The Arland Group is a boutique creative agency. We want to ask you an important question. Would you rather work with people who want to work with you? Or, would you rather work with people, who work for people, who make them work with you?

SEO? Not Anymore!

by Ryan Stene

21 November, 2013

ContentOne of the biggest recruiting buzzwords that has dominated our space for the last decade has been a three letter word—search engine optimization (SEO).

[Are you a little bit behind the times? SEO was the art and science of creating web pages that generated traffic and high rankings in the search engines. It relied heavily on links, keywords and site structure.]

If you were a recruiting leader and didn’t have a SEO strategy you were considered behind the times. If you were an earlier adopter, you maybe purchased tools that optimized your job postings or indexed thousands and millions of pages for you to build your own search rankings. Or maybe you stuffed your postings with keywords. It also was something that the job boards lacked, thus resulting in other emerging players to dominate the space.

But then Google and other search engines changed the game by altering the search algorithms and moved to a secure search—meaning that you can no longer obtain keyword data on how people came to your site. So what does that mean? It means SEO is more dead than my Michigan Wolverines’ chances of making it to the Rose Bowl. (I won’t get started on that rant.)

So, who is the next big player to make an appearance? Online Audience Optimization (OAO).

OAO simply is content distribution. It allows companies to leverage their greatest assets—the wealth of high-quality content to create a steady web-wide presence—and to generate consistent new and repeat visitors. OAO uses the best practices of SEO, along with social media, content sharing and branding, to build and elevate loyal and targeted audiences.

I have to give credit to some of the leaders at The Arland Group who have used their crystal ball to see this coming for several years and thus kept TAG in a position to be a leader in this space. On an hourly, daily and weekly basis we are curating high-quality and meaningful content. We then help our employers distribute that content to their audiences through various mediums such as social media, blogs, eNewsletters and building that within the current career site structure. This resulted in more engaged candidates, faster connections and decreasing the time to fill roles.

Thinking about getting started with this strategy? Here are some things to get you started:

  1. Brand Focus – Leverage your brand and existing company tag lines and phases to build meaningful content or themes. Involve other departments to share in the messaging and give it a dual purpose. For example: candidate engagement and driving sales.
  2. Be Precise and Have a Plan – Creating a plan and having a content calendar will keep you on track but also can help you leverage internal themes that occur during that time.
  3. Cast a Wide Net Know where you are going to distribute this content. Send it to candidates who have already applied to previous roles, give them option to sign up for the newsletter and use social media. Right now, social media provides one of the clearest connections with high search engine rankings. Build out your presence on social media and content sharing sites, but focus especially on the big five: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest.
  4. Encourage Audience Participation – Use polls, sharing, comments, reader-submitted content and contests to increase interaction. You can measure this by time on your site and bounce rate.
  5. Integrate Your Mobile Strategy – It is important to optimize your experience to be both mobile and desktop friendly. Mobile content consumption is the highest platform for consuming content. FUN FACT: 70 percent of desktop interactions lead to an action within one month and 70 percent of mobile (including tablets) interactions lead to an action within one hour. Source: Modern Marketer Universe

At the end of the day just have fun and learn from your experiences. Every company is different on how audiences engage and interact. The key is to make an effort. The effort will enable to you to reduce costs and rely on vendors to drive and engage your candidates.


Recruiting Strategy Planning for 2014

by Ryan Stene

17 September, 2013

RyanSteneBlogPhotoCan you believe it? It’s that time of year, where budget planning and strategic road mapping for next year takes place. This is my favorite time of the year, even though it means longer hours and more meetings, but I really enjoy the discussion of helping companies plan and shape their recruiting strategy for years to come.

Let’s look ahead at five things to consider as you build your budget and plan for 2014.

1.    Employment Branding & Candidate Experience – it is crucial that you get it right the first time, and this piece of strategy typically is the most time consuming but also the most rewarding. Employment branding ties into key areas such as attraction, retention and candidate engagement. There are a few key areas to focus on to ensure you develop an employer brand strategy that will assist in achieving your objectives. First, what image are you portraying to your internal employees? I would suggest doing focus groups and surveys to gather this data. Secondly, do you have engagement from senior level management? Third, is there a relationship and defined ownership between HR, marketing and communications within your organization? Lastly, ensure you have a communication plan. There is an overabundance of offline and online channels that tie to your employment brand and experience. Is the messaging and branding consistent across all channels? The secret is to test these channels and arrive at a strategy that provides the highest impact and proficiency for minimum investment. If you don’t have the bandwidth or internal experts, The Arland Group can assist you and complete a “Website Evaluation Impact Report (WEIR)” that can give you the playbook to effectively deploy your career site implementation.

2.    Mobile – This is a crucial part of the strategy, considering the changes to how search engines rank your site and pages based on if you have a mobile optimized site. We have seen top-ranking clients drop several pages because they don’t have a mobile site. But, having a mobile site is only part of the process. With more than 35% of career site traffic coming from a mobile device it is crucial to give candidates a way to apply or connect as well. In a recent SimplyHired survey, 86% of candidates said they would apply via mobile if it is easy, but only 32% apply because it is so difficult. Only 13% of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile optimized career section and 97.8% don’t have a mobile optimized application process. One of our strategic partners, MoBolt, provides an end-to-end application process that requires no IT support. It’s completely customizable, affordable, and best of all it can work with almost any applicant tracking system. MoBolt also offers a mobile employee referral app and a talent capture for event recruiting. Because of our partnership, we are able to help facilitate a demo and get preferred pricing.

3. Social Media – In my conversations with customers, I’ve learned that their social recruiting budgets are projected to grow based on the effectiveness and increased hiring from social media. In a recent survey by, one in three job seekers are using social media as their primary tool for job searching, and 50% of job seekers spend more than six hours per week using social media to find jobs. It also appears that these companies are continuing to add on to their strategies in the coming months. Two out of three respondents to the TweetMyJobs survey said they will expand recruiting initiatives in 2014. Are you looking to add a social strategy in 2014 or finish strong in 2013? We have several success stories and resources that can help you.

4. Video –  ComScore recently reported that 105.1 million Americans are watching videos everyday, and 56% of those people are watching them from a mobile device at least once a month. Recruiting departments should take advantage of this medium because of rapid growth, the ability to tell your message easier, and it helps shorten the hiring process. TAG has found that deploying multiple videos that are shorter (30-34 seconds) and more an infographic style vs. the typical talking heads is more effective. It also a great way to enhance your social media strategy. A stat that I find amazing and shows there is a gap in this strategy is that only about 24% of national brands are using online video. What are you doing to bridge that gap, increase your time to hire and retain the talent that you are targeting?

5. SEO & PPC – When I say those two acronyms, I bet you’re thinking that you already do that with certain providers or vendors. Search for your postings on LinkedIn or Indeed to ensure your jobs have the right keywords. Are you spending your pay-per-click budget effectively down to job level or just allocating a monthly budget and spending it until it is gone? When researching or benchmarking my clients’ postings, about 75% of the time their jobs are not appearing because the job titles are way off or they don’t have the correct keywords in the posting. When is the last time you effectively rewrote your job postings to be marketing ads vs. using the “HR” templates? Can your recruiters effectively write a marketing job ad? Do your postings provoke emotion or speak to a candidate? Do they make you want to take action and apply? Do you articulate the apply process and what is needed from the candidate? When it comes to PPC, I truly believe that aggregators like Indeed, SimplyHired or even JuJu are providing great organic and paid clicks. But, the problem with their models is that they are extremely time- consuming to manage, especially if you are sponsoring multiple requisitions. You then blow your monthly budget on paying for more candidates than what you actually need in the pipeline. We have found a few vendors to support these challenges and offer a variety of options to support your needs.


The Real Secret to Mastering SEO

by The Arland Group

24 August, 2012

Time and time again we get asked what the secret to mastering SEO is. We find ourselves explaining that the key isn’t through clever tricks, maneuvering or figuring out some deep dark secret. It’s about reaching people. And the greatest way to do that is by providing great content and avenues for interaction on your site. This article pretty much sums up what we’ve been saying all along.

House Advantage Swings to Google

by Keith Seiz

7 December, 2011

When we started The Arland Group six years ago, social media was not even on the list of services we provided. Facebook was for college students and Twitter wasn’t even an idea yet.

Today, social media is not only one of the most exciting segments of our business, it’s also the fastest growing. We now employ people just to develop mountains of content for our clients’ social networks.

To date, most of our efforts have focused on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But there is a new player in town in the form of Google+. I’m a cynic when it comes to new social media networks, mainly because I think the big three are innovative and continually push for improvements on their platforms. It’s hard to be the new kid on the block when everyone loves hanging around with the older, cooler kid.

I have a Google+ account, but I don’t get it. I think the user interface is clumsy, the concept is contrived and not too many of my friends and colleagues have embraced it, so I feel pretty isolated when on the platform. Despite what I perceive to be its shortcomings though, Google+ has an immense house advantage: the algorithm.

The mysterious mathematical equation Google uses to determine the results of search engines is the holy grail of digital marketing. As an agency, we strive to make sure our clients are on that front page of search results when their clients look for them. Getting on the front page requires an immense amount of work, of which I won’t go into detail here (you can call me though!).

On a recent Google search of  “The Arland Group,” we were shocked to see our Google+ page was the third result posted! It was above our Facebook and Twitter pages, despite the fact that we only have five posts on Google+ and hundreds on Facebook and Twitter. Despite building a solid brand on Facebook and Twitter, Google played its house advantage and tilted the algorithm to Google+.

Kudos to them. If you have an advantage, you capitalize on it. They have singlehandedly forced our agency to start launching Google+ accounts for all of our clients. We’re not sure it’s the best way for them to promote their brand, but with a world of information driven by Google, it’s imperative that our customers are present and accounted for on Google+.