The Future of Vertical Search Engines

Typically any search on a generic search engine like Google or Yahoo throws up thousands of search pages, many of which may be irrelevant to the searcher. General search engines are beginning to suffer from an information overload. Thus the next level of search engine convenience gave birth to niche search engines, called vertical search engines, which give focused results thanks to their specialist databases.

Vertical search engines enhance the search experience as they focus on different industry vertical categories like automobiles, IT or retail such as categories like news, audio, images or video.

Vertical Search Engines

Vertical search engines leverage the “deep web information” concept i.e. they store niche documents in specialist databases. This combines with a focused crawl using proprietary ‘niche information’ extraction methodology to give results with a sharper focus. This helps the searcher as he gets more qualified results, the advertiser who can benefit from more targeted advertising and the search engine too as it can charge a premium on advertising (by endearing itself more relevant to searchers). For example, if a searcher wants to find a local carpenter to fix his window and types in ‘fixing windows’, in a general search engine, most of the searches will pertain to the Windows operating system as that is far more popular in searches. However if he types the same in a home maintenance vertical search engine, he will get the correct answer in a flash. In fact consumer research data from the last two years by Jupiter Research, The Kelsey Group, Forester and Marketing Sherpa suggests that searchers using vertical search engines are far closer to finalising a buying decision than the searcher on generic search engines like Yahoo or Google.

Future of the Vertical Search Engine

As business searches outnumber consumer searches and search engines target more B2B advertisers, vertical search engines are narrowing their focus to be even more relevant to searchers and advertisers. Vertical search engines are combining two or more search criteria to increase the relevance of the search results. For example a news vertical search engine leverages local search capabilities to serve only news within a specified distance radius if the searcher so desires, or a user of job search vertical engine can search for jobs in his particular expertise domain for a defined geographic region. As the web transforms from its original role of general information aggregator to a more sophisticated, intelligent and interactive information provider, vertical search engines are contributing in delivering the promise of the Web 2.0 revolution.  As these vertical search engines boost the popularity with their target audience the conversion rates of their visitors are on track to increasing significantly.

Opportunity Advertisers

Informed marketers who gather relevant consumer behaviour data from web analytics to know more about the search habits and buying patterns of their web visitors stand to gain over their competitors. They can combine this data with the vertical search engines profiling of their search visitors to serve more targeted advertising. For example if an online retailer finds from its web analytics that in the month of March, buyers from a particular geographic region mostly bought automobile accessories he can then customise his marketing initiative with this valuable information.

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