Home  › Marketing › Local

Where Local and Vertical Search Intersect

  |  March 2, 2006   |  Comments

Hint: It's right around the corner.

Today, local and vertical search are segmented utilities, grown independently of one another. Local search properties enable users to find businesses within a specific geographic area. Vertical search properties allow users to compare relevant business information within a specific industry segment.

Currently, local and vertical search lack a common structure and platform to bind them together in any meaningful manner. But soon, they will unite, sharing local business information as a common foundation. They'll be fueled by the aggregation of rich, structured, local business content.

Local search utilities are only as good as the data fueling them. Though maps, user reviews, and ratings are important local buying considerations, the aggregation of unique, vertical-based business content will enable meaningful compare, contrast, and filter functionalities. It'll empower users to make more effective local buying decisions and provide a better user experience.

Unstructured local queries will feed from rich business content stored in databases. Local prospects will be able to drill down into business information and use local search for research-based activity in addition to business lookup.

To accomplish this, SME (define) aggregators will embark on one of the largest, most comprehensive initiatives to collect and store richer, vertical-specific local business content. They'll collect brands, products, services, hours of operation, payment types, awards, certifications, and dozens of meaningful data points that are unique to individual verticals.

These content acquisition responsibilities were once confined to a handful of data providers. The providers, however, have been slow to react to a changing search landscape. They're also distant, relative to the close relationships many SME aggregators have with their advertisers.

As this process unfolds, others will still concentrate on little, shaded Google boxes; unstructured Web site content; ad copy; and clicks. Eventually, they'll realize these efforts might have been better spent helping local businesses put their structured content online.

SME aggregators simply need to look inward. In doing so, they'll find they're in the best position collect and store rich business content. They'll also quickly realize local- and vertical-based business data are easily leveraged in multiple data formats and through multiple distribution outlets. They're in a privileged position to steward business information online.

As usual, Yahoo and Google aren't waiting. They're already envisioning the convergence of local- and vertical-based data. They're asking businesses to directly contribute information, they're buying data from vertical providers, and they're crawling and displaying data from authorities on the Web.

Yahoo and Google will remain point products, however. Objective business information aggregation, storage, and distribution are best facilitated by those already in a trusted position with SMEs.

It's here, at the convergence of local and vertical search, where many providers will find themselves at a crossroads. They'll have to decide whether they'll rely on others to collect business data or invest in collecting the data themselves. Those who chose to invest will benefit through a stronger, more binding relationship with their advertisers and leverage with those who distribute their advertisers' content.

Regardless of what providers decide, the intersection of local and vertical is clearly right around the corner.

Phil is off this week. Today's column ran earlier on ClickZ.

Want more search information? ClickZ SEM Archives contain all our search columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live San Francisco This Year's Premier Digital Marketing Event is #CZLSF
ClickZ Live San Francisco (Aug 11-14) brings together the industry's leading practitioners and marketing strategists to deliver 4 days of educational sessions and training workshops. From Data-Driven Marketing to Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email, this year's comprehensive agenda will help you maximize your marketing efforts and ROI. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Justin Sanger Justin Sanger is founder and president of LocalLaunch!, a Chicago-based marketing firm recognized as a premier local Internet marketing company for small- and medium-sized businesses. Justin launched that business in 2003, six years after founding Internet marketing strategy firm Pulsity. An expert in local Internet marketing, Justin has over a decade of Internet marketing leadership experience. He's frequently a featured speaker on the topic of local search at industry events, including Search Engine Strategies. He's written on Internet marketing for multiple media and news outlets, including Investor's Business Daily. Justin was an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award nominee.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

BigDoor: The Marketers Guide to Customer Loyalty

The Marketer's Guide to Customer Loyalty
Customer loyalty is imperative to success, but fostering and maintaining loyalty takes a lot of work. This guide is here to help marketers build, execute, and maintain a successful loyalty initiative.

Marin Software: The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising

The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.

WEBINARS

Jobs

    • Customer Service Representative
      Customer Service Representative (Common Sense Publishing) - Delray BeachDo you thrive on chaos? Love to multi-task? Enjoy a fast paced work environment...
    • Business Intelligence and Reporting Analyst
      Business Intelligence and Reporting Analyst (Stansberry and Associates) - BaltimoreStansberry and Associates is seeking a driven individual to fill...
    • Internet Marketing Campaign Manager
      Internet Marketing Campaign Manager (Straight North, LLC) - Fort MillWe are looking for a talented Internet Marketing Campaign Manager to join the...