Bill Slawski: Google has maintained vertical specific search for years in Google News, Google Maps, Google Blog Search, and others. I written a number of posts involving patent filings that describe many of the different aspects of how the ranking factors differ for different verticals. Iíve also seen patent filings that point out that Google might treat some types of sites involving different topics or categories differently in Web search results. For instance, travel related sites might be ranked differently than home decor sites or science news sites. [seobythesea.com...]
Bill Slawski's quote was part of the response comments on his article linked to from Webmasterworld
I am not sure if it is intentional or not but Google does seem to handle each vertical differently. Why do I think it might not be intentional? The travel sector can be influenced more by social factors and bloggers than a website providing legal services. When was the last time you saw someone on facebook legitimately like their legal service provider? Bloggers are more likely to link to happy travel sites than a scary legal provider websites. So each vertical has a different playing field.
IMHO the smaller verticals tend to have more flexibility. The larger verticals tend to require more customization that you need to incorporate into your strategy.
Regardless of what vertical your site is in, I would suggest you seek out the influencers that are specific to your industry. Find link partners that will drive real traffic. Find guest writers that will attract their own readership.