August 3, 2017

What Google Hire’s SEO Fail looks like in ContentKing

Update August 6th

Jonathan Poston asked Google’s Gary Illyes what he thought about the Search Engine Land article about Google Hire’s SEO fail:

Gary Illyes replied:

When Jonathan asked for clarification Gary continued:

That’s interesting, because in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starters Guide they do stress the importance of SEO basics such as the title and meta description. I asked Gary about that but haven’t received a response yet, possibly due to him being on holiday so let’s wait and see.

I can confirm that Google has made any changes yet to fix the issues mentioned in this article as we’re monitoring the Google Hire platform.

On July 27th Search Engine Land reported on Google Hire’s SEO fail.

Their on-page SEO is poorly done. I guess you don’t need to pay much attention to SEO when your company name is a verb and you’ve got a huge network to promote your offering. Take a look at the external links to the hire.google.com website:

That’s impressive!

Us mortals need to make sure our On-page SEO is in order though,  we cannot afford to launch a website like this and be successful at SEO.

So what happens when you add the Hire platform to ContentKing? I’m glad you asked!

First glance at pages overview

This is what we see when we open up Pages overview:

(Click to enlarge)

At first glance we see that:

  • all pages are indexable and served over HTTPs, great.
    But…
  • the title tag for each page is “Hire”. That’s a big no go!
  • the meta description for the Candidate Nurturing page is “TODO add description”.
    The same is filled in for the description for Open Graph and Twitter Cards:

    That’s another big no go. Besides, most of the meta descriptions are very short so they’re bound to be replaced with body text from the page itself.
  • The H1 heading is missing for all pages except for the homepage.

This made me check how the Hire platform is currently indexed in Google. This is what a site: query for hire.google.com looks like:

That’s surprising actually, why isn’t more content indexed?

So how bad is it?

The Issues Overview page in ContentKing is a great place to get a more thorough feel for all that can be improved on a website.

In case of the Hire platform:

Meta information

All pages are suffering from meta information issues:

Canonical link

There’s no canonical link specified on any of the pages:

Content headings

All pages are suffering from issues with Content Headings. As we pointed out, the homepage is the only page with an H1 heading but it’s rather short. H1 heading should be descriptive.

XML sitemap

The website doesn’t have an XML sitemap as far as we can see. Sure, it’s a small website but it’s worth pointing out. As the platform grows over time it becomes more important.

Links

All pages link to https://hire.withgoogle.com/ to sign in there, but that URL 302-redirects to https://hire.withgoogle.com/sign-in?next=%2F. In order to pass most link authority it’s recommended to always link to the final URL, in this https://hire.withgoogle.com/sign-in would be fine.

Images

Some images have an img title attribute defined, others don’t. It’s not consistent, and from an image optimization point of view it’s recommended to fill in both the title and alt img attributes.

So what went OKish?

All pages are accessible for crawlers, and are tracked using analytics so that’s correct.

Open Graph is implemented on all pages, the description for the homepage is only a bit long. This is what it looks like when shared on Facebook:

Twitter Cards have been implemented, but they didn’t include the twitter:site field and again, the description for the homepage is long. This is what it looks like on Twitter:

That description doesn’t look that great right?

Even though Open Graph and Twitter Cards don’t matter from an SEO point of view, it does pay to fill them in correctly. You need to control what your pages look like on social media too.

I’ll throw in a few more checks just for fun:

Robots.txt

The website doesn’t have a robots.txt. That’s not necessarily an issue, especially if you’ve got a small website and you don’t have an XML sitemap either but it’s worth mentioning this.

Page loadtime

I used Google’s own PageSpeed Insights for this. Google scores 70 / 100, which isn’t that bad:

Mobile friendliness

I checked this using their Mobile-Friendly test and it turns out this is actually well done, good job. Here’s the result:

Conclusion

From an SEO point of view, the launch was poorly done. The website looks good, is fully responsive and page speed is fine but the SEO side of things was pretty much neglected. They’re not setting the right example.

Next steps

Because ContentKing keeps track of the changes to On-page SEO elements. We’ll be able to see in real-time as Google makes changes and fixes the issues. Let’s hope they do – they should be following their own best practices and giving a good example.

Our offer to Hire

We had a discussion within the team and decided to offer Hire a lifetime free account with ContentKing to help improve the site. We know this is a lot, but we’re willing to contribute to make the internet a better place 🙂

Dear digital marketers of Hire, if you’re listening: reach out discretely to our support team using the button at the bottom right and we’ll provide you with the login details to your account.

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