Yelp Just Got a Bit More Important to Small Businesses Via Yahoo Deal

Yelp important

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.

Yelp Photo via Shutterstock


Mark O'Neill Mark O'Neill is a staff writer for Small Business Trends, covering software and social media. He is a freelance journalist who has been writing for over 25 years, and has successfully made the leap from newspapers and radio onto the Internet. From 2007-2013, he was the Managing Editor of

18 Reactions
  1. While the acquisition may not make Yahoo even close to 1/4 of what Google is now, Yelp is a great way to add something fresh to the search engine. At least we see the brand working on something even if it wouldn’t make much of a difference in terms of competition against Google.

    • Hi Divine, as far as small businesses, it means one more chalk mark in the Yelp column as to what they need to pay attention to — if they are in a consumer-facing or retail type of business.

      – Anita

  2. Yelp is the most dirty SOB’s………all they do is try to make small business pay them money to have a Yelp account and if they don’t pay for an account Yelp only posts the dirt reviews. Shame on you YELP, you’re only in the biz to scam folks out of their hard earned money, when all they are doing is trying to make a living. You’re disgusting!!!

    • Tell us how you REALLY feel, Gina 🙂

      Regardless of how you may feel toward Yelp, if customers rely on it, and if Yelp will be powering various local search results, then pragmatic business owners will probably pay attention to Yelp.

      – Anita

  3. I guess Yahoo really needs to come up with a counterpart for Google Places. But I guess Yelp is now more reliable given the fact that they no longer allow crafted reviews. I’m actually excited about this. Let’s see how far this will go.

  4. I never used yahoo before but i will stay away from Yahoo now more than ever, Yelp is absolute and complete SCUM in the eyes of business, they will tear down your reputation and care less how it effects you, and disregard the financial damage it causes, hate is not a strong enough word for yelp, just Google “yelp extortion” to see how yelp is hurting and profiting off thousands of small businesses across Canada and the USA by destroying their reputations, and by use of extortionist tactics.

  5. Although, global Yahoo search market share is 6%, but it’s still something

    • Not much though, when you stack it up against Google and Bing. Yahoo used to dominate the Internet in the 1990’s…..and now they are 6%? They’ve all been asleep at the wheel over at Yahoo HQ.

  6. That’s very interesting considering the recent problems with the law that Yelp had. I was thinking they would be quiet for a while, but it seems like that’s not the case.

    • Which problems are you referring to? I know they were getting sued a lot by disgruntled business owners who claimed that Yelp was ruining their livelihoods. But you know, Yelp is just the platform. If the business has a problem, take it up with the reviewer.

  7. As kind of stated in the article … meh, it’s just Yahoo … but the article also shows how important it is for small businesses to take ownership of their Yelp listings and keep them updated … because people WILL find it!

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