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In 2003 at SES Boston, Google introduced “Boston,” the first named Google update. Since then webmasters and site owners have been responsible for reacting to the various algorithm changes Google has thrown our way. Some major ones in recent memory include the Panda and Penguin updates, and of course, the freshest in all of our minds, the “Mobile Update,” or as it is known to most of us in the industry: Mobilegeddon!

Whenever a new update is released, depending on the significance of the update, the internet tends to do what the internet does best: overreact. Google’s Mobile Update was implemented to not show websites that weren’t optimized for mobile on mobile devices. Makes total sense. Everyone else dubbed it Mobilegeddon. The good news is, it’s not the end of the world, and neither is this next update! By focusing on Google’s core purpose, we have the ability to not only design and develop a website optimized for the algorithm of today, but also ensure we’re prepared for any updates in the future.


A Little History on Trust

As the internet expanded, it became increasingly difficult for people to find what they were looking for. Early search engines were developed, but typically relied on keyword frequency or relevance, comparing a user’s search to the words on each web page. Google’s breakthrough was the result of the PageRank algorithm, which allowed the search engine to not only look at the words on the page but also to note how many other web pages linked to the page. By assuming that the more links pointing to a web page the more trustworthy the content on the page would be, Google was able to rank web pages. Suddenly, two pages with the same number of searched keywords could be distinguished by how many other web pages referenced it.

At the heart of Google’s success was their ability to provide their users with the “best” web page for whatever their search may be. The reason Google has 75% of the U.S. search market is because people trust their results.

In fact, chances are you actually trust your favorite search engine more than yourself. Think back to the last time you searched on Google and didn’t see the result you were looking for. Did you switch search engines and use the same search, or did you stay on Google and change your search? Nearly always the latter. Most of us assume the problem wasn’t the algorithm, it’s that we didn’t provide it the correct search.

While the original algorithm focused on backlinks, Google engineers constantly work to improve the algorithm, ensuring the results you receive continue to foster that sense of trust.

While these updates are continuous, every once in a while Google makes an update significant enough that either they (or the internet) collectively decide to name it. In some cases, like the Panda and Penguin updates, Google was attempting to remove spammy websites or websites that had gamed the algorithm and showing up higher than they should. In other cases, as with the Mobile Update, their focus was ensuring the user experience for the searcher remained consistent and optimized.

For Mobilegeddon, Google noticed that the volume of searches on mobile devices had grown significantly. In fact, as of May 2015, Google stated that there are actually more searches on mobile than desktop devices in the U.S. But not all websites are optimized for a mobile browsing experience, meaning that without an algorithm update, Google was showing more than half of their audience web pages that were often unreadable on the users’ devices. Mobilegeddon was designed to ensure that whatever device you may be searching from, your results will be optimized for that device.


Preparing Your Career Site for the Next Update

So what does this all mean for talent acquisition leaders and their career sites? Luckily, because Google is singularly focused on improving the experience for the end user, you can proactively prepare your career sites for their next update by designing them to deliver a trustworthy experience for your candidate leads.


What percentage of your visitors visit your website from mobile?

While the total volume of mobile searches has increased, it’s possible that your career site still sees little to zero traffic from mobile devices depending on the type of candidates you attract. If this is the case, Mobilegeddon wouldn’t have affected you drastically. But it shows the shift in Google’s priorities, which means you should start considering small changes to show up in search results for all devices. However, if your career site is like many of the ones we work with at SmashFly, you’ve probably seen an increase in your number of mobile visitors. If so, then I highly recommend you check out our checklist on optimizing your site for mobile visitors.


What content is your target audience searching for?

When you’re developing the content for your career site and careers blog, ask yourself not whether the content is what you want to say, but whether it’s the content your target audience is searching for more information on. When your career site or landing page shows up in search results, does the title tag and meta description align with the content available on the page? By designing your career site pages to deliver information your target audience is searching for, you can ensure your career site’s rankings increase with every algorithm update Google makes in the future.

To learn more on how to leverage search engine optimization to improve your ability to reach your target audience, I’d humbly recommend checking out our webinar on SEO 101 for Talent Acquisition and join the illustrious ranks of #TALswhoknowSEO.

In addition, there are tons of resources available that can provide additional insight into elevating your SEO knowledge such as:

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