Recently on Search Engine Land, resident expert of all things local search related, Greg Sterling, posted a great article Yelp: Google Told Us “Our Way Or The Highway”. This is a great summary of the challenges for Internet Yellow Pages sites and local review sites as previously outlined last year by local SEO expert Andrew Shotland in a discussion, titled “Dead Fingers Walking“, a “phony letter from Google to directory sites and IYPs.
Basically this can all be summarized as Google owns the court (traffic,) Yelp provides the ball (reviews,) and if Yelp has a problem they can take the ball and go home, but suffer losing the ability to use the court and all the attention that comes with it!
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. My suggestion for Yelp is to realize that the data or citations that Google wants is going to be a TAX of sorts. Now, what if Google makes a manual change to the algo that impacts Yelp rankings the same as Google recently did to penalize poor quality content in the February “Farmer Update.”
Looks like DexOne’s Business.com and SuperMedia’s AmericanTowns.com sites got hit pretty hard from this recent update:
Also looks like BizRate.com and other “low quality content” SuperPages.com advertisers also got hit pretty hard by this update as well. Most of these sites just copy content from other sources or distribute pricing and product information from another source, such as Amazon.com. These tactics will no longer work, Google will begin validating that the content gets credited to the original publisher of said content.
Btw, Talking about horrible user experiences and searches, check this out: http://yellowpages.superpages.com/listings.jsp?STYPE=S&C=electronics+dallas+tx
The Walgreens, MySimon, and Staples results on SuperPages.com for a local “electronics” search is a pathetic at best user experience. Good going Skunkwerks!