What is Google for Jobs?
Google for Jobs is a new search feature published by Google. Simply put, it’s a way that job descriptions all across the web are displayed in Google when someone does a search for job related terms. Just like video and images are given their own special attention and view in Google Search Results, jobs are now also going to be displayed in their own special view.
Google’s taken on the role of job aggregator now, and that’s going to shake up the entire job search industry. There will be new challenges for established talent industry brands, and giant opportunities for smaller brands to make unprecedented talent hunting gains if they catch up now and ride the wave of change upon us.
What does Google for Jobs look like today?
Google for Jobs is a new way that Google is showing web pages in search results, specifically web pages that are job descriptions. If Google recognizes that a web page is a job description then that page will be one of the special pages qualifying to be shown in this view. For example, if someone searched in Google for “nursing jobs in Baltimore” the jobs that match that description are now listed in an improved user interface, not in the classic way Google displays web page results. The way someone starts a job search session is the same as searching for any other term on Google Search, but the difference is in how the results of that search are displayed: in a whole new and better interface.
Instead of being shown in the manner Google has always shown web search results, now they’re displayed in a two column view. The search field and filter parameters are at the top within a thick blue header. There’s a list of the job results on the left hand side while the right column displays the details of whatever listing is clicked on. The pertinent specifications of each job listing are broken down in the same way for all the jobs listed, making it very easy for job searcher to recognize key details of the jobs – things like distance from the searcher, location, employer, job type, requirements and salary.
It’s a much more friendly way to browse jobs than before.
Some major job listing services are still stuck in the old “click away from the list” paradigm like Google used to display. Now candidates have an easier time finding the specific listings they’re most interested in and qualified for. Instead of having to leave the list of jobs, the list is shown on the left. The job descriptions are shown on the right. A user doesn’t have to leave the list to browse between individual job descriptions. It’s an easier to use paradigm of job browsing than most major job board brands still employ. And a result, employers get more qualified candidates, more rapidly.
Some staffing and recruiting companies are reacting to this change by updating their job definition software and methodologies. The pro-active ones know how important this seismic shift is going to be. By forcing the industry who authors job definitions to adhere to a unified way to write job descriptions, Google is taking charge of a big problem, improving everything while they have the opportunity to. Removal of the ambiguity in job listings will make better candidates find the employers who value them most.
What’s Google expecting from sites listing jobs?
Google isn’t reinventing a specification for how jobs should be defined – they’re following a schema that’s already been agreed upon by the industry’s lead engineers and is being followed by many job board brands already. This schema is part of a larger movement towards adding context to the content on the web, marking up the code of the content with invisible identifiers, defining the meaning and relationship of key elements of the information. This doesn’t just make the information easier to display and easier to read, and as a result less ambiguous for the reader, but it also makes the information easier for machines to understand. Now the most important type of machine to educate, when publishing job listings, are Google web crawlers, the robots that scour the web to index and catalog new pages and updates to existing ones. Teaching those robots what your job listing is about is made so much easier by adhering to the structured data expectations of Google, the schema.org definition of how details about jobs should be broken down when those job descriptions are published online.
What determines which jobs show up for which search terms?
If you try out Google for Jobs today and compare the number of jobs being shown today, for specific search terms, to the number of jobs you’ll see when you use those same terms on major job sites, you’ll notice something. The number of jobs shown on Google, for a specific search term and location, is less than the number of jobs shown on any one of the major job board brand sites. You might say “Hey – wait – shouldn’t that be in reverse? Since Google is supposed to be aggregating jobs from all places, shouldn’t Google return the highest number of results on account of aggregating everyone else?” That would make sense, but there’s a reason why Google limits what’s shown. It isn’t a free-for-all with every page containing a job description adhering to structured data rules being included. Instead Google is still Google. The same SEO rules apply. Pages that follow them will get shown. Pages that violate them will be penalized, and probably won’t be shown.
If you want your job listings to show up on Google, you’ve got to follow Google’s rules. The reason most job listings aren’t shown up on Google yet is because less job publishers are following Googles rules than you’d expect. Some smart staffing and recruiting companies are taking the time to react, investing in the training into SEO for job listings, training that will put them in front of their competition – but most aren’t. Their job listings still aren’t showing. This means that there’s a big gap, a canyon of opportunity to be explored, an a wide open space for first movers to get an advantage. SEO matters more than ever. WPJobBoard allows job editors to achieve best practices on a technical level, and helps to make content compliant.
WPJobBoard and Google for Jobs
WPJobBoard is committed to keeping its user community ahead of this wave. We’re preparing the next update of our job board plugin, scheduled to be released before the end of this month, with the tools needed to meet the requirements for Google for Jobs. If you’ve already used the field customizer tools native to WPJobBoard it’s not difficult to envision how it will work. Because of the dynamic approach we have to customizing job entry windows and job display pages, you’ll be able to adhere to Google’s specifications and still have the flexibility to augment it to match your more specific business rules.
Take a sneak peek at how WPJobBoard is guiding job editors to make more compliant job listings, flagging fields that need to be completed for the job description. This reminds WPJobBoard users how to make sure each job listing meets the Google for Jobs requirements for being displayed. It also shows what isn’t necessarily required, but helps job descriptions to get listed in front of competition.
We’re getting the new update of WPJobBoard ready for release right now. It’s the perfect time to make sure your job editors are familiar with Google’s new listing requirements. Then they’ll be able to start writing technically compliant job listings as soon as the update is released.