The success of your job board website comes down to a few different factors. Finding the right niche for your job board in the first place, establishing that there’s a market for your services, and putting together a beautiful, easy-to-use online presence.
The problem is, all of your competitors are doing that too, so how can you stand out? It’s great to differentiate your job board, but you need to have a marketing strategy and a clear plan — and that means competitor analysis.
If that sounds complicated, don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to work out why your job board competitors are being successful, and help to position you to take them on.
It can be a tough puzzle to solve, but with the right approach, dedication, and the courage to make changes, you can really position your job board for success.
You’ll need to dig into keywords, market research, technology, and more to understand exactly why you’re not performing as you want to.
In many cases, there are simple, practical things you can do to help your job board stand out and attract recruiters and candidates. In some other cases, you’ll need to take a longer-term, more detailed approach to build your reputation and visibility over time.
Ultimately, there’s not a “one size fits all” solution to beating your competitors, but with a little focus, you can make significant improvements.
Sometimes, the success of your competitors can be baffling. Their website isn’t optimized, they’re using older technology, and they don’t seem to do much outbound marketing.
Despite this, they attract visitors day after day and week after week. They’re well-placed in
Although it might seem like a mystery, it seldom is. They may have really good backlinks, a reputation in the marketplace, and brand recognition.
The good news is that you can achieve these things for your website as well. Competitor analysis gives you the understanding you need to make improvements to your job board website and get it noticed.
A few important points to note.
The first thing you need to do is find out who your competitors are. There are several ways to go about this.
Start by talking to recruiters and candidates already using your job board website. You can create a survey or contact them by email and ask two or three specific questions:
You may want to provide an incentive for them to answer as well, maybe a discount on posting jobs or entry into a draw for an Amazon gift card. The feedback you get will make this worth your while.
Another valuable resource is the contacts you’ve already made. Whether that’s peers and partners, forums, or social communities.
Dig into your LinkedIn and Facebook groups, engage with your Twitter followers, look at Reddit, and chat with former co-workers. The idea is to get a wider view of the general industry you’re specialized in and who the main players are in the jobs marketplace.
As before, asking the three specific questions above can be really useful and give you actionable insight.
It’s time to do some searching of your own. There are a couple of good ways to identify other job boards in certain niches.
Here’s a collection of useful resources to help you find job boards in specific sectors.
Finally, Google (or Bing) is your friend. Try various searches in your niche, sector, or industry. These search terms will get you started.
Make a list of all the job boards you want to research. We recommend a spreadsheet, Google Doc or Word doc, but use whatever works for you. You’ll want to capture the name of the job board, where it’s located online, and leave some space to capture other important information which we’ll discuss below.
Once you have a comprehensive list of job boards in your niche you need to find out who the real competitors are. There are several ways to do this.
Consolidate the information from the questions you asked your network and existing customers. Find out who the most prevalent names are in terms of where they search for or post jobs. You can even follow up with more targeted surveys on communities and forums, giving a poll of job board websites and asking people to select who they use.
Review Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to understand how often these other job boards are mentioned. Tools like BuzzSumo can give a great indication of the popularity of other websites on social media.
Next, go through their job listings over a defined period of time (we recommend a month) and see how many job board postings, resume listings, and applicants they have.
Be sure not to count backfill and imported jobs — you only want to calculate how many job postings are original.
There are several tools you can use to get website visibility statistics for your competitors. These include:
With these tools, you just need to enter the website of each of your competitors into the tool and they will give you all sorts of insightful information into traffic, reach, market share, and much more. You can use this information to help identify the most important competitors in the space.
Gather all of this information together in your list and review the results to find the top competitors in your space.
We recommend finding the top three to five competitors and then going onto the next step of researching their marketing strategy.
Now you know the websites you’re going to research, it’s time to dig into what makes them tick. You’re going to do this using some tools and also through reviewing their marketing efforts.
There are some great tools you can use to get even more insight into what your job board competitors are doing.
Use these tools to gather information on exactly how your competitors are optimizing their websites for search engine placement so you can develop a similar strategy.
Finally, look at how your competitors attract people to their websites and engage with visitors. There are a few common areas that a successful marketing strategy will incorporate.
Make a note of the main marketing strategies and the areas your competitors are
Now you have all of this information, you need to develop your marketing strategy to compete. The exact approach you take will depend on the information you’ve collected, but the tips below will give you a starting point.
Do you feel that the niche you have chosen is one where you can actively compete?
Some job board niches are already dominated and it might be hard to make an impression. Others will be easier to get an inroad and start appearing in search results. If you believe the niche you have chosen is going to be too challenging, consider changing your focus.
Look at your own website and explore the marketing efforts you’re already making.
Rank each of the initiatives you are using against your competitors and establish if there’s room for improvement for each one. Decide if you want to continue using a specific marketing strategy and add it to your marketing plan.
When you look honestly at your own website, you will likely find lots of opportunities for improvement. Note down what they are and prioritize them in terms of how much effort they will take, how much impact they will have, and how easy they will be to improve.
Once you have prioritized, you can start to make changes.
You will want to complete a “gap analysis” between your job board website and each of your competitors’ websites.
What marketing initiatives are they using that you are not? Do you want to follow that particular marketing initiative? Conversely, what aren’t they doing?
There are bound to be areas your competitors are not covering where you could make an effort and win over recruiters and applicants.
Once you have all this information, you will want to put it into a master marketing strategy and plan.
You should focus on one or two marketing initiatives at a time, make the changes, and track the impact it has on your job boards. If possible, try to identify your marketing return on investment — the budget you spend on a specific initiative versus the revenue it brings in.
Ideally, you want to have a marketing strategy for the next month, three months, six months, year, and two years. Good marketing takes time.
Now, you need to roll your sleeves up and get on with your marketing efforts. Identify the most important strategy and start following it.
That might be creating great video content, contacting your competitors’ referring websites and asking for a backlink, or developing great email newsletters. Whatever it is, the important thing is to start, and then keep going.
Competitor analysis, research, and marketing is an essential part of running a successful job board website. Ideally, you should carry out competitor analysis on a regular basis and make improvements based on the latest data. Track how your marketing, ranking, and revenue changes over time.
Remember to always start by getting a list of who your competitors are. Then, analyze each one to find out how they are doing compared to you. Look at their websites in detail and use online tools to dig into the statistics. Finally, feed your findings and data into your marketing efforts to drive your strategy.
Have you used competitor analysis to successfully market your website and improve your rankings? Do you have any questions to ask or advice to add? If so, we’d love to hear from you, please leave us a comment below.
And good luck!