The proportion of horizontal desktop computer searches is dropping in favour of mobile searches, app searches and vertical searches.
What is vertical search?
Vertical search is a term used to describe a search engine, often known as a speciality or topic search engine, which focuses specifically on one segment of online content.
When discussing vertical search, the conversation is often on the process of indexing and exposing content from a singular website, category or industry, instead of a broad search of website links like a horizontal search process would do.
Vertical searches will most commonly include vertical sites such as travel, restaurants, fashion and entertainment. You can also experience vertical search when browsing on a mobile app or shopping website if it focuses on specific products and prices.
How can vertical search benefit me?
As a user, vertical searches are beneficial when searching for something that’s niche, as it slims down the results given in comparison to a horizontal search, as it focuses on one area. This leads to faster and more accurate results.
Also, for marketers, vertical search has a clear advantage when trying to sell one specific product or service, as it is easier to meet audience requirements when their search intent is more obvious. This is because you are able to put their focus into a platform you know will deliver your desired results.
What are Google’s main vertical searches available?
1. Web Search
2. Image Search
3. Map Search
4. News Search
Web vertical search offers a variety of features, including the Knowledge Graph and structured data to provide the user with relevant results via rich snippets, cards carousels and other methods.
Image vertical search has been labelled as Google’s second main source of vertical searches, which some say is down to the release of the new image search. This evolved from matching search terms to images to now being able to search for images by inputting another image. This allowed for greater accuracy as Google was able to look for either the identical image or for similar matches.
If you didn’t know already, Google Map is the world’s most used map search engine. When the search engine began to map vertical searches, users were granted the ability to type in an address and find it, regardless of the location. By being able to retrieve this location, users were allowed to find out additional information and other factors such as “roadmap view” or “street view”, which is a 3D photograph of the location.
Numerous search engines, including Google’s vertical news search, are considered the biggest news databases. The process of how these search engines are able to collate all of this data is by acting as a real-time RSS feed by promoting the most recent and relevant news according to the user’s search query. Therefore, if you are dealing with a client which is a newspaper or magazine, it is vital you use Yahoo or Google to optimise their performance.
Methods of Vertical Search Optimisation
The best practices of ensuring your vertical search optimisation campaigns achieve optimal results are as follows:
You need to do your research on your audience’s behaviour across a variety of search engines. It is important to focus on problematic areas where users may have issues accessing your content.
Create a coherent brand presence across all social media platforms.
Structured data and “Open Graph” tags are crucial in helping Google and other search engines locate and understand what your content is.
Ultimately, you want to achieve a seamless user experience throughout their customer journey to benefit performance in any search engine, so don’t forget the basics! This can range from page load speed to your site’s internal linking.
Adapt web content
When assessing your website’s content, ensure you adapt it for each search engine – although your audience may be made up of similar characteristics, they will differ in their expectations.
From a technical SEO perspective, ensure you’ve used the specific integrations necessary for vertical search engines to display your content.
As search behaviours are forever changing, and search engines are now able to understand a website’s content and context, as marketers we can’t just simply publish content anymore and allow search engines to do the rest. We need to ensure we’re targeting each type of vertical which is applicable to our client//business to ensure our content is meeting the correct audience segment.
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