Indeed Gives Nod to Craigslist as it Solidifies its Defenses Against Google for Jobs

A former Indeed executive reached out to me last week regarding Google’s recent dive into Indeed’s waters and the launching of Google for Jobs. He requested anonymity, but his message went like this:

Hey Joel,

Read this article yesterday and was just blown away. Incredible that Google will use almost the exact same playbook as Indeed and probably get away with it because they can. I figured you are enjoying watching this unfold as much as I am.

Google is very clear about the fact that it doesn’t want to directly compete with Monster, CareerBuilder, and similar sites. It currently has no plans to let employers posts jobs directly to its jobs search engine for example (though that would surely be lucrative). ‘We want to do what we do best: search,’ Zakrasek said. ‘We want the players in the ecosystem to be more successful.’ Anything beyond that is not in Google’s wheelhouse, he added.

You could literally replace ‘Google’ with ‘Indeed’ in that paragraph and place it in an article 10 years ago.

The comparisons are indeed obvious for anyone who was around the industry back then and paying attention. It also reminded me of the day Craigslist blocked all the vertical job search engines. It was around 2006. In addition to Indeed, Craigslist blocked SimplyHired, Jobster, and WorkZoo among others. To this day, Craigslist still blocks Indeed from indexing its job content, so it’s safe to say, at least for Craigslist, it’s a sound strategy.

So, I wasn’t surprised when I recently chatted with Indeed SVP of marketing, Paul D’Arcy, when he said, “We are not participating in Google for Jobs at the moment.” But my jaw dropped, however, when he then added, “jobs posted on Indeed are not indexed by Google.”

Whoa!

I understand that Indeed wouldn’t want to play nicely with Google for Jobs and add their original job content into the index, like CareerBuilder, LinkedIn and others have done. But saying an original job posting on Indeed isn’t indexed by Google at all was news to me.

I checked it out, and sure enough, jobs posted on Indeed directly do not show up in Google search results. Some snippets of a posting may show up as part of a wider geographic or industry search, but exact URLs do not. You can also put in exact phrase searches into Google for job content on Indeed and get nothing back.

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It’s also safe to say that jobs posted into Indeed’s new Career Pages won’t show-up on Google. D’Arcy said there are “some employers who only post on Indeed,” which should make those jobs only available on Indeed’s network as well.

In short, it looks like Indeed is taking a page out of Craigslist’s strategy by cutting off Google from its content and making it only available on its platform. Cutting off Google is also a strategy that has worked well for the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn. Only time will tell if it helps secure Indeed’s status as the most-trafficked job search site in the world.

It’s likely a strategy that will work in the near term. Three million employers post directly to Indeed, which is more unique jobs than any site in the world. Also, according to a recent Madgex survey, the typical job seeker visits eight different sites in their quest to find a job. Knowing that, Indeed will at the very least solidify itself as one of the sites you need to visit if you’re looking for a job.

Long term, however, the strategy has the potential to backfire. Indeed salespeople are no doubt going to be asked, “Do my jobs get into Google’s job search results?” They’ll have to answer no, and that’s likely going to translate into lost business.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.

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3 Comments on “Indeed Gives Nod to Craigslist as it Solidifies its Defenses Against Google for Jobs

  1. Indeed has enjoyed some of the best SEO traffic for jobs for many years, and they built a great business model around it. Also by scraping jobs from corporate career sites and did one of the best implosions of the job boards I’ve ever seen (taking jobs from the boards, and using their SEO strategy to sell traffic back to them, which resulted in job boards losing huge traffic and market share.

    So for them to complain now about the search engine itself (the hand that fed them) saying it’s stealing their business model and pretending like they are some titan that’s not going to play in their sandbox seems like a kid threatening a parent that their not going to do their chores but still want their allowance.

    I’m pretty sure that a huge amount of traffic that flows to Indeed every day still comes from Google SEO traffic, even if the “jobs” content isn’t in their index, but just like shopping sites SEO results get pushed down the page below the fold of product listings, the same will happen for job searches which will result in less traffic to indeed who will change their tune quickly to keep their traffic volumes up.

    I LOVE that Google is entering this space, and going to do some disruption – it’s long overdue. I love that it will cause the current players (LinkedIn included) to have to start playing poker a little different and to worry about the new guy who just re-bought in at the recruiting hold-em game.

    If they would have done this at the launch of Google+ and had more connection between profiles and jobs, it would have had more juice for their entry into trying to be a social network, but we’ll see what happens next.

  2. Indeed created traffic for job board for the most part who had such poor technology platforms Google and other search indexes did not get to their job data. So it is a very limited argument to make they have somehow taken advantage of job boards. 95% of job boards failed to have either technology and/or a marketing strategy to gain rankings in the first place. I have studied at least 5000 job boards as part of my work over the past decade and that 95% is from those studies. Corporate career sites are even worse.

    Google jobs is also modeled on Google shopping which has just been hit with billions in fines for miss positioning products, fines it will most likely never pay. But its approach to taking data and forcing it on users is coming unstuck. These fines signal that. Indeed has only to add a small amount of fuel to this particular fire to push winds of take a look at that service next law makers.

    The other major problem for Google jobs is it is not getting jobs from a wide enough source base, that in itself makes it not a game changer and further fuels the fans of a potential legal fire that will wipe some of the gloss off the service aka the shopping example. Just try the service it runs out of quality jobs the more you drill down very, very quickly.

    Will they get it to work? Sure it is Google but is it a game changer nowhere near it yet.

  3. Great article! We noticed Indeed’s absence from Google for jobs in our analysis, as well but didn’t know the exact reason why, so thank you. I think this is a great opportunity for companies who would have otherwise been scraped by Indeed and had their jobs muscled out by Indeed on Google results to optimize their career site listings for GfJ and get search traffic directly to their jobs (not Indeed’s scraped versions) for a change.

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