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I've been waiting for a Dear Abby moment.
I received the following message via e-mail this week from a job board employee.
The name and site are not revealed to protect the innocent:
I have now reached a point where we are receiving a large amount of visits from search engines but I am in constant need of business arguments to continue with the growth in SEO activity; I know you have worked in the industry for many years and have a great eye on the market, I would greatly appreciate some external advice on how SEO fits into the future of job boards and how the online recruitment industry is growing.
Obviously there are some negative things happening within the market which we can not control, such as, Google Base, MSN's Live Expo and other classifieds - but the one thing I have learned about SEO is, its all about educating the marketing not so much the knowledge you have.
First, I love how they're "receiving a large amount of visits from search engines" yet this author still has to defend search marketing at his organization. Without knowing a ton about his site or its past energies around search, here was my answer:
1. Metrics. Numbers don't lie. Hopefully you can gather sufficient metrics from your site that indicate the true monetary value of what you're doing. In my experience, search is by far the biggest bang for a job site's buck.
2. New opportunities. With vertical search, we're entering a whole new world of optimization. Things will slowly migrate from optimizing for web search, to optimizing for vertical search. In other words, sites will begin to try to learn to out-optimize each others listings, in addition to web pages/sites.
3. All roads lead to search. If you read my blog regularly, you know how much I believe in search and its future impact on marketing. Companies who fail to stay in tune with the advances of search are bound to be left behind.
4. Competition. Your competition is on your tail. Always. Stay one step ahead or get smacked.
I'm sure I'm biased, but I can't imagine any website, let alone a job site, having to justify search as a means to focus on for visitors.
However, as this letter represents, it apparently happens. If you're facing a similar battle at your own organization, hopefully some of my feedback will benefit more than just this one reader.
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