Conduct Keyword Research to Capture Attention during Your Job Search
Search engines are constantly scanning and categorizing online content for keywords. The nouns, or keywords, you choose upfront become part of your personal brand. You not only use them in your value statement but also in your résumé, business cards, and so forth.
Remember career advisors handing you lists of power verbs to cherry-pick and add to otherwise uninspired résumés? Using these power verbs was, of course, great advice for paper résumés. After all, the only consumer of a paper résumé is a human. But now you live in an online world where humans still love to read power verbs but machines prefer to read nouns, or keywords.
When was the last time you entered only verbs into a Google search? Your interactions with searching on the Internet are typically through finding people, places, or things.
Imagine that when your future boss is ready to look for a new employee, he goes to Google or LinkedIn and types in the position he’s looking to fill for the city where his company’s located. He scans through the search results and clicks on the first few names that speak to his company’s needs.
If you want your name to come up in the search, you have to understand how Google ranks its results, because ultimately Google decides which people show up on that first page. This process is known as Google Rank or PageRank.
Google’s legendary search algorithm has gone through several iterations over the years. With each cycle, Google seems to get more human in its understanding of how people use language to convey meaning.
In other words, the higher a page ranks on Google’s first three pages, the more likely that site is relevant to the searcher. Let’s face it, how many times have you searched in Google and found the results useless? Most of the time, Google gives you exactly what you’re looking for.
Google is able to tell whether a website is spam and irrelevant or has great content. This determination is called relevance, and Google ranks websites based on relevance. Today, experts can boil down Google’s search algorithm to the following on-site elements.
Exact match of the search keyword/keyphrase: Based on its appearance on the web page, Google ranks (or displays) an exact match first.
Semantic match of the search keyword/keyphrase: Using a semantic match means that Google may rank a website based on the meaning of the nouns, even if it doesn’t have an exact match. Think of a semantic match like synonyms for the keyword/keyphrase you used.
Appearance of the search keyword/keyphrase in key places: These key places on the web page refer to headlines, titles, and bold font.
The readability of the text on the screen: People who pack keywords on their page get penalized. Generally, Google prefers text that’s easy to read.
The authority of the website that content is housed on: This website authority is called PageRank, or PR. LinkedIn has a very high PR, which is why job seekers often see their LinkedIn profiles rank higher than some of the other websites they use.
The better keywords you choose and the more often those keywords appear in your profile, the better off you are.