Achieving Dominance in Vertical Search

What exactly is vertical search?

A vertical search engine is a search engine that is tailored to a single sort of content or vertical. Amazon, Pinterest, and YouTube are a few examples.

Search Vertically


We use vertical search technology all the time, but it's so natural to us that we don't always notice it. A vertical search engine is used whenever we look for images on Pinterest, search for a product on Amazon, look for jobs on sites like Indeed, or discover new films on YouTube.

These engines are essentially intended to assist us in trimming the fat and delivering the most relevant results for each sort of search query.

Vertical search engines vs. horizontal search engines

When you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo to search the web, you are utilising a horizontal search engine (also called general search). This is because such engines return results from all across the internet. For example, if you search "SEO strategy," Google will provide all of the results.

Vertical search on Google

Google maintains a sophisticated network of vertical search engines in order to give the best possible search experience for the user. Most rely on the essential search features of the universal engine, but are then filtered via the prism of distinct content requirements.

Important Points 

  • A vertical search engine is designed to search for a certain sort of information or industrial vertical.
  • Google has its own vertical search engines, such as Google Flights and Google Shopping.
  • Don't overlook non-Google search engines like Alibaba, Amazon, Trulia, Zillow, Yelp, Skyscanner, Shopzilla, YouTube, and so on.
  • Vertical search engines cater to specific user requirements, allowing you to target conversion-ready visitors.
  • Vertical search optimization changes from platform to platform.
  • Only optimise for search engines that will deliver a good return on investment.

Your ranking in Google's universal search results could be the key to increasing organic visitors. That is not to say that Google Search is the only game in town. Learn to master vertical search engines, and you'll have a plethora of new ways to target prospects throughout the conversion funnel.

Let us return to the preceding example. If you use another vertical search engine, such as News, Google will only return news items for "SEO strategy."

Here are a few more instances of the top vertical search engines on Google:

  • Shopping
  • News
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Flights
  • Finance
  • Patents
  • Scholar

Any of these niche search engines can offer you a less competitive, more precise window of opportunity than the main results. But it's not an either/or issue. Websites that are failing to rank on Google cannot just switch to a vertical search engine and dominate there. But what if you're already doing well on Google and want to add some caffeine to your organic strategy? Optimizing for more specific search engines will propel you to the next level.

Social media vertical search technology

Every major social media network has its own internal search engine to provide the in-platform experience that consumers expect. Some of these, such as Facebook, are primarily intended to assist users in finding other users. Others, such as Pinterest or Houzz, are driven by specific content groups or genres. In the latter group, opportunities abound, with YouTube reigning supreme.

YouTube, the world's second-largest search engine, is also owned by Google. However, it was not included in the list of Google verticals above. Why? Because, in contrast to the others, it employs a powerful internal search engine designed particularly for YouTube. It's so distinct from Google Search that Google has created an own vertical search engine, Google Videos, to assist people find video content from around the web.

Vertical search engine examples

Other vertical search sites may be appropriate for your business based on, well, your specialised vertical. These are some examples:

  • In-platform ecommerce product search engines, such as those used by Amazon, Alibaba, Ebay, and Etsy
  • Comparison shopping engines that allow users to compare alternatives in real time. Sites like Pricegrabber and Shopzilla are popular alternatives to Google Shopping.
  • Travel search engines that help users find and compare plane tickets, rental vehicles, and hotels have proven to be a huge success in the travel industry. Popular sites include Skyscanner, Kayak, Orbitz, Priceline, and Travelocity.
  • Vacation rental websites such as AirBnB and HomeAway
  • Trulia and Zillow are two rental and real estate search engines.
  • RetailMeNot and other coupon search engines
  • Indeed, Monster, and the search engines powered by LinkedIn and Glassdoor are examples of job search engines.
  • Yelp and Angi are examples of local search engines.

To uncover industry-specific search engines inside your own industry, Google "[your vertical] search engine." The list of vertical search engines grows too long to cover them all! There are search engines dedicated to finding doctors, search engines that compare bank account costs and credit card possibilities, and search engines that compare moving services. Do you require a storage unit? Sparefoot allows you to find and evaluate all of your possibilities. Do you need a cute shelter pet? You're insured by Petfinder.

Vertical search is really important.

Vertical search engines evolved naturally to meet the needs of specific users. Their popularity gives useful information about searcher behaviour. Similarly, their popularity demonstrates that users occasionally require more refined and compared search results than what Google's universal search can deliver.

In the broadest sense, vertical search is significant since we should expect a slow-growth pattern in user behaviour to persist. SEO is basically concerned with tracking and anticipating user behaviour. What is beneficial to the user is beneficial to search engine optimization.

In a nutshell, the laws of optimization differ on vertical search platforms. Many brands' SEO strategies do not include optimization for specific platforms. As a result, there is a less competitive road to a highly targeted and valuable audience.

Vertical search engines broaden your search by introducing you to new user bases. Simultaneously, their tighter focus increases the likelihood that your new audience will be near the bottom of the funnel (BoFu). So, if you're Cole Haan, SOREL, Frye, or Kenneth Cole, for example, you should be optimising your Amazon ecommerce product pages (regardless of your organic performance in Google). If you don't, you could lose a lot of prospective ecommerce revenue.

To increase your market share, read our Advanced Ecommerce SEO Guide!

Vertical search and primary Google results

The amount of search real estate you take up in Google's main search results can be influenced by how well you perform in vertical search results. Assume your company sells auto insurance. If a user is looking for vehicle insurance, chances are they will go straight to Google. Google will show them the most relevant car insurance-related pages it can locate, with a range of information styles available depending on the query. So it is your responsibility to ensure that your insurance company dominates the Google SERPs for the vehicle insurance vertical.

That is, if Google considers a format, search engine, or platform relevant and helpful enough to include in their primary results, you should strive to dominate the results for such platforms. As an example:

  • Google Video or YouTube videos
  • Images courtesy of Google Images
  • Google Maps locations
  • Google News news articles

This will assist you appear in various positions on search engine results pages (SERPs). This, in turn, strengthens your brand's authority.

Vertical search optimization techniques

The main challenge today is how to include organic vertical search into your marketing approach. Because each search engine considers different parameters, the answer differs from platform to platform. We'll go through particular techniques for some of the most popular vertical search engines before wrapping up with some general advice on your overall content strategy.

Let's go back over our list of vertical search engines and discuss how to develop SEO tactics for each one:

Shopping on Google

Optimizing and submitting a shopping feed is critical to performing well on Google Shopping. As a result, reviewing the resulting data and fine-tuning the campaign can rapidly turn into a full-time job. Shopping feed strategists frequently overlap in ability and strategy with PPC strategists, thus having the two teams coordinate closely is beneficial.

If an in-house employee isn't for you, organisations who provide PPC services frequently provide shopping feed services as well.

Additional Materials

Amazon vs. Google: A Fight for Today's Consumer


Which Has a Better ROI: SEO or PPC?


Other shopping comparison engines

The easiest way to gain an advantage in more specific comparison engines like Kayak or Priceline is to ensure that you compare positively in the categories that customers care about. Even the best instances of content marketing will fail in Google Search if people are comparing plane tickets by price, for example. You'd need the lowest costs to win there.

However, for an adventurous travel website, other aspects will trump price. Beautiful content marketing campaigns can help you land the conversion in all circumstances, so don't overlook them.

Google News

Make your brand newsworthy by sharing tales wisely and utilising the language you want to appear in search results. If something important in the news is popular, you can utilise newsjacking tactics to integrate your brand into the conversation and the Google News search results.

Images via Google

Google creates the context required to rank an image by combining alt text and current site relevancy/authority. The stronger your content and on-site SEO, the more likely you are to rank a high-resolution, properly-optimized image for the right search queries. It may make sense to design cool infographics for specific topics, for example, to assist you acquire traction and wider visibility.

Use alt text to appropriately describe the image, including long-tail keywords as appropriate. This is also an important technique to assist visually challenged viewers in understanding the information in your photos.


Although YouTube video SEO is comprehensive for a vertical search engine, it is not nearly as complex as Google on-site SEO. Create fantastic videos (that are better than everyone else's for your desired topics) to earn great results on YouTube. To target the proper keywords on YouTube, use tools such as YouTube Suggest, YT Cockpit, vidIQ,, and Tubics. By incorporating a transcript and installing a video sitemap, you can improve the title, description, meta data, and tags. Keep an eye on your video analytics to consistently produce higher-performing videos that earn more awareness and delight your audience.

Search engines for ecommerce (Amazon, and Etsy)

In their search algorithms, all of these search engines use a combination of content, reviews, interaction, and relevancy. Your product or service listing should be keyword-rich and appealing, with a call to action to entice the user to learn more. Then devise your review strategy, following up with customers and soliciting candid comments.

This post will teach you more about local SEO.

Select the best search engines

Should you optimise for ALL vertical search engines, or just one or two?

You can usually immediately eliminate irrelevant alternatives. Vacation vertical search engines, after all, are useless if your product has nothing to do with vacations.

This will result in a list of potential solutions for your firm with an unknown ROI. If you are a furniture retailer, you should look at YouTube, Pinterest, Houzz, and Google Images. Consider what kind of ROI these sites will generate and how you will coordinate a strategy with your local stores. Is it a good idea to run cross-site campaigns?

Evaluate each platform

  • Who is the intended audience? Is it a goal you're aiming for?
  • How do your competitors fare on each platform? Examine various competitors across platforms to see if any clear performance trends emerge.
  • Is the format appropriate for your vertical? Pinterest, a visual search engine, is ideal for your furniture stores. A bank or insurance firm, on the other hand, may have a more difficult time finding a match. What else can you do by optimising for that platform? When the impact of your content affects other sections of the organisation, it's much easier to justify the resources you'll require.
  • Consult with sales, support, and others across your organisation to assist you evaluate each platform. Consumer service, for example, may notify you that YouTube how-to videos may be exactly what your customer requires to avoid annoyance and cement their loyalty.

Then test, test, and test again. Invest time and effort in all of your top contenders, and track their marketing ROI over time. Winners and losers should begin to emerge, assisting you in making decisions about where to direct your resources next.

Create distinct material for each vertical search engine.

All vertical search engines necessitate some level of optimization. However, although some vertical search engines, such as Kayak and Expedia, automatically populate data, others necessitate more effort and content production.

Take, for example, Amazon. Product pages may appear to be basic. Just include some photographs and a brief description, right? This method, however, will not get you to the top of the search results. Instead, consider the following:

  • A product title that is optimised
  • Product movies that demonstrate the product in use
  • Photos of your product from various angles
  • Your description should include bullet points.
  • An ASIN in your product category
  • A compilation of all pertinent categorie
  • Answers in the Questions & Answers section of the page

Pinterest, on the other hand, gives little possibility for genuine imitation. Pinterest, on the other hand, is heavily reliant on images. If you're a shop, instead of pinning a product image, consider creating a visual style guide for how your product could be worn. Alternatively, a lookbook or trend guide.

Alternatively, if you deal with women-owned businesses, you could produce a set of free budgeting spreadsheets for Pinterest. You could also develop an interview series on YouTube with cool, Girlboss-type trailblazers. In comparison, a directory for accountants like would keep your information considerably more basic.

However, what works for one vertical search engine may not work for another. Produce content that addresses the specific audience of each vertical search engine in order to optimise the benefit of your presence on the engine.

Keep a consistent brand voice.

Vertical search dominance is part of an omni-channel strategy, and the same brand consistency best practises apply. Don't think of each channel as having its own silo. Rather, incorporate each one into the bigger ecology of your brand, marketing, content, and SEO tactics. Ensure that your brand's voice and strategies are adequately documented. It will be easy to give a uniform experience across platforms this way.

With a little effort, you can boost your online exposure and website traffic while also making your brand more memorable, all by keeping track of where and how your clients search across numerous types of search engines.