Vertical search – what does it mean?
Vertical search is pretty much similar to universal search, except that vertical search engine focuses on a specific category, media type or genre of content, according to Wikipedia. Vertical Search hacks will be showned further down.
There is however, a combination of vertical search engines and big data platforms or both (all-in-one) covering a specific range of niche industries.
These include niche industry sites such as traveling, comparison, reviews, etc. In other words, vertical content search focusses on unique, specific categories and it may touch any of these: niche site topic or any content marketing genre.
But also includes online searches related to different vertical industry sectors – we’ll get there in a moment.
I hope this helps you understand vertical and other type of search.
Content, my research and search engines
We often read that great content is vital to support our SEO strategy and this is now more true than ever before. If you get your content marketing right you are on the high-way to give your business a solid chance to appear on multiple horizontal and vertical searches.
But let’s first see some importants factors to help you do that.
SEO/Content factors to get you there:
Cq: Content quality
Cr: Content research/Keyword research
Cf: Content freshness
Cv: Vertical search
Ca: Direct answers
As we all know Google deliver page results based upon specific algorithms behavior. They also continue to test new terminologies, queries in order to deliver and class them properly.
Well, one of the reasons is, their algorithms (bots) are constanly collecting and learning how users search, interact, click-behave, thus analysing what types/topics of content work best in different contexts to give people more precise and/or relevant search results based upon terms they use or prefer.
Let’s have a quick look at some types of queries that people (myself included) will use to search for specific and important industries terms when performing a search before buying a product/service or for any other related travel search.
I rarely use Google to look for travel destinations – I’d rather research travel review sites such as Tripadvisor or airline sites. Because I get to see quick results through vertical listings/sites. I start by reading their reviews, comments, check photos, videos etc. This works for me and gives me direct and better personal insight when it comes to research a particular destination.
For the purpose of this post, I searched (Google) & DuckDuckGo for:
What is the cheapest city to travel to in Europe?
From the top three results:
I spotted “Cheapest cities in Europe in 2018” from Price of Travel, (third position). I picked these guys because it offers informative and relevant keywords. The website is managed by founder Roger Wade – by the way, congrats to Roger as he’s competing with the big boys.
But as I am curious, I went and tried to find a pattern here.
So, I then typed “Best traveling prices in Europe’s most popular cities” and Price of Travel (POT) show up again, and again… above Skyscanner and Tripadvisor – in top three with two results.
The 13 best-value cities in Europe for budget travelers in 2017
By the way, Price of Travel is a database (niche travel website) of travel costs in every major destination around the world. You should try it.
Okay, we know that search engines such as Google will consider (in a few seconds) several hundred factors before showing you the most relevant ones (depending if you are searching from a desktop or mobile) and we noticed (I hope) PoT come out in first and third position again, because they have simply have a great navigational structure, title relevancy, tag description, accessibility, images etc.
For the page title “Cheapest cities in Europe in 2018” we can read its meta-description and a much closer term relevancy with my initial query:
– ” prices for tourists in Europe’s most popular cities”
– ” designed to help you sort out the cheapest European cities”
– ” budget for when you visit Europe”.
That’s a winner for me, it has told me in two sentences what the post is all about. Very helpful and relevant! What else.
I am hoping you now understand how important it is to get Cq, Cr, and Cf right.
Vertical search hacks, Business directories and other
Did you know that Google has its own vertical search features? Yes, these include: local search, Google maps, video, and images.
Although your initial search may originate in the Google search field, it may happen that you and I click on some vertical searches results links or – “specific searches” – shifting to vertical and topical sites. It is important that people can find you when searching for your company through Google or a business directory. Make sure your business is listed in the following local directories.
Note: this specific searches are also becoming more popular with the rise of smartphones.
Many search engines have realised the gain in popularity and sought to increase their advertising features by providing local directory information. Google come out with “Google My Business” and Bing Places for Business. They have added powerful A.I technology behind (to local directory ) to provide clever maps with directory listings, local citations, local reviews and ratings, images, 3D etc – all tied up together with keyword relevancy and geo-targeting.
Here below you’ll find 20 ish directories you should use starting with:
Google My Business – In my view this is (surely) the easiest SEO hack on this list but also the most important one.
Just follow the steps below to make sure your listing will be ready and optimised:
- Ensure you’ve claimed your business listing
- Verify your account (email)
- Update your business profile with as much detail as possible – For example: enter and display correct business hours.
- Populate your listing with high-quality images only – Google loves and prioritises images of your indoor office, team, etc
- Enter your main url website [www.domain.com] – Good tip idea: add utm tag to track clicks
- Start collecting customer reviews – This part really helps with local SEO.
Bing Places for Business – Repeat the same on Bing platform.
You can do the same on Yellow Pages platform.
I have listed some of the best directories sites that you still can go and list your business.
You should also add/list your business details on sites below:
www.opendi.us or add any other country extension in the World
Yelp is a typical vertical search engine that crowd-sources reviews on local businesses such as: hotels, restaurants, bars, and more.
When linking to these sites you are creating backlinks (majority to your site – these act as a content mention/referal to your site/blog. Many will help you get found in many search results. Thus, this still is a good PR strategy for your business as these directories are often tapped by Google (and others) due to their relevancy and trust, and high-page rank (PR) . A very positive boost to your off-page SEO.
Niche site or blog is a platform that informs and serves a smaller niche of people as a small segment of a larger industry. For example, travel is a huge industry and its perfect to start a niche site – this might be a blog that offers unique insights, reviews or city destinations data prices [PoT] as mentioned above.
Vertical search and its benefits
When using multiple vertical search/platform sites you will be offered the chance to show your business and benefit from these potential extra traffic. Here are some of the benefits you can get:
- greater precision due to specific scope
- leverage domain knowledge to include taxonomies (SEO)
- support and increase speed/specific unique user tasks.
Focus and grab these big opportunities that are hidden within the local search, as these are hundred times more powerful than any other form of vertical search. Local listings submissions for example are of the essence and you’ll need to the make sure its most important elements (business name, address, phone number, website url, and categories, etc) are consistently typed.
In my opinion, we’ll see new types/ variations of vertical search engines emerge (A.I), offering online users a much reliable source of information/ data with one clear goal – improve their experience, decision-making and shorten online search.
Following from the above steps – the idea is to make you aware of its full business traffic potential. Before creating and publishing well crafted content you must first research and plan your topics well ahead. This is also called “deep work” and you’ll need to include:
- knowing your audience (whom),
- the reason you’re talking to them (why) and/or purpose,
- its relevancy (how to)
- and the channels (where) you’ll promote them for the pre-analysed users so they can find and read it.
A long-term strategy is needed on building unique brand values and also requires multiple touch points (Google maps, videos, directories etc). To drive traffic, engage and convert users into sales, one needs to understand the mindset and actions of searchers in order to structure a website and blog accordingly.
So, to do that start answering one of the most important and primary questions which is:
“Why and How do people search?” (always think mobile vs desktop).
You then need to experiment (via a persona or actual customer) to understand from the people’s mindset and/or point of view on what are they typing. Basicly, you’ll need to create a buyer behavior model and/or a customer journey mapping.
– Micro term (random) fluctuations within pre-defined geo-locations and magnitude.
– Automatic detection & adjustment, based on language and change in external data and behavior patterns.
In today’s online search people (myself included) ask more precise questions and/or explore long variations in their search. Some are ready and will type directly transactional searches to compare prices or buy, others will browse just for informational purpose to collect insight or explore the topic and options available to them.
Whatever it is Google, Bing or DuckDuckgo search, each will provide you with more or less relevant results on the first page that are selected and based upon best key-phrases written in the title, meta descriptions and onpage body text.
Remember, you only get out what you put in! So, now your turn – are you in or out?
If you like or found this post relevant, please share it around you. Feel free to add your own search experience or make a comment below. Thanks 🙂