Search engines, especially vertical search engines, link consumers and businesses like no other medium. Either a user performs voice to text on a smart device or types in the keyword manually, the keywords or the search queries play a deciding role in surfacing a business from among the hefty competition out there.
On the other hand, for businesses, to emerge a winner on the search engine is an uphill struggle. On a search engine like Google, where the results are generic, a user may receive all types of web results, the probability that a business is likely to fall in the eye of its prospective customer is less.
Vertical search engines offer greater scope for businesses to reach their targeted customers. They offer pinpointed, narrowed-down and topical results that add value to a user. They can be game-changers for both consumers and businesses who want more targeted results in the B2B domain.
What is a vertical search engine?
In business terminology, vertical implies a specialization, a niche, or a dedicated area in which a business holds its grip. Thus, a vertical search engine is a search engine designed to cater to the search results related to only a given niche of content. They are also termed as Topical Search Engines or Specialty Search Engines.
For instance, LinkedIn is a kind of vertical search engine where one can find professionals and businesses across the globe.
Similarly, Pinterest is another vertical search engine for images. It differs from Google Images in many ways, in terms of its search results, algorithm and categories, and functionality.
Examples of vertical search engines
We often use many search engines in our daily life, not knowing that they are vertical in nature!
GigMinds: A free search engine that helps companies job seekers and recruiters. On GigMinds, candidates can upload resumes and explore thousands of jobs in their specified domain. Similarly, companies can post a job and explore the cleanly segmented professional database without any need for other search engines.
Shopzilla: A price comparison search engine dedicated to retailers and users where retailers pay for the inclusion of their businesses.
Pipl: A search engine that displays the information about individuals such as their names, email ids, and contact information.
Salesforce: An important internal and channel search engine for B2B companies and networks.
Kayak: A travel based search engine that serves the needs of travel enthusiasts.
Zillow: A real estate search engine where users find everything related to apartments, mortgages, home values, and many more in the field of real estate.
Lawyers.com: A search engine entirely dedicated to users who are in search of lawyers and attorneys in a specified location and specialization.
Google provides many vertical search functionalities. For instance, all the following are Google’s vertical search engines:
- Google Images
- Google Books
- Google Finance
- Google Trends
- Google News
- Google Local Search
- Google Maps
- Google Shopping
- Google Videos
YouTube is also a vertical search engine dedicated to videos. Though YouTube is also owned by Google, its algorithm and functionality are altogether different from Google’s family of vertical searches mentioned above.
All social media channels are a type of vertical search engine on their own. Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. help users to find content based on their customized search entries.
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If you’ve been wondering how these search engines can add a difference to your business and why and how you should make the best use of them, move on to know more.
Reason #1: Because vertical search and horizontal search are different
In vertical search, users look for a specific type of content rather than whole results on the web.
For instance, typing new year wishes in Google Images will display all image-based results. The same search performed on Google News displays another set of results.
Hence, in vertical search, a user:
- Searches for a specific type of content (news, businesses, images, flights, etc.)
- Approaches designated vertical search engines
- Performs topic-based search (hence the name Topical search)
- Chooses from the value adding narrow and targeted results.
In a horizontal search, the results are from a broader base. A search on the Google Home page for new year wishes displays all types of content, including ads, sponsored results, videos, text, and images, as per their rankings.
Thus, in horizontal search, a user:
- Searches for broader and mixed variety of content
- Seeks generic web search engine like Google or Yahoo
- Performs generic search with no focused intent on the niche of the results
- Chooses from the resulting search results that are bulkier in volume
For instance, say you are a recruiter and looking for salesforce talent. You would love to have a vertical search engine that displays the best salesforce resources from across the globe.
Similarly, consider you are a freelancer and looking at only web development projects. A vertical search engine where you can find freelance options of your choice will save enough time for you besides helping you grab the best gig.
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Reason #2: Vertical search helps businesses
On the internet, businesses mainly thrive on visibility. It can be tough to achieve on horizontal search engines that display generic results in response to a user’s search query. To attract a more targeted audience, businesses should focus on making their presence on vertical search engines.
Reason #3: You can grab the attention of users with ease
If you are a business trying to get the attention of your customers, the vertical search should be your thing.
To make the most of this trend, you can choose and focus on one or more of the following categories:
- Local: Where a business wants maximum visibility in a local area or targeted geography. For instance: Google Local Listing
- Topical: This helps businesses to reach the customers and businesses that are looking for results from a dedicated business category. Example: Google Shopping, Airbnb.
- B2B: The best channel for businesses to reach their customers and other businesses alike.
Reason #4: You can stay up to date with customer search trends
Customers are increasingly by-passing generic results to meet their needs.
For instance, a user who would love to book a hotel for their next vacation is more likely to use a vertical search engine designed for the same like Expedia, Airbnb, or Trivago rather than on Google Web results.
Registering in these search engines also gives ample scope for companies to obtain the maximum return on investment. Vertical searches provide increased relevance to the customers. This means more consumer experience, higher conversions, and sales.
Hence, businesses need to shift their focus towards registering on such search engines that are in their niche. By doing so, the chances of grabbing the attention of targeted customers increase dramatically.
Reason #5: Vertical search aids your existing SEO strategy
That said, neglecting SEO for Google and focusing only on increasing the visibility of targeted search engines might not be a wise idea. Google auto-pulls the top-performing results from other search engines from its umbrella into normal web results.
Hence, a parallel focus on vertical search engine results as well as ranking good on Google is a better strategy for businesses.
Reason #6: Vertical search is the future
The arena of vertical search is slowly gaining traction. Mobile-, voice- and vertical-based searches are slowly occupying a big chunk of horizontal web-based searches. Users and businesses now want results that can drive their business ahead. This makes this the best moment for businesses to focus on exploring the maximum of this trend.
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