interact with your firm through your localized digital content at more than 5X the rate they interact with your overall brand content, but if you have minimal or no localized digital content then you are missing them altogether.
What does localized content look like?
Great question! A localized digital asset can include location-specific web pages on your company website, “Google My Business” location pages, Facebook local pages, Yelp location pages, and Glassdoor location pages.
Best of Staffing winner and Pacific Northwest based multi-location staffing agency TERRA Staffing Group provides an excellent example of a location first strategy on their website. Each branch location has a dedicated page with all the necessary contact information. Additionally each branch page:
- Introduces you to the local staff you would work with
- Gives you a feed of jobs available through that location
- Provides several paragraphs of localized information on the branch
- Tells you local parking and directional information
The industry is lagging, so be a leader.
Failing to have location-specific digital assets for each of your physical branch locations is like not having a phone number to call. You risk prospects and job seekers not being able to find and connect with you (both online and off) if you fail to create a strategy around localized digital assets.
In a random selection of 10 winners from Inavero’s Best of Staffing list that have more than one physical office location only 50% of them had unique pages on their website for each of their office locations. Of the 5 that had office specific pages, only one had content, like job postings, specific to that location (beyond basic contact information). Publishing a unique webpage on your company website for each branch location is just one simple action you can take to improve your localized SEO strategy and stand apart from the competition.
The cherry-on-top: localized VOC content
Findings from our 2017 Staffing Advantage Report demonstrate that 3 out of 4 candidates’ decision to apply for a job will be influenced by a staffing firm’s online reputation. What’s more, Google loves to present 3rd-party rating information directly in search results wherever possible – so it’s an imperative consideration for any localized digital strategy.
Most viable ways of impacting your online reputation are based on localized VOC (voice-of-the-client or voice-of-the-candidate) content, which ties the client or job seeker experience to the specific physical location that provided it. However, unlike most other digital content that you can control, legitimate online ratings and reviews must be sourced and presented by someone other than you to appear prominently in Google search.
This is where Yelp and Google Reviews can play a vital role. They tie user-generated ratings to a specific physical location and are often presented in Google search results as star ratings. While these online reputation platforms can’t be ignored, they don’t always provide a very fair picture of what the client experience is like. That’s why our latest product – ClearlyRated.com – is designed to help our clients take their large volumes of VOC content (earned through client and candidate surveys) and turn it into localized online profiles with star ratings. Fueled by localized VOC content, our clients’ profile pages and affiliated star ratings appear in Google search and provide a more accurate picture of working with that firm then a limited number of Yelp reviews can.
Want to dive deeper?
I’ll be sharing more details about my SEO research and lessons from the field in an upcoming webinar, hosted by our friends at StaffingTec. I hope you will join me!
Inavero is on a mission to help staffing and recruiting firms credibly differentiate themselves based on their service by blending a short client and talent satisfaction survey with an online profile highlighting star ratings and testimonials earned by the firm. Imagine if JD Power & Associates had a love child with Glassdoor.com, and you see where Inavero is going.
Nathan is a software industry veteran with years of corporate experience leading software engineering teams in enterprise software development. He manages the product strategy and development at Inavero. He has a passion for growing technology companies through continuous improvement and a focus on client and employee satisfaction.