Gaming Google For Jobs
It's the damned Wild West out there.
- Job boards gaming Google for Jobs - Indeed possibly hitting the panic button? - A "jobs data store"?
All on this episode of VOICES with Venkat Janapareddy, CEO of Jobiak.
Brought to you by Chad and Cheese - HR's Most Dangerous Podcast. Subscribe at chadcheese.com.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by
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Joel: And Indeed is still not playing with Google for Jobs, correct?
Venkat: Not yet. They could be.
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Chad: Welcome back. We're picking the conversation up with entrepreneur and CEO of Jobiak, Venkat Janapareddy.
Joel: We know that much of the success of Google in terms of just their searches, external factors, backlinking obviously was sort of their original way that they became Google, right? Sites linking to you were basically votes saying that you're a good site. How much of that is going on with Google for Jobs? One example that I'm thinking of is, maybe does having a good rating on Glassdoor, Indeed reviews or CareerBliss or whatever, do those play into ranking well on Google for Jobs? What externally is there a factor of if any?
Venkat: Yeah, so the company reviews, if you put a link with list of reviews from Glassdoor, that's a big, big, big jump to you. Of course, you have good reviews, if you have bad ones obviously you're not going to do well. Some of these RMPs, even us when we publish our jobs, we get the reviews from Indeed or Glassdoor and we show up, that's given. If you put in the reviews, if you put in the salary estimates you tend to do well. As far as backlinking, this is where the job ads did a phenomenal job. As I said, if you look at sales jobs on Google right now, page one is always job ads. First one, second one, of course first is Google for Jobs. The second one is Indeed and then ZipRecruiter. Those guys have invested lots of lots of money in SEO. And a single job whether it's Jobble, LinkedIn or Glassdoor, if I go and create a job there, they create a hundred different backlinking pages for that one job.
Venkat: If I am putting a Java developer for Fidelity Investments in Boston, what they do is, okay, Boston tech jobs, Fidelity jobs, Boston Java jobs, Boston local jobs, they're just creating this hundreds and hundreds of backlinking pages and publishing them to Google. Now Google thinks, wow, this job is linked elsewhere. And of course [inaudible 00:03:32.14] and Indeed have good publisher programs. Now these are also getting distributed hundreds and hundreds of job ads and they have backlinking going on. And SEO, Indeed has become so powerful because they've invested significant money. Google today they still get almost 140 million visits per month from Google. So the backlinking does really help. That really helps in terms of if you have six jobs, same job coming from six of them, the site that owns, let's say you post a job from Fidelity Investment and the job is coming from LinkedIn, Glassdoor, some other site, the backlinking the site apparently is what plays a role and who's going to show up on first. Of course there are other secrets, but one of the big one is how powerful are you? Who owns the original content and how powerful are you in terms of SEO authority? And a lot of that SEO authority depends on backlinking.
Joel: Now did you say Indeed gets 140 million visitors a month through Google organic?
Venkat: Yes. Right now they're getting almost 450 million visits and 40% of the traffic is still coming for Google organic. And as I said at the beginning, the visit, the Google for Jobs visit is now taken 38%. It started with 5%, last year it was around 20% to 30%, but as it picks up Indeed is going to have a serious
problem because the traffic is going to slow down. And of course, now it's live everywhere worldwide. So if 38% could become 70%, 80%, then that will be a huge loss to Indeed.
Joel: How do you know that number?
Venkat: It is from SimilarWeb, SEM rush, the two apps, if you go there it's public information, they tell you. Especially SimilarWeb is free. If you go there, they give you all the traffic and how much they're getting from organic.
Joel: And Indeed is still not playing with Google for Jobs, correct?
Venkat: Not yet. They could be.
Joel: In some countries we've seen it, but not big ones.
Chad: Now, it was a recommended search. It wasn't actually in the feed.
Chad: That was something that Google recommended, that wasn't something that Indeed actually had anything to do with.
Joel: And we've heard rumors that Indeed is sort of backdooring getting onto Google for Jobs by putting them on Glassdoor. Do you see any evidence of that?
Venkat: Not on Glassdoor. Simply Hired, we used to see them at some point. I think they're being shut down. They were pushing lots of jobs for Simply Hired even though it's part of Indeed. The reason why we think Indeed is going to get on to Google for Jobs is organic. When Google for Jobs was launched, organic is still Indeed. And now these jobs are starting to show up. The jobs that you push on Google for Jobs, you can find them. So if Microsoft is pushing a thousand jobs on Google for Jobs. If I am looking for Microsoft tech jobs or Microsoft sales job, you actually don't see Indeed name or being the second one. You actually see those jobs. That's where the biggest fear is.
Chad: On the organic?
Venkat: On organic.
Joel: Very interesting.
Venkat: The details, the jobs are coming on the organic, then they'll panic and they'll have no choice but to work with Google for Jobs to stabilize the overall traffic.
Chad: How long do you think that's going to take? I mean because you've seen a jump from 5% to 38%. I mean that's a huge dent in Indeed's traffic and that's all they are. I mean Indeed is just a traffic engine. I remember when I was working with Randstad Sourceright, the RPO, Indeed came in, did a presentation and they said don't even buy ad words, right? Don't do any SEM whatsoever because we're going to out buy you. We're putting more money into SEM than you can, right? So that was their whole role on that side of the house. And I understand the SEM is different than the SEO, but they also rode very heavily on the SEO piece. What's their strategy and how long do you think it's going to take for them to actually jump into on the Google for Jobs bandwagon?
Venkat: I think very soon. My guess is because of this organic traffic going down. But it's going to be interesting if they decide to jump on Google for Jobs because Indeed has probably, in the US alone they have 3.5 million jobs. But worldwide I expect that to be 20 to 30 million jobs. And Indeed dump all of them on Google for Jobs. I think the whole experience with Google is going to take a hit because imagine you go to Google for Jobs, every other job now says apply on Indeed, because Indeed is the king of SEO. Everything I just talked about Google for Jobs becoming SEO for jobs, if they jump onto it, it's good for Indeed, but I think Google for Jobs is going to take a major hit because it's just going to ruin the candidate experience. Because the reason Google for Jobs was born, because they're sick and tired of seeing the same job ads on page one. You never see the initial landing pages on page one, but now Indeed jumps on it, they're just going back to the way before Google for Jobs.
Chad: Yeah, but don't you think they will put a governor on that per se. I mean if they have that kind of like wave of content coming in, I can't imagine that they'll just allow that to happen, can you?
Venkat: Actually that's a good question. I was going to ask you guys. I don't know because
Chad: I don't think they'll let it happen. I think they'll allow the jobs in. I just don't think they will allow them to flush up into the top six and just own Google for Jobs. I don't think they will allow that.
Venkat: Again, Google, as long as you have a good landing page, they just can't discriminate, hey, if you are from Indeed I'm not going to show up in top six. That'll create lots of problems for Google, but again, Indeed overnight they can create phenomenal landing pages given their SEO knowledge and automatically they show up. Again, that's going to be interesting, actually I'd love to see your thoughts. There is no way Google can say no because then they'll sue. It'll become a huge antitrust issue if they say no to Indeed, but it's going to be interesting.
Chad: I don't think they say no, I just think that they come up with a different algorithm that does not allow a flood of these jobs into the top six. Now if you continue to search and you go past the top six, then you start seeing Indeed jobs. So there it is, there's proof. There's indeed jobs, they're in, they're available, but they're not in the top six. Whatever that reason could be from Google, I just can't imagine them allowing Indeed to just flush and again own like they used to own the organic, to own Google for Jobs. I mean it would ... why in the hell have Google for Jobs in the first place?
Venkat: Yeah, that's a good point Chad. My thinking is if you look at job ads right now, they are kind of abusing Google for Jobs. The apply process is very, very confusing for candidates.
Chad: Registrations, all that shit.
Venkat: Yeah, some of these applies. Even LinkedIn which I used to have a lot of respect. You click on apply on LinkedIn from Google for Jobs. You land on LinkedIn, you click on apply, you go to some other job ad, they take your resume information, then they toss you back to another job ad. It takes almost two to three steps before you land on career page. And that's more than Indeed, it's a huge problem because Google brand is starting to take a hit right now. A lot of candidates are not happy with this whole multistep approach and some candidates actually think it's Google and the employer doing and forcing them to go through all these job ads, they don't understand the way why these jobs are all going through this multistep process. Again, the Valley told Google that it's a huge, huge problem this multistep process. Either Indeed come or not, they have to do something like what Craigslist did.
Venkat: Job seekers should be able to find, hey, show me only jobs directly from employers. Craigslist you can go and say, "Hey, no third party, just show me people who are selling directly from owners." If they don't do something like that, this Google for Jobs is not going to get any better than Indeed. The job ads is a mess. I hope they do something because not only did they duplicate LinkedIn and some of these job ads. They're not doing a good job on deduping, so some of our customer's job, the same job shows of five different variations. If you have a registered nurse, there'll be another job registered nurse hyphen Boston [inaudible 00:13:03.20].
Chad: Yeah, they're gaming.
Venkat: They're gaming and they're not in, Google for Jobs is not really their priority right now for Google. So the deduping is become a huge problem. We have already informed Google about this multistep approach in deduping. I'm sure they're working on it, but right now it's a big problem for job seekers.
Joel: So if I could chime in here for a second. So if I'm Google, and one of the things that we're saying in terms of a broad SEO and commentary that's going on, there is something called no click search. We've all been to Google and search lyrics or recipes or when a celebrity was born and basically you don't have to leave Google to get the answer to that question, right? It obviously pisses off web publishers because the traffic they used to get to know the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven. Now they just get that from Google and they never go to your website, right? So they don't see your banners, they don't see any of that stuff. What I think Google should do or will do is eventually you'll see these jobs like you do now, you don't have to go to the website, but now to apply you have to go to the website.
Joel: What I think Google will do is eventually create a apply through Google button that everyone can voluntarily put into their job postings. And job seekers will eventually learn, well, I don't want to go click apply on LinkedIn and then go to LinkedIn and then do whatever. I'd rather just click my apply with Google and be done with it. Now, you don't have to put the button on your job descriptions, but eventually your applications through your site will go down significantly because job seekers will learn, I'm just going to apply with Google. And Indeed if they do go on Google for Jobs, they'll eventually have to come to grips with, do we have the apply with Google button or do we have to make them apply through Indeed. And that'll be an interesting question that I think job sites will have to answer. But if I were Google, that's eventually where I would go.
Chad: They can't do it.
Venkat: I thought when Google for Jobs was announced in 2017, I thought that's their goal. Three, four years from now, they just don't want job seekers to leave Google. Just find the job, you have your resume in Gmail and you click on apply and you're done. And then behind the scenes, their resumes are among those ATS career centers, that's why they still have this other product Google Jobs Discovery. That's where this whole integration comes in. I always thought when Google announced Google for Jobs that's the real vision and that's where they can make lots and lots of money. That's where they can truly disrupt and avoid all this multistep and spamming issue.
Joel: And be a real competitor to LinkedIn and Facebook.
Chad: Yeah. But I don't see it being Google, I see it being Google providing services to the RMPs and the applicant tracking system, just like Venkat was just talking about. They have services through APIs that you can utilize to be able to do that through your platform. So it's not Google doing it because there's a severe antitrust issue if you just do a straight apply on Google, so that is a non-starter.
Joel: But not if it's the site volunteering to do that. If I'm LinkedIn and I volunteer to put apply through Google on my site, that's not an antitrust issue.
Chad: That is something that iCIMS let's say for instance, or the actual applicant tracking system or the job board is using correct. But there's a distinct difference between Google doing it directly and then doing it through different providers. So yeah, if they're doing it through providers, I agree. And I would love to see something like that happen, an API for job search, an API for candidate matching slash application, those types of things. But yeah, that's a nuance that we definitely have to talk about.
Venkat: Yeah. Chad I agree with you right now. They're already having issues in Europe. I'm sure you guys are aware, lots of job ads have sent a letter. The European Commission sent a letter to Google saying, "Why do you show up on first?" I think if you notice in the last six months there hasn't been much happening at Google for Jobs. I don't think they'll make this progress as fast as we think. I think they've slowed down a little bit ever since this whole antitrust thing came from Europe. I don't know what's going on right now. I don't see this as antitrust. They're pretty much working with job ads. I think their problem is, like travel, Google is dominating travel right now. They're making billions of dollars just by showing up the first, and Expedia and KAYAK, they're out taking a major hit. The question really is, does Google deserve to be the first one when I'm typing sales jobs in Boston. It's good for us, we depend on Google, but from European job ads, why do you show up first? We've been working under your guidelines, we're following SEO. We've invested millions of dollars. We should be the first one. It's going to be interesting to see what's going to come out from Europe. I think that's one of the reasons they've slowed down a little bit.
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