Search behaviour and 'universal' search results
The research reports that only 17% of users who conduct a news-specific search actually click on a result, while 36 % of users click on news results that appear within general searches. In a similar way, 26% of users find satisfactory results when conducting an image-specific search, while 31% click on image results within general search results and for video there was also a similar pattern (10% versus 17%).
The report concludes that this trend is due to a common “aversion to vertical search” (or perhaps an unfamiliarity with these options) among web users. However, following the introduction of Ask's combined search results and Google’s launch of “universal search” in 2007, more web users are becoming familiar with the combined search results and are therefore becoming more familiar with these options.
This will therefore strengthen the role of universal search and highlights the need for business websites to consider how they can optimise for all the different search results that may be presented. However, as iProspect also point out, vertical search also still exists as an option and companies shouldn't ignore the need to optimise for these results as well since they can be more focused and less 'cluttered' (and competitive) than the main search results list.