Search Verticals 101: What They Are and How to Optimize for Them
Search verticals are a kind of middle ground between on-site and off-site Web elements. They’re not located on your website per say, but they also aren’t controlled by outside businesses or websites.
Search verticals are the additional options (often displayed in a vertical sidebar or drop-down list) available on search engines. They’re great for searchers and marketers alike because they offer more specific searching options than a general Web query.
By paying attention to search verticals, you can not only send out some positive ranking signals to Google, but you’ll also stand a chance of ranking well within the verticals themselves. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular search verticals and discuss how to optimize for them:
Images are one of the most used search verticals. As an SEO practitioner, you should be considering how you can optimize your clients’ images so that they rank well in image verticals. Images can spread brand awareness, provide additional click throughs to your main website and provide valuable information to your customer base. Why wouldn’t you want to optimize them?
Key points to hit when optimizing for image verticals include:
- Naming image files with targeted keywords
- Including keywords in the file caption
- Including keywords in the alt tag
- Creating page copy that is specific to the image topic
To get an idea of where you can start optimizing images, enter you client’s company name in the Google or Bing image verticals. Do any of the images that come up have the potential to interest your target audiences? You can optimize these images to start, and add more well-optimized images to the site in the future.
Videos are another highly profitable search vertical. By profitable, I don’t mean that your clients will make money from their videos directly, but what videos can do is generate a ton of interest in your client’s company or products. More likely than not, this will translate into more site traffic, social media interactions, and some great customer engagement.
When optimizing for video search verticals, consider the following:
- Does the video title contain some of your targeted keywords?
- Is the video description informative and does it include keywords?
- Does the video’s alt tag contain keywords?
- Does the video have captions?
This last point, especially, is one that seems to be overlooked a lot. Video captions are incredibly useful to your viewers, yet many people don’t take the time to include them. But guess what? Video captions are indexed by search engines! That means that including captions in your YouTube uploads can actually help you increase your keyword ranking chances. Aside from that, it’s just good customer service. And don’t leave it up to Google’s Automatic Caption feature to do your job for you! Trust me – those captions are rarely correct and more closely resemble a game of Mad Gab than they do the English language. When optimizing for video verticals, you definitely want to take the time to create your own captions.
Blogging has become a huge part of the Internet in recent years. Once viewed mainly as a hobby activity, blogging has gained a lot of respect in the professional world. Companies from all industries and of all sizes offer blogs to their current and potential customers, often in a friendlier and more conversational format than their main websites.
If your client doesn’t have a company blog, you need to change that. Period. If your client has a blog, but it isn’t as blog-vertical friendly as it could be, I know a few ways you can improve your vertical rankings.
Steps to help your client rank better in blog verticals:
- Include keywords in the blog title
- Optimize blog posts for keywords
- Write your post titles in full sentences and in complete thoughts
- Include keywords in all multimedia facets of your blog (i.e. images and videos)
- Interact with other industry specific blogs to help boost interest in your own
Running a blog can sometimes feel like managing an entirely independent website. However, if you don’t have the time to devote to all the nitty gritty details, optimizing your client’s blog for the factors listed above should suffice to help it get better rankings in blogging verticals.
How do you optimize for search verticals? Tell me in the comments section below!