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How to optimise your careers site for Google BERT

Written by Lucy Dawson on 14 Jan 20
How to optimise your careers site for Google BERT
BERT, short for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is the most important Google update in the last 5 years and it will impact 10% of search queries. How can you optimise your careers site in line with these changes? Firstly, you must consider that BERT wasn’t rolled out to help Google better understand website content but to more accurately understand what a user is searching for. Therefore, to help BERT rank your careers site highly you must ensure your content is succinct, relevant and focused towards your candidates’ searches.

Let’s see in detail what Google BERT is about and how this update will affect your careers site:

What is BERT?

BERT isn’t actually an update to Google’s algorithms, but a technique that improves natural language processing (NLP). NLP is a branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI), developed to improve a machine’s ability to interpret search queries and webpage content. BERT is referred to as an “all-in-one" tool because it can perform a range of NLP tasks but eliminates the need to use multiple models to do so.

The defining feature of BERT is its ability to understand the nuances of context – it looks at the preceding and following words – thereby interpreting the sentence as a whole. This bi-directional processing improves the match of search results and means that a candidate searching for “Entry-level electrical engineering jobs in Manchester” will be shown results that incorporate all those keywords. With this in mind, let’s explore three creative strategies that will help BERT optimise your careers site.

Create succinct content

Microsoft conducted a study in 2015 which found that in just 13 years our attention span dropped from 12 to 8 seconds. This suggests that when a candidate lands on your careers site you have, on average, mere seconds to convince them that your content and jobs are relevant to their search. While several recent studies have set out to debunk this claim, Microsoft’s findings do shine the spotlight on that fact that employers are up against attention being a limited resource.

Keyword density and placement are important for your SEO ranking but if they compromise how the content reads for the user then your careers site won’t be performing as well in line the new BERT update. When writing the content for your job pages and blog posts you must keep in mind that a machine is interpreting the language, and though Google has developed a sophisticated all-in-one NLP tool you should aim the reading level to be no higher than a 16-year-olds. Your aim should be to write concise content on your careers site whilst delivering new and useful information. Listen to our webinar to find out how more on why your careers site is the hub of your talent attraction.

Specifically target what your users are searching for

Since BERT takes into account the context of a search, it’s no longer enough to just focus on keyword research tools. To understand what your users are searching for and deliver the relevant content you should be using features such as Google autocomplete, related searches and the “People also ask” box. If you type “Renewable energy jobs” into Google, you will retrieve pages worth of information about what locations people are looking for the jobs in and similar questions they’re asking. This particular search query will tell you that candidates are also looking for “What kind of jobs are there in renewable energy?”, and you can use this insight to guide what information you offer on your careers site. Candidates that land on your site and find relevant information that answers their questions will continue to engage with your brand because of the value you are providing them – this is all a part of providing a good candidate experience.

Topic clusters

It is the bi-directional nature of BERT that allows Google to understand the context of the sentence better and thereby attaches less importance to targeting individual keywords. Alternatively, if you focus on ranking for a specific topic, Google picks up on you being an authoritative source for that topic. Within this topic, you will then rank higher for long-tail keywords – highly specific search phrases – as there is considerably less competition for these. And your conversion rates will see a boost too because these search terms are more intentional – candidates are seeking more specific information and you can present specialised answers. While long-tail keywords have lower search volume, 70% of all online searches include them, so their power should not be overlooked.


Let 4MAT help you optimise your careers site for Google BERT

We can help you direct more traffic to your careers site using our award-winning system - Attrax - which includes market-leading AI, is optimised to rank highly on Google and is endlessly customisable. The system allows you to create a personalised experience for candidates and deliver relevant content. To find out more about Attrax and our digital marketing services contact us.


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