The world of SEO has changed significantly over the past few years. With an influx of new devices, services, and tools Google is losing its stranglehold on the search world one query at a time. Don’t get me wrong, Google still rules the SEO world today, but depending on what type of product or service you’re offering there are a number of other great organic ranking opportunities from Amazon Alexa to Yelp that could be a better use of your time and marketing budget. Enter vertical search engine optimization…
What is vertical SEO?
Vertical SEO focuses on developing high ranking positions on vertical search engines. Vertical search engines are specialty search engines that focus on specific niches, industries, or vertical markets and there are thousands of them out there. Some well-known examples of vertical search engines include:
- Amazon – Products
- Etsy – Crafts / Products
- Facebook Local – Businesses
- Houzz – Contractors
- Indeed – Jobs
- Pinterest – Everything
- Yelp – Businesses / Restaurants
- YouTube – Video
- Zillow – Real Estate
How does Vertical SEO work?
Vertical SEO focuses on developing high ranking positions on vertical search engines. These specialty search engines are designed for very specific purposes. Ranking in these vertical search engines nearly always boils down to helping the website you’re working to rank on accomplish its goals. The steps and tactics vary significantly from site to site but at the end of the day, these specialty search engines are designed to show the websites that help them make the most revenue and provide their customers with the best experience.
Depending on your product or service it could be more advantageous to rank well in vertical search than in general search. For example, if you’re selling products on Amazon, it is the most popular destination for someone to start a product search and they can buy directly from there. Or if you’re a restaurant it might make more sense to put time and money into Yelp or Facebook Local if those services are widely used in your region.
There may be less search volume on some of these secondary vertical search engines, but it could be more advantageous for your business as people using these services are highly likely to be educated consumers at the end of the purchasing funnel.
How do I optimize for vertical search?
Optimizing for vertical search engines is a different process from traditional general search. In some cases, the website plays a role but in many cases, it is more about your engagement on the platform. For example, when trying to rank your product on Amazon some important elements include:
- Velocity – The speed at which people order from you.
- Reviews – Getting more positive reviews, particularly, verified reviews.
- CTR – The rate at which people click your listing when it shows in search results.
- Content – The keyword rich content associated with your product.
- Category – Make sure you’re listed in the most relevant categories.
Many of these can be difficult to manipulate. It takes time to write the right keyword rich description for each product, it takes thought to put together product headlines that are relevant and result in click-throughs, and it takes the right mixture of reviews and good service to impact velocity. All of these elements work in concert to help Amazon understand which products it should show the most often, and of course, it is in Amazon’s best interest to show the products consumers will buy.
While these are some of the many elements important to Amazon, each vertical search engine is going to be a little different. We have run tests on many vertical search engines and one thing they all have in common is that what works well in search is what works well for the users.
What should I do now?
Look for the specific vertical search engines for your industry. You probably already know of a few. If you want to know some of the more popular you can often find them through a Google search in your area for the products or services you offer. Identify the ones that are ranking the best and make sure your business is listed.
If you need help or assistance there are qualified companies like Zipline that can assist. For most major vertical search engines you will also find a great deal of documentation and advice on simple things you can do to improve your ranking ability on each platform.