Are Two Words Helping or Hurting Your Job Board?


Online news publications and trade journal websites often turn to custom job boards as a source of revenue in order to diversify their website monetization strategy. Niche job boards, whether targeted based on geography or profession can make your website stickier and more likely to be bookmarked in the first place.

As with any other website, the content of your job board is a key determinant in how much traffic it brings in and how well it engages readers and job browsers. It’s important to make content on every page of your site relevant and high quality, and search engine optimization (SEO) requires that you include relevant keywords and keyword phrases. But one key term is the subject of criticism from recruiting consultant Peter Weddle of

Is the Term “Job Seeker” Demeaning?

Weddle posits that the term “job seeker” is demeaning, particularly for passive job candidates, saying it’s a loaded term that “subliminally positions a person as a supplicant for work.” Weddle says that the term “job seeker” signifies the presence of prejudice based on news reports that indicate people who are actively looking for a job are “damaged goods.”

With people who are unemployed, being turned off by the term “job seeker” may not matter, because they really have no choice but to visit job boards to change their situation. Weddle says that the ones who are really offended by the term “job seeker” are the passive job seekers, who “refuse even to acknowledge that the term applies to them and avoid the sites that use it.” The result, he says, is job boards that immediately alienate a huge potential population of people who are already employed but could be swayed by the right opportunity.

Should You Eliminate “Job Seeker” From Your Website?

Probably not. Whether you believe that people are offended by the term “job seeker,” people still frequently use “job seeker” in search engines, and if it’s verboten on your site, you could miss out on search traffic. If you want to cut down on your use of the term, a more respectful phrase, according to Weddle, is “job candidate.” The psychology behind it is that “job candidate” implies that the person applying is qualified, whereas “job seeker” indicates someone who is more desperate for work.

SEE ALSO: How to Maximize SEO for Job Boards

Other Terms that Are Good for SEO

The Google Keyword planner says that “job seeker” has 33,100 searches monthly, with “job candidate” and “job applicant” having 390 and 480 searches monthly, respectively. There aren’t many other good substitutes, though “online job application” gets 2,900 searches monthly and “job hunter” gets 6,600. Your best bet would be to use “job seeker,” “job hunter,” “job candidate,” and “job applicant” on your site, without overemphasizing any of the three.

Helping Employers With Their Listings

You can help employers who are interested in listing on your job board create listings that avoid making applicants feel like “damaged goods” through tutorials, blog posts, and resource articles on static pages. By keeping them from using “job seeker” exclusively, you reduce the risk of alienating passive job seekers and increase the opportunity to rank high for substitutes like “job candidate,” “job hunter,” and “job applicant.” Well-crafted listings by employers help them, you, and those applying for jobs.

Custom job boards can be a solid part of your website monetization strategy whether your organization is an online newspaper or a trade publication website. Job boards are a natural for bringing people to your site repeatedly, and are good at drawing in new traffic when used as part of an overall audience development strategy. At RealMatch, we offer digital publishers and media companies custom job board solutions designed to help your site and your revenue grow.

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