When you hear the term “search engine optimization” or “SEO”, most people think right away of Google.
A few enlightened people might give a passing thought to Yahoo! or Bing.
The odd smart aleck might mention that YouTube and Flicker are also search engines, of sorts.
And every now and then you’ll run into a wacky like me.
Image: licensed from PhotoDune
I’m the crazy guy who is about to show you a few things other than websites that need to be optimized for search, and not all of them are even for public consumption. If you think for a moment how many things you do electronically, that do not involve searching for a website, the logic of optimizing everything becomes clear.
Optimize Your Resume
The first thing to optimize is your resume. Don’t roll your eyes and say that this is like optimizing a web page so that the resume can be found on Google. That is not why you need to optimize your resume. In fact, you need to optimize it even if you never post it anywhere, even if the only thing you do with that resume is submit it once to a single job opening.
Why optimize a resume that you don’t want people to find?
Recruiting has changed from once-upon-a-time. Algorithms do the initial triage these days. Let’s face it, applying for jobs is so easy and quick with online forms and email, that a recruiter will receive 100 – 250 resumes for most job openings. Many of the people applying are not truly qualified; they are just throwing their resume at everything, hoping it will stick somewhere.
So what’s a poor, overburdened recruiter to do? Feed the resumes through an algorithm to see which ones are the most relevant to the position, then do manual triage through the top 12 or the top 30 or the top 50.
Image: licensed from PhotoDune
That means you need to have all the right “keywords”. There is a sorted starter kit here to get your juices flowing, but you will also want to make sure you have all the most common terms for your functions and sector , as well.
Think about what words would be used. If you are applying in the USA for an elevator repair job, don’t use only the word “lift” in your resume, even if that was how it was called in previous positions you held in the UK.
And read carefully the job posting itself. You will see many terms used there that you should include. I am not suggesting you change the facts of your resume for each job application, but it is worth the effort to tinker with the terminology enough that you include any word the algorithm will be searching for.
Optimize Your Clutter
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so give it all the royal treatment. When you put all that junk up for sale on Craigslist, Kijiji or any other classified website, make sure to optimize it. Some people will find your ad by scrolling through the category, and in some categories this might work fairly well. Other people might find your ad by searching Google (or Yahoo or Bing – gotta be enlightened, right?). But other people will search within the site.
POP QUIZ: What’s wrong with this ad:
Barbie Pink 3-Story Dream Townhouse
Working elevator, pop-up TV and removable hot tub
See video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMZkN9ef70c
Regular price new: $319 ( http://www.amazon.ca/Barbie-Pink-3-Story-Dream-Townhouse/dp/B001XOZPEI )
Our price used: $195
We can drive it into Ottawa for you.
Also, if you want more Barbie stuff, we have a ton of it!
If you have ever done keyword research, even once, you should be able to identify two basic, entry-level omissions.
- “Barbie” goes with “doll”; some people will search with the word “doll” in the query, and this ad will totally miss out on those customers.
- Barbie is only in the singular. suspect people will search more for “Barbies”
So what kind of an idiot writes an ad like this without optimizing it? Sadly, I must report that it’s me. I will have to edit the ad eventually, but this just shows how easy it is to overlook SEO when one is not promoting a website.
Optimize Your Social Media
This is where #hashtags come in, and once again I must ask you to please refrain from rolling your eyes at something you’ve read about far too many times before, because once again I am not talking about optimizing to be found in a public search.
While it is true that you can build traffic to your posts by adding popular #hashtags to your #socialmedia posts, this discussion is about adding unpopular hashtags, so that your posts can be found easier only by a very specific person. You.
Consider if you post perhaps a dozen items per day on Twitter or FaceBook or Tsu or Google Plus. Each post pushes previous posts down and off the page. Let’s suppose you want to find a specific post from a couple months ago. No problem, just keep scrolling for a couple hours, and – voila!
But what if you want to find a post form six or seven months ago? Or what if you don’t happen to have a couple spare hours on hand for scrolling? Add a hashtag for tracking purposes. While popular hashtags like #entertainment or #health might get some traffic from the public, for your own tracking purposes, you want hashtags that nobody else will use, so that months later you can search for the hashtag and still find your posts. A great example of this is how I use one of my daughters’ name as a hashtag on Tsu: https://www.tsu.co/hashtag/chantalyne.
If you list products on eBay or houses on home selling websites or cars on used car markets or vacation rentals on listing sites – or anything anywhere – don’t forget to optimize. Somebody might be searching for your information. That somebody might be your next boss. It might even be you.