Closing out day 1 at SES New York was a panel discussion on vertical search moderated by Incisive Media’s Kevin Ryan and Rebecca Lieb and featuring panelists Bill Tancer GM Global Research at Hitwise, Jason R. Finger CEO Seamless Web, Paul Forster CEO Indeed, Steven Krein CEO Organized Wisdom.com and Joshua Stylman Managing Partner Reprise Media.
While very important and certainly a hot topic, I felt this session was lacking a certain “umph” to get the audience involved and engaged (myself included).
I have to say I’m a bit surprised as I’m usually partial to SES conference “end of day sessions” for their ability to empower industry folks, like myself, and give me a warm fuzzy feeling about being a part of something special. This ‘something special’ feeling is what makes me pick up the phone and try to explain, again, to my relatives what it is that I do for a living.
Unfortunately, there was no warm, fuzzy feeling and nothing to write home about. The focus for this panel wasn’t about that, it was about a slice of the overall search marketing picture: vertical search.
If you were dedicated and stuck around until the very end, the panel summarized the vertical search landscape quite well giving the audience some key items to consider:
- It’s still early. There will only be more vertical search engines coming. Watch, interact and learn.
- Pay attention. Look at website metrics and determine if the vertical search engines are sending qualified traffic. If so, invest more time in creating content to be found by/advertise with them.
- Organize the content on your site to appeal to both search engines and human editors.
In addition, I think it’s important to understand how/when/why individuals use vertical search engines. If they find the vertical search engines by going to Google, then there may be an opportunity to better optimize your own site and cut out the middle click.
If the visitor is looking for a vertical search engine to compare only the most relevant information side by side, then it may be a marketing strategy to provide more competitive data on a company website. i.e. getting multiple insurance quotes on one website
If the visitor is familiar with and visiting the vertical site directly, then definitely start considering how to make sure relevant content from your site is indexed within the vertical search engines.
I’m looking forward to the upcoming keynote presentations for my regular dose of “SES inspiration”.