Linkbuilding for Startups in Hong Kong

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While it’s common knowledge that a large number of quality links are essential for strong search engine rankings, many companies large and small are unsure how to proceed. According to a recent survey, only 62% of marketers engage in linkbuilding, which is the process of having external pages link to your website, and these stats are for the US where SEO practices are far more established than in Hong Kong. My guess is that only a tiny fraction of Hong Kong startups currently engage in this activity. The good news is it's easy to learn the basics, and with little competition, you can potentially have higher Google rankings than more established companies.

Most of us are already working around the clock on our startup and may look to outsourcing linkbuilding activities. Unfortunately, outsourcing it to the wrong team can be a costly mistake, so it pays to have an understanding of how link building works and what not to do.

Several years ago, a internationally-renowned US retailer came under fire for "black hat" link building. They were outsourcing link building overseas to a company who had a decent track record of getting a large number of sites to link to them. However, these websites had nothing to do with the retailer as they were created using spammy techniques. Soon enough, Google caught on and this company’s URL was nowhere to be seen on the search engine. It took the company months to clean up their act and get their URL to show up on Google again. Even though Google is clear on which activities will lead to getting penalized, it doesn’t stop companies from using shady tactics to rise above search engine rules.

There are unfortunately no shortcuts when it comes to linkbuilding. It takes time, creativity and effort. Unless you’ve just launched a newfangled product and are getting lots of PR coverage, you will have to build one quality link at a time. Without digging too deep into link building rules, the key thing to remember is quality over quantity. The rule of thumb is to get links from sites that have your potential audience and to avoid spammy techniques.

The good news is there are plenty of “easy” places to get links in Hong Kong. There are a number of directories that welcome submissions and many media sites are more than happy to feature a high quality guest post. If you make it your goal to get a couple of links a month, your ranking should improve in no time.

Here are some simple-to-complex linkbuilding ideas, depending on your level of commitment.

If you have a few hours during your morning coffee:

  • Directories: Add yourself to various startup directories. You should only submit to directories which review all submissions (and reject low quality sites). In other words, directories which maintain editorial control. (source: ahrefs.com)
  • Testimonials: Write a couple of honest and useful testimonials for startups you admire in Hong Kong and see if they will feature them on their site
  • Blog Commenting: Add high quality comments on quality blogs.

If you have an evening or two to dedicate

  • Guest blog on other websites
  • Run a contest
  • Host an event and submit it to various websites to promote
  • Create/submit a press release

If you have a few days to properly strategize

  • Run a crowdfunding campaign
  • Create a scholarship
  • Create a useful resource that people would want to link to and publish it on your website as a part of your content marketing strategy. This could be Hong Kong’s list of best coworking spaces or a guide to Hong Kong’s tech ecosystem.

To send you on your way, below is our suggested list of quality Hong Kong websites where you can put your linkbuilding skills to the test. Getting a link on each of these websites will require a different strategy -- some are straightforward where you’ll be able to add yourself to their directory, but for others you may have to do more legwork, such as write a guest post, offer a product giveaway, co-host an event or submit a press release.

  • entrepreneurs.asia
  • entrepreneurhk.org
  • startmeuphk.com
  • www.startupshk.com
  • www.startbase.hk
  • www.whub.io
  • www.greenqueen.com
  • starthub.hk
  • www.momcooperative.com/hk
  • www.sassyhongkong.com
  • jumpstartmag.com
  • fintech.hk
  • www.rusbc.com.hk/directory
  • www.webwednesday.hk
  • liv-magazine.com
  • www.southside.hk
  • www.ecozine.com
  • meetup.com
  • e27.co
  • www.awa.org.hk
  • www.britcham.com
  • www.playtimes.com.hk
  • www.folklorehk.com/blog
  • www.expatliving.hk
  • www.butterboom.com/hk

Final pro tip: When contacting these media sites, companies and directories, always think about the value that you can add in terms of offering an interesting story angle or high quality guest post.

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