What Are Vertical Search Engines and How Do You Rank for Them?

Many webmasters use a linear search engine optimization (SEO) strategy that revolves entirely around Google. They realize that Google receives more search traffic than all other search engines, so they optimize their websites to rank for it. While you can always target Google in your SEO strategy, however, you may want to target vertical search engines as well. Ranking in vertical search engines will allow you to capitalize on highly relevant search traffic that drives success for your business.

Overview of Vertical Search Engines

Vertical search engines are those that return results for a specific type of digital content. Unlike standard search engines, they don’t return generic web page listings. Rather, vertical search engines return other types of digital content. They receive their namesake by focusing on a vertical, which is a specific type of digital content.

There are vertical search engines for video content, for instance, and there are vertical search engines for image content. YouTube and Vimeo return video results for searches, whereas Google Images and Picsearch return image results for searches. They are all considered vertical search engines because they focus on a vertical.

Other vertical search engines return results for products. Products are a type of digital content. PriceGrabber, Bizrate, Google Shopping, Amazon and eBay are product-based vertical search engines. Shoppers can use them to search for products to purchase. Of course, there are vertical search engines for specific types of products and services as well. Shoppers can use Zillow or Trulia to find homes for sale, and they can use KAYAK or Expedia to find hotel accommodations.

Benefits of Ranking for Vertical Search Engines

Ranking for vertical search engines offers several benefits. Vertical search engines typically deliver higher quality traffic than standard search engines. Users perform searches on vertical search engines to find a specific type of digital content. Therefore, vertical search engines automatically filter irrelevant and low-quality traffic. You’ll receive high-quality search traffic that’s relevant to your business if you rank for vertical search engines.

By targeting vertical search engines, you can rank other types of content besides your website’s pages. Most vertical search engines don’t return results for web pages; they return results for other types of digital content, such as videos and images. You can rank this content in vertical search engines so that it reaches additional users, some of whom wouldn’t otherwise find the content.

It might be the most popular, but Google isn’t the internet’s sole search engine. A study conducted by SparkToro found that nearly two in five U.S. searches are processed by a different search engine. According to SparkToro, Google Images accounts for over 22 percent of all U.S. searches, whereas YouTube accounts for over 4 percent of all U.S. searches. Ranking in vertical search engines will allow you to reach these users.

There’s also less competition for vertical search engines than standard search engines. Millions of people use vertical search engines to find specific types of digital content on the internet. Since vertical search engines have narrower results than standard search engines, though, there’s far less competition for them.

With their low competition and ability to reach additional users, vertical search engines can increase your business’s sales. You can rank products or services in vertical search engines. Shoppers who are looking for a product or service to buy may then come across your business’s listings, thus paving the way for new sales.

How to Rank for Vertical Search Engines

There are dozens of vertical search engines, many of which require different SEO processes. To rank for a vertical search engine, you must understand how it works. All search engines are powered by an algorithm, and vertical search engines are no exception. They evaluate various signals using an algorithm to determine which content listings are the most relevant to users’ search queries.

While there are nuances between vertical search engines’ algorithms, keywords are an important factor in all of them. Users must enter a search query when performing a search on a vertical search engine. Search engines will run the user’s search query through their algorithm to find the most relevant content listings for it. To rank a piece of content for a vertical search engine, you must optimize it for relevant keywords.

Some vertical search engines have ranking requirements. To rank a product on Google Shopping, for instance, you’ll have to create a Shopping campaign in Google Ads that includes the product in a merchant feed. To rank a product on Amazon, conversely, you’ll have to create a seller account, followed by listing the product for sale.

With that said, Google Shopping is a form of paid advertising, whereas Amazon is not. You can rank products higher on Google Shopping by raising your Shopping campaign bids. To rank products higher on Amazon, you’ll need to create long and detailed descriptions, earn positive customer feedback and generate a high conversion rate.

Depending on which vertical search engines you are trying to rank for, you may want to build backlinks. Most image-based search engines use backlinks to determine where images should rank in their results. If an image has a lot of backlinks, it will likely rank higher than images with few backlinks or no backlinks. Video-based search engines are a different story. YouTube doesn’t use backlinks for rankings. It relies more on engagement signals, such as likes and watch time, to determine where videos should rank in its results.

There’s no universal SEO strategy that works for all vertical search engines. Each vertical search engine has a different algorithm, and many of them have different requirements as well. You can still rank for vertical search engines; you just need to optimize your content around their respective signals while also following their requirements.

Vertical search engines are on the rise. They allow users to find specific types of content by entering a search query. By ranking for vertical search engines, you can reach more users with your business’s products or services while encountering less competition in the process.

PerOla Hammar 陈家悦
Father of 2. Marketing, sales & web geek who is open-minded & eager to learn. Experienced a lot in the past years, both good and bad. Lesson learned? LIVE LIFE!