Optimize Job Listings for Simply Hired Search

When optimizing a site, it seems like Google is on the top of everyone’s mind, but there are niche search engines that add very targeted and useful traffic to make a site’s job postings much more effective. Optimizing for them gives professional SEOs one more service they can offer to employers or contractors. Read on to learn about making the careers section of your web page easily crawled and helpful for Simply Hired, and these same practices will help you in other vertical job searches.

Thankfully, getting listed on job search engines like Simply Hired and Indeed is very easy, but it usually requires a bit of special attention. Unlike Google, they want to help your postings make it into results pages. This gives them more jobs and a more useful site.

In an attempt to get more job posting and be more useful, Simply Hired is pretty vocal about what it takes to do well on their site, making your job easier. Recent surveys by bloggers (and my own tests) show that Simply Hired currently has more job postings that turn up in search engine results pages (SERPs) than any competing vertical job search. For these reasons, I’ll be showing how to get good listings on their site, which will also be very helpful in getting listed elsewhere.

Before we go any further, I’d like to take a very quick look at the popular job searches. Although job boards like Monster are still on top, more job searchers are realizing these niche search engines give them more matches at once. Indeed and Simply Hired are the two big names right now, and both crawl thousands of job feeds already.

Simply Hired is quickly evolving. It has all sorts of filtering features (job type, work experience, company name, etc) that you get with the big job boards, though most job search engines lack them. Every post is accompanied by salary research buttons and job saving features. It’s entertaining too, if you check out the just-for-fun Simply Fired site. Visit to read stories about people getting “let go” for some surprising reasons, like the guy who was fired for eating a slice of pizza. These sites get a lot of traffic, and there’s no reason not to grab your piece of it.

Although Indeed is more established from being around a few years longer, it looks like Simply Hired is more aggressively trying to be the better engine. Job hunters will find your job postings through either, but Simply Hired’s filters and features promise you more targeted and desirable traffic. So let’s see what we can do to get jobs in their indexes to attract job hunters to your website.

Simply the Basics

Simply Hired can find your job postings two ways: its custom crawlers can find your jobs or you can submit sites and feeds. Even if the postings on your site are already on Simply Hired because a crawler found them or from them being posted on another site that that Simply Hired crawls, submitting job feeds is still much better than leaving it to the automated system. You will have more control and detail in your listings.

To create an optimized site or feed, there are a few basic rules, and the first rule is the format of your feed. Simply Hired can recognize and use a lot of XML or delimited feeds, and it can also harvest the data from your web page. RSS-XML feeds are not acceptable for submitting jobs. The company is developing a standardized Simply Hired XML format for you to submit your jobs. Submitted feeds in this standardized format are given a slight advantage. I’ll touch on a few tips for an HTML job posting, but I am going to be building our SEO Chat job posting in an XML feed since it is given preferential treatment.

Besides the type of the feed, you need to pay attention to encoding. Your feed should be encoded in basic ASCII, Latin1, or UTF8. Unfortunately, some characters in Windows ANSI encoding don’t parse correctly. In delimited feeds, Simply Hired says that almost any delimiter is acceptable: comma, tab, pound symbol, any single-character or multi-character.

Finally, stay aware of keywords as you get into this. Be especially careful in the job title and fairly attentive of the job description. You’ll need to think like a job searcher and do a little research of job position titles to see what titles are conventional. For instance, if SEO Chat was looking for another editor to help me out, using the job title “Editor” is much too lazy. Anything that general is garbage, though there’s a lot of it on the job searches. To get more targeted results and relevant hits, it should be “Web Editor and Writer.” Also consider adding words like “Trainee” if you want to attract entry-level applicants. Some companies may have less flexibility in optimizing a title in the XML file, but the job description is always an opportunity for keywords too.

HTML Pages for Job Spiders

Simply Hired XML may be the preferred format, but you may be stuck with HTML or PHP pages for your employer. If you have enough job postings (Simply Hired FAQ says you need at least 100 jobs to use HTML) you can have them try to harvest the jobs from the site. There are a few things you can do to make your pages easy for job spiders to collect. First, be sure that all your content is in a table or other very structured format.

Also, there are a few pieces of required information that you need to include, or the job spider won’t know what to do with you. Be sure to have at least the job title, job description, location including state or zip code, and used appropriate tags to label the posting. Also, you must include the company name on the page, even if the page is on you corporate website.

Finally, and most obviously, make sure your HTML is well formatted. Check that all your tags are closed and follow standards. You can use an HTML verifier to check.

Now with HTML out of the way, let’s get into the best way to format the listings: the Simply Hired XML standard.

The Simply Hired XML standard is the best way to go, and it gives your job posting a little boost. There is no minimum number of jobs you need on the feed in order to submit it. XML gives you specific fields for all the information the crawlers collect, and the info is easier for job sites to identify.

There are a few fields that are absolutely required. These are:

  • title: Job title
  • description:summary: Job description
  • detail-url: Detail page URL
  • location:state: Job location (minimum state)
  • job-code: Job code or other unique identifier

Since we are making a new XML feed, we may as well follow the Simply Hired skeleton. Below I will copy in the skeleton and try to label any parts that aren’t immediately obvious or you may have formatting questions about.

<jobs>

  <job>

    <title/>
    <job-code/>
      (Provide any unique identifier, which Simply Hired will use to distinguish it from your other job postings.)
    <action/>
      (This field is obsolete and only used in large feeds.)
    <job-board-name/>
    <job-board-url/>
    <detail-url/>
    <apply-url/>
    <job-category/>
      (Although Simply Hired has job categories for industries and occupations, this is an open field that can take anything.)
 
    <description>
      <summary/>
      <required-skills/>
      <required-education/>
      <required-experience/>
      <!– below are all boolean –>
        (Valid boolean responses are True/False, T/F, Yes/No, Y/N, and 1/0.)
      <full-time/>
      <part-time/>
      <flex-time/>
      <internship/>
      <volunteer/>
      <exempt/>
      <contract/>
      <permanent/>
      <temporary/>
      <telecommute/>
    </description>
 
    <compensation>
      <salary-range/>
        (For salary, you can enter anything: “30000,” “$30,000/yr,” or $15/hr.”)
      <salary-amount/>
      <salary-currency/>
      <benefits/>
    </compensation>
 
    <posted-date/>
      (Simply Hired can process dates in a variety of formats, but they recommend using their preferred format to be sure they will process it right: “year-month-day.” Today is 2006-03-15.)
    <close-date/>
    <location>
      <address/>
      <city/>
      <state/>
        (State names and abbreviations can be used interchangeably.)
      <zip/>
      <country/>
      <area-code/>
    </location>
 
    <contact>
      <name/>
      <email/>
      <hiring-manager-name/>
      <hiring-manager-email/>
      <phone/>
      <fax/>
    </contact>
 
    <company>
      <name/>
      <description/>
      <industry/>
      <url/>
    </company>

  </job>

</jobs>

When you build your feed and submit it, somebody at Simply Hired usually takes a look at it and can help resolve any difficulties or problems. You also get to tell Simply Hired how often to scan your XML feed in the comments box when you submit. The site automatically scans feeds once a day, unless you specify otherwise. That’s definitely enough for most sites.

Well, that’s the basics of it. Let’s put it into action on the next page. That will give you a working example to base your own feed on.

Here is the working example based on a writer position for SEO Chat. If you are impatient, skip to the next page to read about posting your jobs to the search engine.

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”ASCII” ?>

<jobs>

  <job>

    <title>Web Editor and Writer</title>
    <job-code>012345</job-code>
    <action/>
    <job-board-name/>
    <job-board-url/>
    <detail-url>http://www.developershed.com/job-012345.php
      </detail-url>
    <apply-url>http://www.developershed.com/job-012345.php
     
</apply-url>
    <job-category>Media Editorial</job-category>

    <description>
      <summary>Edits incoming articles and writes content for company’s entire
 network of websites. Responsible for communicating with freelance writers and producing newsletters. Applicants should enjoy working weekends.</summary>
      <required-skills>Writing, Editing, Technical Background<required-skills>
      <required-education>Bachelor’s Degree</required-education>
      <required-experience>2 years</required-experience>
      <!– below are all boolean –>
      <full-time>T</full-time>
      <part-time>F</part-time>
      <flex-time>F</flex-time>
      <internship>F</internship>
      <volunteer>F</volunteer>
      <exempt>F</exempt>
      <contract>F</contract>
      <permanent>T</permanent>
      <temporary>F</temporary>
      <telecommute>F</telecommute>
    </description>
 
    <compensation>
      <salary-range>$25,000-35,000/yr</salary-range>
      <salary-amount/>
      <salary-currency>USD</salary-currency>
      <benefits>401k, Dental, Medical, 5 Holidays</benefits>
    </compensation>

    <posted-date>2006-03-15</posted-date>
    <close-date>2006-04-15</close-date>

    <location>
      <address>12555 Orange Dr.</address>
      <city>Davie</city>
      <state>FL</state>
      <zip>33351</zip>
      <country>USA</country>
      <area-code>954</area-code>
    </location>

    <contact>
      <name>Mike McEwan</name>
      <email>mike@developershed.com</email>
      <hiring-manager-name>Contact Editor</hiring-manager-name>
      <hiring-manager-email>contacteditor@developershed.com
        </hiring-manager-email>
      <phone>(954) 862-1412</phone>
      <fax>(954) 862-1413</fax>
    </contact>

    <company>
      <name>Developer Shed</name>
      <description>Small web-based company in South Florida with a network of coding, software development, web design, web hosting, and computer hardware websites.</description>
      <industry>Internet Media</industry>
      <url>http://www.developershed.com</url>
    </company>

  </job>

</jobs>

If I wanted to, I could plug that into an XML file and submit it. Unfortunately, hiring a new editor is not my decision though. With that done, let’s move on.

Uploading your new XML feed can be accomplished 3 ways. Here’s how Simply Hired describes it:

  1. HTTP: post your feed to your website where we can grab it (with or without a password)
  2. FTP-1: post your feed to your FTP server, which has an account setup for us
  3. FTP-2: post your feed to our FTP server, which has an account setup for you

If you are submitting a feed to SimplyHired, fill out this feed submission page. You can also submit the URL of a webpage by filling out the form on this page.

If you want to remove a job from the indexes, don’t contact Simply Hired. Remove the job from your XML feed and Simply Hired will drop it next time the crawler reads your feed. In most cases, it should drop within a day or two. Also, like optimizing for any search engine, the rules are likely to change. So keep up to date.

With this new information, you can add a new optimization service for your clients or employers. Placing jobs on company websites and getting them listed in vertical search engines like Simply Hired helps recruiters and companies to cut time in recruiting. Your familiarity with this straightforward process allows you to further optimize a website, and adding new services you can provide always looks good.

Job meta search is going to continue to grow. Just like you need to tweak a page to be found easily in Google, you need to consider how you will get the job listings of your website noticed. Even a brand like Pepsi that hardly needs any help with recognition in Google’s SERPs might have to consider how to get job postings out, so that they can be found by people not coming to their corporate page.

This article was written with the help of a few people from the inside. Thank you, Ricky Ruhlen and Kay Luo at Simply Hired, for answering my questions related to this.

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