Quick, open a webpage and in the URL field, type SEO, and click Enter. Magically, you get a long list of Google search engine results about SEO. Now, take a look at the headings below the search box: All, News, Images, Videos, Maps, More: Shopping, Books, Flights, Finance, and Personal. Do us a favor and click More -> Books – now you’ve got a narrowed down list of search engine results about SEO books.
Congratulations – you’ve just completed a vertical search. See what you did here – you started with a broad topic (horizontal) and narrowed it down to a specific area or niche (vertical).
Now, don’t worry if this is the first time you’ve heard about vertical search and vertical search optimization. You’re not alone. Most Internet users, website owners, and companies don’t know anything about vertical search. This isn’t your fault. It all comes down to how we learned how to search for information on the Internet.
We learned how to find what we wanted using Google. Type a keyword or phrase, press Enter, and find the search result that makes the most sense. Most of the time, you likely didn’t even notice the headings below the search field.
The thing is that vertical search and optimizing for vertical search is one of the best ways for you to connect with your key demographic. Think of the vertical search you did earlier, you instantly connected with the authors and publishers of SEO books – this is not easy to do with a general or horizonal search.
We want you to get the most out of the Internet. You know about mobile-first indexing, the power of your blog and good content, and ranking signals – so now let’s get comfy with vertical search optimization.
What is Vertical Search and Vertical SEO?
Vertical search is all about thinking of narrow and niche-based information. Think of your primary industry and then focus on your niche within this industry. This is how narrow you can go with vertical search.
Thanks to the power of the Internet and people always wanting more and something better, there is a deep range of vertical search engines out there. Your customers are likely using these vertical search engines to find you and your competitors.
Hence, the importance of vertical SEO. Now, vertical SEO is a little bit more complicated than horizontal SEO (the way you’re doing SEO right now) – but don’t worry. This is why we’re here. Like always, we’re here to help you with optimizing for vertical search.
Remember, vertical search works because it focuses on narrowing down on a broad topic to find the verticals within it. This allows searchers to cut through extraneous information and find the websites, services, products, and companies that can really help them.
This means that vertical SEO has to be tailored to the vertical search engines you’re targeting. Each of the vertical search engines in your niche has specific guidelines on how to list your website, product, or service. The way vertical SEO works is a scratch-my-back and I’ll-scratch-your-back philosophy:
- You get listed. The vertical search engine helps you by including your website, company, product, service in its database.
- You provide information. The vertical search engine requires you to follow its content submission and tagging guidelines.
- Domain authority. The vertical search engine benefits from your relevant quality information. You benefit from being listed in the search engine specific to your niche. Both of you establish domain authority.
- Traffic increases. You get found more often thanks to the vertical search engine. The vertical search engine generates more traffic thanks to your users.
Now, you likely want to know which vertical search engines you should care about… well, to be blunt – this all depends on your niche and your location. Yes, there are niche-specific vertical search engines and region-specific vertical search engines.
You need to find the ones that make the most sense for you and your website. This includes understanding the listing requirements of these vertical search engines. Some vertical search engines might be so niche that they don’t get a lot of traffic – you need to consider which vertical search engines can help you the most.
Some of the most popular and widely known vertical search engines include:
- Your own website. Yes, you should have an integrated search function on your website. What better vertical search engine for your users than your own website? Yes, we can help you get this configured properly.
- Amazon. The world shops on Amazon so if you sell products on this site, you need to make sure you’re complying with Amazon’s vertical SEO guidelines.
- Etsy. This is a popular craft, designer, unique, and handmade marketplace. Etsy is the go-to for people looking for unique and customized products.
- Facebook Local. Do you run a local business that depends on local traffic for business? Make sure you’re listed in your Facebook Local mobile app vertical search engine.
- Indeed. This is one of the most popular job search sites used by all types of companies and job-seekers. If you’re looking for staff, make sure your company information is listed and has up-to-date available job opening information.
- Yelp. This go-to website and mobile app is used worldwide by people looking for business and restaurant recommendations.
While we can’t list every single vertical search engine here, we do want you to know that there is a vertical search engine for your industry and niche. Hint: to find the search engines in your vertical, type the following in the Google search field: your niche industry search engine and press Enter – you’ll see a long list of search engine results highlighting the vertical search engines in your niche industry.
How to Optimize for Vertical Search
As we mentioned above, each vertical search engine has its own set of guidelines and recommendations for being listed and ranked. You need to read the guidelines for these search engines and then ask us for help. We can help you narrow down and identify what the search engine really wants from you. (In other words, this can be confusing and time-consuming.)
As an example of what is required to optimize for vertical search, here is a brief snapshot of how you can optimize for Amazon:
- Your conversion rate. The more you sell – the higher your conversion rate. Amazon wants to list the best-selling products first. Things like free shipping, best price, good reviews, etc. can impact your conversion rate.
- Verified reviews. Reviews count. You read them and so do your customers. The more verified reviews – the better.
- Amazon Prime. This helps target your product directly to Amazon Prime subscribers. People want their purchases instantly so if you can fulfill this need, the higher you’ll rank.
- The right category. Make sure you know the categories on Amazon and that your product is listed in the right category or categories. Yes, we know – there are a lot of categories on Amazon.
- Keywords matter. Make sure you know the keywords and search terms your customers are using on Amazon. Make sure your product description uses these keywords (but don’t keyword jam).
Ultimately, you need to think like your customers. You need to know what they’re searching for, where they’re searching for this information, and what they do with this information. You need to know the questions your customers are asking, the problems they need solved, and who they’re relying on to do this for them. Hint: you can learn more about VSO or Vertical Search Optimization from our trusted partners at BrightEdge.
We know this feels like an information-overload. We know that you’re busy running your business and focusing on what you do best. So, let us help you. We can use our SEO smarts and digital marketing expertise to get vertical search optimization working for you.