Are You Competing with Indeed?

I’ve said before that I think you can compete with Indeed. Yes, you.

I don’t say it because I have blind faith in you (although I’m sure you’re great), I say it because I know that a job board or recruiting platform with a value proposition that resonates with and delivers for its target market can, indeed, compete with Indeed.

A focused target market and unique content can define what makes a job board valuable and preferable for job seekers and employers/recruiters to use over using a site like Indeed. Unique content (candidate profiles, blog content, job posts, landing pages, etc.) can arguably come in two forms – original content that is found nowhere else, or content that is curated in such a way that your organization and delivery of it is unique and valuable. In many cases, unique content is a combination of both original content found and unique curation of content that was first published elsewhere.

Curated content, whether it’s publishing job backfills from other sources (like Indeed, for instance) or using RSS feeds to populate a blog on your site, has both pros and cons for job boards. On the one hand, it’s a great way to automate fresh content – new jobs are pulled in and published, and you can rely on external sources to share industry news and advice.

However, many new job boards run into trouble when they fail to balance curated content with original content, and when they fail to prioritize the quality over the quantity of their curated content.

While Google does not actively penalize websites for publishing duplicate content, it places much higher priority on content that is unique and appears valuable. Therefore, if the only unique content on your job board is a few words on your homepage, and everything else consists of backfilled jobs or imported RSS blogs, you will fail to make much headway in getting found by job seekers or potential customers on search engines.

Backfilled job content is a great way to supplement the jobs that customers post directly to your board and generate additional revenue via pay-per-click or pay-per-applicant agreements with backfill providers. But if that is your only source of job content (regardless of whether the situation is intentional or temporary) you need to make up for that duplicate content by doing two things.

Firstly, you need to add original content to your job board, like blog posts or resource pages, and keep adding new original content on an ongoing basis. Secondly, take a hard look at what backfilled jobs you publish. Are all the jobs relevant to your target market? Could you be more selective about what you publish? If your goal is to attract a certain kind of candidate, are your jobs similarly focused to match that purpose?

The big misconception that some new job board entrepreneurs have when they start out is the idea that they can build traction without doing any of the above. If all you have to offer is the same content that Indeed or other backfill providers have (and that your competitors may also be using) why should anyone use your job board? Why not just go to Indeed?

When you can’t deliver something unique and valuable to the job seeker, you will ultimately fail to deliver that which is most valuable to your customers – the candidates they want to hire.

Should you compete with Indeed?

Yes, of course you should.

But the more important question is, how are you going to do it?

I really don’t mean to pick on Indeed, here, but they’re an easy example to use given the high volume of jobs they regularly publish (over 3 million in the US alone). The point is that whoever your competition is, if you want to beat them you need to decide how you’re going to do it. If you want to beat the competition by having the most jobs available, you’re fighting a completely different battle than that of a niche job board or specialized recruiting platform.

If you want to beat your competition by having the amazing and talented candidates in your market use your job board, by having awesome employers advertise their jobs with you, and by building a resource-rich community for your target market, then yeah, you can compete with Indeed.