Search engines are the vital entry point to the billions of websites on the net. Generic search engines, however, aren’t the only solution for businesses to market their goods and services. Metasearch engines are on the rise and are become an important acquisition channel for many industries.
What are Meta Search Engines?
Metasearch engines search across different search engines. They pull the data from different sources, eliminate duplications and sort the different search results. Increasingly metasearch engines are focussing on particular industry verticals for example Trivago for hotels or HomeToGo.co.uk for holiday rentals.
Value for the Supplier
Metasearch websites importantly provide a valuable commercial channel for businesses to reach their target customer audience. In addition to providing suppliers with new avenue for visibility, metasearch engines enable them to receive more qualified traffic than generic search engines.
Digital marketing is always about optimizing the cost to acquire a customer. By allowing users to filter according to their own preferences (eg. selecting a holiday destination, their availability and number of guests), suppliers have access to more relevant leads.
Instead of being flooded by a noise of unqualified leads, suppliers will access a stream of consumers with high intent to buy. This often means better quality traffic and often better converting visitors compared to a traditional Adwords campaign.
Value for the User
Many metasearch websites focus on a particular use case or industry for example travel, health and jobs. Users can now conveniently access information about a particular theme or industry under one roof. The benefit for the user is twofold: greater relevancy of information and better user experience.
If a user looking for a holiday goes to a traditional search engine and searches “holidays in spain”, the user will receive thousands of results about various topics relating to Spain and holidays. Alternatively, if users know exactly what they want (eg. to book a flight, hotel or holiday rental), they can go directly to the relevant metasearch website and find the most relevant results to their specific query.
Instead of a single algorithm for searching across all websites on the web, vertical-specific metasearch websites scan through a smaller selection of websites to provide only the most relevant results.
Focussing on specific verticals also allows metasearch companies to optimise the user experience and respond to user’s specific needs within the industry. Metasearch websites have the resources and the incentive to create useful features to enable users to find out exactly what they want and provide a seamless user experience.
For example, the largest metasearch for jobs, Indeed, allows users to upload CVs which can be made visible to employers. This speeds up the job hunt for the user as well as give the ability for potential employers to actively shortlist relevant candidates. In the travel industry, HomeToGo.co.uk offers a ‘Distance to Water’ feature which allows users to filter holiday rentals by how close they are to the sea.
In this way, metasearch engines, in comparison to traditional search engines, have greater power to cater for specific user groups or demographics. A greater range of filtering features also means that users have greater control over the information they see.
Jay Patani is UK General Manager of HomeToGo.co.uk, the world’s largest metasearch engine for holiday rentals.