Google Instant is being rolled-out to users on Google domains in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia.

Will Google Instant affect SEO within the recruitment industry?


Search rankings themselves won’t change so the on and off-site process of SEO will remain as it is today. However, there is one area of Google Instant which potentially presents both a threat and an opportunity…

Fundamentally, Google Instant will suggest terms to candidates as they type which they might not otherwise have used. On one hand this may lead people to use searches that are simpler/shorter than the searches they would naturally enter. For example people take the quick, suggested route and search for “jobs in IT” rather than “jobs in IT analysis”. This would make recruitment SEO much harder as interest would gravitate towards fewer, generalist search terms which are less relevant, more competitive and harder to rank for.

On the other hand, Google Instant might encourage candidates to use more detailed, long-tail searches because Google’s suggestions will essentially imply that your search term is not quite complete. For example, Google’s suggestions would prompt the search “jobs in IT structure analysis” rather than just “jobs in IT”. These longer-tailed searches would open up a new world of opportunity for SEO as job boards would increasingly move towards specialist, more detailed search terms.

It’s a difficult one to call but our NORAS research (the largest piece of online recruitment research in the world) suggests that the average length of recruitment based search terms is growing. Google’s own generalist research and recruitment market research agrees with our findings. If we are both right then job boards have a huge opportunity to move above competitors as search queries change and more detailed (longer-tail) searches become the norm. This change will give greater opportunities to industry, sector or role specific job boards that are naturally geared towards longer tail searches.

Online recruitment SEO planning will also change. Companies choosing which terms to try and rank for will no longer be able to use the current tools available and will have to factor in Google Instant suggested search terms. New opportunities will arise for job boards to out-rank their competitors using new analysis methods for their campaign planning. Again, our research gives us a unique insight into SEO campaign planning and allows us to track changes in search behaviour.