3 Ways to Keep Your Careers High in the Mobile Search Rankings

July 9, 2013 4:04 pm Published by Kristen Smith

Okay, so you’ve done it: you’ve decided to bite the bullet and go mobile. After all, like many talent acquisition and employment branding professionals, including Work4’s customers, you’ve noticed a high amount of traffic (maybe as much as 25-50%) coming to your career site from a mobile device.

But not so fast: Google’s changing the rules to make mobile search a better place for the searcher–and they’re going to punish those whose sites aren’t mobile-friendly by Google’s definition by dropping them lower in the search rankings.

Never fear. You can keep your career site on the top of the list by following these simple rules (based on the Google Webmaster’s recommendations and mobithinking’s suggestions) when establishing your mobile recruiting presence:

1. Don’t make your candidates take a detour

What would you do if you set out on a road trip, hit the highway, and then had to take a detour that took you all the way back to your house before you could move forward? Chances are, you’d be pretty frustrated.

Now think about your mobile career site. If a candidate clicks a link on your corporate career site while on a smartphone or tablet, does it take them directly to the mobile-optimized page they were expecting, or does it reroute them to the mobile-optimized version of your homepage first, so they’re left searching for the link they clicked again?

Google calls this a “faulty redirect,” and it keeps your candidates from getting where they’re going, whether it be to your jobs list, a specific job description, or even an application. According to this Forbes article, “70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour.” Is applying for a job one of your candidates’ intended actions? With the right mobile solution, it can be. If you don’t hinder their journey, by making sure that your page is 100% mobile-friendly (and that all pages will automatically send traffic to the mobile version), then you’ll be handsomely rewarded–with high search rankings and a potential applicant!

2. Don’t make your candidates switch devices

Is your site mobile optimized? Does your jobs list “play nice” with your candidates’ phones? Some websites simply can’t be viewed on a mobile device, and it’s your job to make sure that your website isn’t one of them.

Google wants web searchers to be happy. If a candidate tries to access your career site from a mobile device and is instead served what’s known as a 404 error, they’ll be frustrated–and that will upset Google. Smartphone only errors like this occur when your desktop site and your mobile site are located at two different URLS (like yourcompany.com and m.yourcompany.com) and the links do not correctly redirect from the desktop site to the mobile site. If the redirect does not work properly, or if the page doesn’t exist on the mobile version of your site, the candidate will see a 404 error instead of your jobs. You may have to invest in a mobile solution (or a new web designer), and you should test, test, test any career site on every mobile device and platform you can get your hands on. but the bottom line is knowing that your candidates can see your jobs no matter where they are will give you (and Google!) some peace of mind.

Another very common example of a smartphone-only error occurs when your exciting recruitment video that looks great on a desktop site won’t load on a mobile device. (If your videos are Adobe Flash-based, this is will occur every time someone tries to watch a video on an iPhone or iPad.) To avoid this error, make sure that your videos are embedded with HTML5 instead of Adobe Flash or that they instead link to a YouTube page where the content will be sure to play.

3. Don’t annoy your candidates

Close your eyes and picture the two most annoying things that can happen when you open a web site. (Go ahead. I’ll wait…

…and we’re back!)


What did you think of? I can guarantee the large majority of you envisioned:

  1. Popups
  2. Pages that load too slowly

I don’t think I have to explain why popups and slow page loads are annoying, but often we don’t consider these things when designing websites. If you have forms or links to apps that pop up as soon as a candidate tries to access your site, or if your site takes too long to load for your on-the-go candidates, not only will candidates be less likely to stick around on your site, but Google will give you a demerit.

These are just some of the most important things to be thinking about as you make your careers mobile. While Google never releases its exact algorithm for determining search rankings, you can still do well by keeping in mind the best practices discussed here today.

If you’re unsure of how to get started with mobile and need help determining what kind of mobile solution is right for your company’s recruiting strategy, you can check out Work4’s Selecting a Mobile Recruiting Solution whitepaper.

And, as always, you can leave a comment below. What questions do you have about getting started with mobile recruiting? What have you done to ensure that your candidates can view your careers from their mobile devices?


This post was written by Kristen Smith

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