First and foremost, we all spend a lot of time there…
With almost 237 million average visits per month, Google happens to be the number one site visited in the United States. Second, to that, YouTube, which is a Google owned property (and is also considered a search engine), comes in with 211 million visits per month. Amazon places in third with almost 181 million visits per month, which isn’t surprising given the fact that they are now the 8th largest retailer in the world. Of course, Social Media is represented as well, with Facebook breaking into the top five sites visited in the US per month, at almost 176 million visits. The fact of the matter is, search engines, and Google and its properties, in particular, hold reign over our time and attention when it comes to internet traffic. To further drive the point home, out of all the search engines out there, Google captures about 60% of the market, which has remained steady for the past ten years. Bing has been trending upwards in market share since back in Q3 of 2012 when it surpassed Yahoo as a leader in the secondary search engine space, behind Google. The way we see it if you’re going to get your feet wet in search engine marketing, Google is a great place to start.
So, does this translate to job seekers?
Not only are search engines, and Google, in particular, considered to be ranked at the top traffic-wise for sites visited on a monthly basis, 90% of job searches start on search engines, representing close to 33% or 300 million job-related searches on Google per month. With search engine marketing, companies can appear above organic search results and show up alongside the likes of Indeed, Glassdoor, and other job board juggernauts, helping to create additional awareness around their brand. In fact, 92% of all clicks go to advertisers who show up in organic search and paid ads together. Companies that have ads show up more than once in a search achieve a level of trust with a candidate that can help to maximize the impact of branding initiatives. Because there is often a call to action written into the ad copy, search engine marketing is also considered tactical, and not just a branding effort. Search engine ads can lead candidates back to career sites, the employer’s ATS, or even to landing pages with short forms, helping to drive up overall conversion rates.
How do I optimize ads and maximize my ROI?
Search Engine Marketing is a great way to showcase a job posting while ensuring mobile optimization. Now that over 60% of searches start on mobile devices (up from 51% just two short years ago), Google updated its algorithms and advertising platform to more closely mimic mobile-enabled search results and content on the web. In the recruitment field, more and more employers are investing in mobile-enabled career sites and ATS systems, due to an overwhelming increase in mobile traffic and job searches. Now, more than ever it is necessary to be mobile enabled and optimized, given that it comes complete with the Google advertising platform. In fact, Google recently announced plans for Expanded Text Ads allowing for up to 50% more ad copy, an additional ‘top of the page’ ad (now four, not three) and the complete removal of sidebar results in order to fully optimize campaigns for mobile.
It would be amiss to talk about Google without also mentioning that display advertising is also available through Google AdWords. With over two million display network sites, spanning over 90% of users worldwide, display advertising is a great way to expand on search campaigns. People spend as little as 5% of their time actively searching on Google, which is a short amount of time to capture someone’s attention. The rest of the time they are consuming content, which is why it is highly important to reach people with banner/display advertising, to introduce a brand and help improve conversion rates. Furthermore, with the simple addition of a pixel to a career site, ATS, or landing page, it becomes easy to re-market to those candidates. Employers with video capabilities can also create a YouTube campaign and take advantage of the second largest search engine in the U.S.
What next in the world of Search Engine Marketing (SEM)?
Although Google dominates the market with existing products (specifically through the AdWords platform), the question remains, what next? The answer may well be “Google Hire,” a hiring platform with the potential to include an ATS, a job posting builder and distributor, and maybe even a career site builder. Expanding into the latter stages of the candidate experience could result in updates to Google’s search algorithms. Assuming that Google’s plan is to own the entire candidate experience, they will likely look to optimize job postings through “Google Hire” while downgrading those from other job boards and aggregators. All of this is speculation, as Google has not officially released information on Hire, let alone how they plan on monetizing these products. Will they have Pay-Per-Click based “sponsored jobs” or will it be more of an organic feed based on the relevance to the candidate’s job search? The business model is still unknown, as well as if these services will be accessed separately or will be available as a bundle, packaged together as a full suite of hiring products.