What is Vertical Search?
A vertical search refers to a topical search performed on a specific part of the Internet instead of the entire world wide web.
The primary objective of the search engine is to search specific content, including media type and delivering results pertaining to media type. It differs from horizontal search, which is more generic and focuses on a vast range of media subjects and media topics.
Examples of vertical search engines include:
- Kayak and Skyscanner for travel-related search
- HomeAway and Airbnb for vacation rental searches
- Healthline and WebMD for medical-related search
- Glassdoor and Indeed for employment searches
A vertical search engine relies on a focused crawler for indexing relevant web pages to a pre-defined subject or set of topics. The speed and efficiency of the search process just enhances the user experience. The other advantages of vertical search are as follows:
- Improved information due to narrowed scope
- More targeted search results to help users attain vertical expertise
- Faster and more efficient
- Carefully designed to ease out a specific workflow or task
Since vertical search focuses on a specific content type or industry, it is also known as “Specialty” or “Topical” search.
Examples of vertical searches incorporated into Google
Though Google is a search engine, it features many vertical search tools including
- Google Images
- Google Maps
- Google News
- Google Videos
- Google Books
- Google Flights
- Google Finance
The tools filter search differently based on user requirements and are restricted to a specific category.
Importance of Vertical Search
The standard horizontal search engines display board results. Seeing all content types, like images, videos, news, and e-commerce results together, can be overwhelming for people who want insightful information on niche topics.
Vertical search eliminates this concern by helping users who are searching for narrowed-down relevant results only. This feature improves the accessibility to relevant information and saves users’ time browsing through irrelevant content types or content on irrelevant topics.
Businesses, too, have benefited from vertical search. These search engines have increased the significance of concepts like image SEO and video SEO. Vertical SEO practices focused on increasing rankings on these specific content search engines are gaining popularity. They enable a business to widen its net and reach varied user bases. It serves as a less competitive path to reach out to a highly targeted audience that is most likely at the ready-to-convert stage of the funnel.
Many internet users want to perform a topical search. They want more filtered and specific search results. Google’s universal search can’t narrow down search results with such precision. Thus, vertical search becomes immensely important to fulfill user demands.
A short description of Google’s main verticals
Google’s main search vertical is web search. It includes the database of websites. The process of a typical web search starts with a user entering a search term. The search engine will crawl the entire database, find and display web pages that are relevant and useful for the user.
These webpage results are in hierarchical order based on algorithmic factors like authority, relevance, and PageRank. Under the web vertical, there are features beyond web pages, such as rich snippets, cards, carousels, and more. These offer instant answers drawn from the Knowledge Graph and structured data.
The second most popular Google vertical is Image Search. The New Image Search was introduced by the search engine on January 1, 2012. The vertical can find images based on search terms and also search for images similar to other images. A searcher can upload an image and ask Google to search for similar or identical images with incredible accuracy..
Image Search allows users to filter searches based on type, color, size, age, and usage rights. Sorting image results by usage rights helps users avoid copyright infringement issues.
Every internet user across the world must have used Google Maps. Google Maps allows users to find an address anywhere in the world. It provides a road map view and a satellite photographic view. The recently introduced ‘street view’ offers a 3-dimensional, navigable photograph of the street.
Users can use Google Maps to get directions from one location to another. The search vertical also allows you to search for restaurants, petrol pumps, local businesses, banks, and other utilities nearby or on your route and is highly beneficial for performing a local search.
Another widely used Google vertical is News Search. Yahoo and Bing are also some of the largest news networks in the world. In terms of visitor, Yahoo tops the list, followed by Google and Bing. The news vertical is like a real-time RSS feed, displaying the most recent and relevant world news. It offers comprehensive, up-to-date news coverage curated from sources across the globe.
Newspapers and magazines, whether regional or national, should optimize for Google and Yahoo News. It helps to reach out to a larger and more relevant target audience in real-time.
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