Vertical search engines are also known as specialized search engines and they can oftentimes be very useful in quickly pinpointing the information you need without having to filter through general results pages. They also go by the name of topical search engines in that you search in the context of a main topic. Topics can be in subjects like medicine, law, government, and many others. But do vertical search engines provide any greater advantage than provided by the general search engines? Actually, they do, and what follows are some dynamics of the vertical search engine arena.

The competitive web search playing field is responsible for the rise of vertical search engines. There are so many websites competing for the coveted first page in a SERP (search engine results page). In fact, a search engine optimization (SEO) effort for the general search engines could take months before results are seen. For most businesses, this is unacceptable and another solution is required. With a specialized search engine, you are only competing with others in your same niche and those searching for information will not have to look at so many results from any given search query.

Vertical search engines help to drill down to the meaning of your searches. For example, let’s say you are a lawyer and want to get information on a particular law or case precedence. If you entered your question in a general search engine, you would be shown websites that address the query in either a general or specialized form and written for either legal professionals or public users trying to get information on laws they don’t understand. Clearly it would take far too long for the legal professional to do his or her research but this problem is more than likely solved if using a vertical search engine specifically for those who are working in this field.

Content considerations are still just as important in vertical search engines. In fact, content probably needs to be targeted to a very specific audience as opposed to the general nature of articles found on the web as a whole. Remember that content should never be written with just search engines in mind. It should always be written with intent of ultimately helping the readers or calling them to action.

Some types of vertical search engines are customized for the user. For example, the “answers” type vertical search engines actually have a team of volunteers who respond to user queries. In this fashion, you don’t have to comb through dozens of web sites before you find an answer. You can get an exact answer to your question from a subject expert volunteer. The answer to your question is usually posted on a web page for all to see which gives you a little exposure too.

There is more likelihood of customer conversions with vertical search engines. Customer conversion is a term used to refer to a sale as the result of a customer clicking on a site’s link. In other words, if the customer clicks on your link then there is a potential for that same customer to also buy something. Website proprietors want high conversion rates but with general search engines, there is more casual browsing or some stumble on a site totally by accident. It’s less unlikely that you will get casual browsers if they click through to your site from a specialized site in their topic of interest. While it has been determined that overall traffic is less than with general search engines, it is much more relevant therefore having the result of increased sales.

Tools are also available for these search engines so that a return on investment (ROI) can be determined. For example, you may have purchased ad space on one of these specialized engines and want to use a tool to report the conversion rate compared to the amount spent on ads. Keyword suggestion tools are also valuable so that you can make specific adjustments in the keywords you use to target your customers. Many vertical search engines also charge lower rates for advertising space which helps your bottom line as well.

You can find a listing of vertical search engines at

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