Google may be the giant in the search industry, but they may have to much data to get you want you want to find. A previous session talked about semantic search and how it’s being worked on, but if you can’t wait, vertical search is something you can use today.
Philip James from Snooth was the first presenter. He said that back when the web was smaller, regular search engines worked better as they had fewer pages to work with. Now, with trillions of pages, it’s getting harder and harder to get good results. This is where vertical search comes into play. They have a smaller index and can provide a higher quality result. As an example, if you are on a food vertical search site and search for ‘spicey’ it already knows it has to do with cooking.
Philip noted that if you are thinking of creating your own vertical search, you need to look at the market size and competition to ensure it can support your revenue model. There is room for only 1-3 players in each vertical and you need to research before jumping in.
Paul Forster from Indeed talked a bit more about marketing within vertical search engines. He said that vertical engines have specialized content, are comprehensive and structured. As a marketer, this means that the audience focus and intent is much clearer than in Google or other engines.
Paul shared that if you want exposure in vertical engines you can submit structured feeds to get your listings in the organic results. You can also purchase ads much like Google AdWords. Depending on the site, you may also be able to sponsor areas of the site or get ads in emails.
Jonathan Dingman of Digitally Imported reminded us that vertical search engines are still search engines. Your content is important. Standing out and being unique is huge and you need to keep your SEO in mind. Just because they are smaller, and more targeted, that doesn’t mean you can cut corners on your site. He also noted that for vertical site owners, the presentation of the search results is huge. It’s all about the user experience.
Vertical search engines are often under rated in my mind. I think that there is a lot of value in specialized engines as they already know a lot about what you are looking for even before your first search.
What’s your favorite vertical search engine?