Hong Kong is an attractive location for job hunters to work. In such a small land area comparable to just about six times the area of Washington, DC, it is the top regional center for regional headquarters. Home to 7,000 multinational regional headquarters, regional offices and local offices, Hong Kong is also the number one location for consulate offices in the world with 107, even more than New York City (93).
With such attraction (despite cramped places and pollution problem prompting the 321 campaign) comes opportunity for job placement agencies from domestic helpers to executive positions. On Open Directory, there are 38 listed web sites though some of them aren’t specific to Hong Kong at all. Obviously, this list does not include companies that don’t have online presence or are currently denied entry or part of Open Directory backlog.
We’ll have to pick a few of these sites and compare their SEO efforts, if ever they practice them. They don’t have to be competitors, we’re just out to check how they manage sites for both human and search engine audience. I am not out to build a white paper on this but I will just point some issues that could affect search engine visibility.
Careertimes has built a web site that’s not only dedicated to job hunters but also to those who care about careers or those who are conscious about job market trends. But these pieces of information could probably reach a wider audience if:
1. A proper page title placement is implemented.
2. Meta descriptions are in place.
3. Redirection is improved.
4. Minimize risk of spider traps.
5. Improve its URL structure.
Classified Post is one of the biggest job sites in town but its popularity did not take off far from its competitors despite being managed by South China Morning Post and enjoying tremendous exposure to Saturday Post readers.
1. Using popups on job details.
2. No effort on placement of unique page titles.
3. Less effort in creating distinctive meta descriptions.
4. A little complicated URL structure.
Hudson is a more niche web site that caters to specific set of high-end skills with emphasis on its select target markets. This makes Hudson appear to be competing against Michael Page or Robert Walters instead of Careertimes or JobsDB. Yet, in my opinion, Hudson trails in terms of brand awareness and search readiness compared against those name brands.
The site can improve in terms of the following:
1. Worthy links on articles written on career pages of job network sites.
2. Be more consistent with URL canonicalization.
3. Customized page titles and more targeted content.
4. Less dependence on frames.
JobsDB is the most appealing brand I knew even during its launch year back in the Philippines. It has a great reach among different segments of the market with ads appearing notably on buses plying the most prominent routes, as well as tram body of Hongkong Tramways. Online, it’s among the best performing web sites and does its SEO assignment.
Areas for improvement on an otherwise above average site:
1. Less dependence to to browser-specific scripts.
2. A better look on its page loading time.
3. A thorough review on its internal linking structure.
Monster HK is relatively new to Hong Kong market but has an easy to recognize brand elsewhere, with its extensive network of countries and territories. With that advantage comes the power of zooming up into top search results pages. Just like any other site, Monster Hong Kong can be improved through:
1. Placement of appropriate titles on each page.
2. Getting rid of any signs of session ID use.
3. Comprehensive internal linking to ensure no page is left not crawled.
With Hong Kong’s unemployment rate falling further from 4.4% to 4.3% it means more opportunity for workers to jump ship if the right offer is available. That would translate to more visits to job search engines for further career moves. Job web sites must ensure they are there when at the time they are needed most. Ironically, such occurrence happens when Hong Kong falls into recession, so it’s a double edged sword for job sites to be on top all the time whether time’s thick or thin.
Overall, Hong Kong job sites have been satisfactorily doing their job. The performance of job web sites on search engines does not indicate success or failure of their online business models. Delivering the right quality of candidates to clients is still the most important of all. But before such goal is achieved, there must be a way to connect these sites with Internet users. It’s SEO’s job to act as a bridge without shortchanging those looking for them; what they see is what’s advertised no more no less.
Remember this is a quick review of SEO issues of web sites, not a usability review so suggestions are limited in scope.