Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer announced to employees recently that Yelp’s local business listings and reviews will soon appear in Yahoo’s search results. This is a victory for Mayer, who attempted to buy Yelp for $500 million back in 2009 when she worked at Google.
The deal means Yelp listings and reviews for local businesses will appear in yet one more search engine online and on mobile devices. Small businesses in industries where customers pay attention to Yelp reviews will want to make sure Yelp listing information is accurate and do the best job possible to encourage positive reviews from customers.
The Wall Street Journal points out that growing numbers of people rely on their smartphones to access information about local services. The Verge speculates that Yelp listings are likely to appear with information and star ratings inside Yahoo search results, and says that Yahoo recently made local results more prominent within the Yahoo site.
But How Much Does the Yelp Deal REALLY Matter?
Local search experts we spoke with differ somewhat on their views of how important this news is. For the most part, however, they agree that this won’t make a huge difference … at least not for Yahoo. They point out that Yahoo’s importance as a local search engine has declined in recent years.
“This is positive for Yelp, and an OK for Yahoo,” said Andrew Shotland, SEO consultant at Local SEO Guide. ”It makes Yahoo’s stale local search service better – but another nice win for Yelp as it embeds their brand in another large local search service that is not Google. I think we are quickly moving to a world where the majority of non-Google U.S. local search services are powered by Yelp in some way.”
Mike Blumenthal, a local search expert and co-founder of Get Five Stars, believes that the deal will make little difference for Yahoo. “Companies like Yahoo have essentially exited what was traditionally the local search space. It has become a two part world: Google and everyone else. Now they are starting to protect what small part of the market they have with these sorts of sharing deals. Yahoo hasn’t really had the lights turned on for local for several years so this is really no surprise. Given that they have had so little presence it will have little impact one way or the other,” he told Small Business Trends.
Microsoft’s Bing and Apple Maps each have a similar deal in place with Yelp. Yelp has an API which allows other sites to access a limited amount of their platform, but Bing’s and Apple Maps’ are more elaborate and deeper integrated versions. So one way to look at it is that Yahoo is merely playing catch-up.
According to Comscore, Yahoo’s share of the U.S. search market slipped slightly from November to December last year. However, to the extent that the public uses Yahoo for local search, the deal places more importance on Yelp data.
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