Practical Ecommerce

Vertical Search Could Mean Better ROI

Raise your hand if you’ve implemented or managed a Google AdWords campaign for your online business. Instantly, thousands of hands just touched the sky.

According to JupiterResearch, advertising trends online have mirrored those in traditional television and print media. What many online businesses have discovered is that while Google’s search capabilities are unmatched, its indexing capacity is becoming tight.

Querying a consumer-oriented term can produce a few websites associated with businesses, many of which are Google customers participating in its AdWords program. However, that same search is likely to produce a multitude of personal websites, blogs, news articles and results that are too broad for the criteria.

That’s where vertical search comes into play. Think of the burgeoning vertical-search industry as filling the same traditional-advertising niche as the trade magazine, a perfect place for advertisers in need of highly targeted results to promote their wares.

Nothing but jobs

For example, Indeed.com is a search engine used to find results associated with jobs. It’s nothing but jobs. It makes sense that some companies, whose businesses depend on some aspect of job creation, fulfillment or servicing might advertise on this search engine. It likely costs a bit more than advertising on Google, but its results are more narrowly focused. But, is moving in the direction of a vertical- search campaign always the way to go for online businesses looking to improve their advertising ROI?

Tim Kauffold is the director of business development for Michigan-based OneUpWeb. The company is comprised of online marketing professionals managing everything from developing paidsearch campaigns to mentoring businesses in all facets of online marketing.

He says vertical search isn’t for every company, but for those who execute a vertical- search campaign properly, it can be extremely profitable.

“But don’t overpay for traffic you could get at Google,” Kauffold said.

Targeted results

The premise behind the viability of the vertical search engine is that it can provide your business with more narrowly targeted results, leading to better leads and sales, or whatever your conversion metric might be.

However, you’ll never know whether a vertical- search campaign is right for your business until you track the effectiveness of any campaign already running for your business.

“They’ve just got to test, and they have to track,” Kauffold said.

Once a business has opened itself to the potential of a vertical-search campaign, determining which engine to go with requires “due diligence,” Kauffold said.

“It’s not uncommon for clicks to be a little more expensive (in the vertical-search market),” he said. Results from a vertical search engine are more targeted, more valuable and more likely to produce a higher rate of success. Regardless of the marketplace trends, what’s important is for the business owner to implement conversion tracking as part of all advertising campaigns and to adjust spending amounts based on whatever drives sales.

“I won’t say 100 percent that going with a vertical is the proper choice,” Kauffold said. “With Google, you can get very focused.”

With Google, businesses reach a much bigger audience, too. That’s why many experts recommend supplementing your Google campaigns with smaller verticalsearch initiatives. Ironically, using Google to search for vertical engines in your field of interest is a great way to find the one that’s right for you.

Kauffold said two of the better vertical engines he’s worked with include Business.com and Verticalsearch.com. Other popular vertical search engines include Answers.com and Oodle.com, not to mention any number of industry-specific websites that offer advertising opportunities.

Practical Ecommerce

Practical Ecommerce

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. Legacy User May 22, 2007 Reply

    Thanks for the overview and info! Might work well for us (STOPSignsAndMore.com) with a product (STOP signs, no parking signs, handicap/ADA signs, etc.) that business owners and managers would need.

    — *david boyne*

  2. Legacy User March 27, 2008 Reply

    Technology supplier search engine Conjungo has been launched to help ease search times for companies looking for suppliers of technologies. Conjungo is the only place online where technology vendors can list their entire channel in an easily searchable format. This helps buyers find local or specialist resellers. http://www.conjungo.com

    — *mjdeen*