Are SEOs That Specialize in Industry Verticals Better?

Mar 16, 2009 • 8:21 am | comments (6) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

Two recent articles sparked some discussion around the question if SEOs that specialize in an industry or two are more qualified then SEOs that do not specialize. One article was from Search Engine Land and the other from Top Rank Blog.

Lee Odden said:

Experience in a particular industry may be important on one level, but a company that specializes in a particular vertical warrants questions about conflict of interest. How can a company specialize in “real estate” for example, without working for competing firms? The biggest advantages that come industry specific experience is the ability to quickly ramp up on client key messaging and audience needs as well as connections made online for content promotion, online public relations and link building.

To me, there is nothing better then having an SEO that is 100% devoted to your site and has been an SEO in your industry for a couple years. These SEOs have the experience of seeing, day in and day out, what has been working on your site and your competitors. But if you can't afford to hire a full time SEO, then hiring a company is a good alternative. Should that company have direct experience in the industry that you are in? You can see the pros and cons to that. Direct experience means they have other clients that are your competitors but yet they know what it takes to rank you well.

So let me ask you, should SEOs specialize in a specific industry or not? This really applies to all work categories, from lawyers to web developers to doctors and caterers, but still, let's poll you guys:

Forum discussion at Sphinn.

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03/16/2009 12:52 pm

The amount I've learnt working in one vertical for 8yrs makes a massive difference. I spend 80% of my time working within it and the amount of connections you gain in 8yrs is not to be taken lightly. Imho its a bit like asking someone from India to promote a local cleaning service in wales. Local and vertical knowledge is key.

Alex Juel

03/16/2009 01:32 pm

I worked in one industry for about 2 1/2 years and then moved on. I felt that I had a ton of experience, but once I got out there are worked in many different niches, I realized that there was a lot left to learn. I've probably learned more in the last year working in different niches, than the 2 and half years working in one niche.

Carrie Hill

03/16/2009 01:41 pm

I started in SEO in the travel niche - and that's had benefits and detriments. I feel like I'm missing some experience in things like ecommerce and non-geo-targeting because our clients are all in a particular area. Ive branched out on my own to be able to look at different industries, I have the fundamentals, and then some - I just need some experience "outside of the box"


03/16/2009 03:59 pm

I see the advantages of having years of experience to a dedicated field. There are times where I wish I had that knowledge in my back pocket. That being said, I can't give an accurate representation of which I would rather prefer, but I do appreciate my knowledge in a lot of different areas: law, real estate, self promotion, cleaning services, e-commerce of various things, etc. I feel that my knowledge of different areas can be an asset when I work for an agency. I don't feel that I'm at the point in my career where I can be selective of just one area.

Paul Pedersen

03/16/2009 04:37 pm

They aren't necessarily "better" ...but most likely better at that particular vertical. Especially when you get into uncommon SEO with unique quirks, like news.


03/18/2009 07:36 am

I feel like I'm missing some experience in things like ecommerce and non-geo-targeting because our clients are all in a particular area.

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