Google Places Is Pissing Off Directory and Review Sites

March 1, 2011

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 and SuperMedia’s sites got hit pretty hard from this recent update:

Also looks like and other “low quality content” 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 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:

The Walgreens, MySimon, and Staples results on for a local “electronics” search is a pathetic at best user experience. Good going Skunkwerks! Loses Unique Visitors To from October to January

February 22, 2011

The latest report on rankings for the top 50 websites that also includes the top local search yellow pages websites is out. According to comScore it appears that has improved traffic since November and regained traffic from’s network. I wonder how much of this is attributed from credit of’s UVs or is it from the recent decline in television advertising frequency of YellowBook’s360 promotion?

Nonetheless, Great improvement for the folks at We know how important this metric is to the company. Being the #1 Online YellowPages Site has been a claim the company wants to continue boasting about.

Borrell recently announced that LocalSearch Unique Visitor Counts are likely flawed and not a very good metric (KPI). According to a recent post from Greg Sterling at

Among others, the report makes the following assertions:

  • About 30% of a local website’s visitors don’t live in the market.
  • On average, about one-fourth of a local site’s page views are delivered to people who probably won’t return for another year, if ever.
  • The average local website’s unique visitor count overstates the number of actual people visiting the site by a factor of 3.6, and overstates the number of local people by a factor of 5.
  • So a site that tells local advertisers it has a half-million monthly unique visitors should probably be forthright and start saying it reaches about 100,000 local people.

It has been said that one of the key reasons for this flawed data is that folks own multiple web-enabled devices, such as a cell phone, a tablet, and a desktop PC or two.

I am still reaching out for clarification to the rumor that provides its Unique Visitor count credit to, since the companies have a partnership of sorts. Until I hear otherwise, I will assume that this is true.