Search engine optimization (SEO) is already something all PR pros need to consider bringing to the table on a more regular basis because of its ability to put clients in front of very targeted markets, demographics, and even online communities.
However, SEO pros say working with vertical search engines, such as business.com, teenja.com, kayak.com, and simplyhired.com, can be even more effective.
Michael Marshall, VP of technology and cofounder of Internet marketing company Fortune Interactive, says aside from the ability to target a very specific market that's interested in what your client is offering, vertical search engines are even more targeted and easier to work with.
"Typically, it's easier to get into vertical search engines, and there's not as long of a waiting process before they show up in listings," he says. "And if you're thinking about paid listings, vertical search engines are usually cheaper to get into and come with an audience that's much more fine-tuned, [so] you'll get more of a return for the investment you put in."
Marshall adds that online communities use vertical search engines on a very regular basis. "And if you get visibility there, it will be great for viral marketing," he says.
Greg Jarboe, president and cofounder of SEO-PR, says the horizontal search engines are important because "that's where the big volumes are," but it's the vertical search engines that will produce constant results.
"So even on a bad day, by targeting those highly qualified targets that convert at above-average rates, PR pros will be able to generate good results for their clients," he says.
Andy Barnett, manager of organic search at search engine marketing firm Outrider, says vertical search engines can also keep clients away from the clutter of regular search engines.
"For marketers, vertical search will be a powerful tool in the future simply because the search engines have become riddled with so much spam and clutter," he says. "I think that more and more people will turn to vertical search engines that provide cleaner information that will allow them to save time and increase productivity."
Vertical search engines reach a highly targeted audience looking for information on a specific product or service
Vertical search engines are typically cheaper to get into and clients show up
in their listings quicker
Vertical search engine traffic tends to convert into customers at higher rates