Monday, September 10, 2007

Googling Over Yelp

This piece is a continuation of the Search for Google returns Yahoo story six weeks ago.

I've been asked if Google has corrected the potentially embarrassing error in their local search results. Well, the Yahoo company address doesn't show up, however a couple of other, seemingly random listings do instead (Eastridge Mall, and Fresca).

Googles phone number returns a different business.

These new results are businesses that we're reviewed by Yelpers who also reviewed Google Inc. Confusing? Let me clarify:
  • Google Inc is a registered business on Yelp with several reviews from other Yelpers,
  • Yelpers review other businesses, providing lots of great content (Google Maps loves it too),
  • All reviews are on one page; along with each respective business identification (name, address and phone)
  • Entire web page is associated to a single business entity in the Google Maps database,
  • Even though the phone number (650) 318-0200 is owned by Google Inc., it is actually not associated with any registered business in Google Maps or any other info databases! (yes, irony).
  • A different company is now fingered as being a relevant result for this query.
Upon deeper investigation, an interested local-SEO points was identified:
Single Business to Web Page Association. This is an common assumption to local search engines; associate a webpage (or domain) to a single business location; however Yelp proves the point here. There are several business listings shown on the Yelper review page; however it all only helps a single business listing. Even when another business with accurate information is found, that webpage is NOT being associated to it. That means all the content on this whole site is only benefiting one company. Even more interesting is that this applied to businesses listed above and below the business. (which is the case for the Google phone number too).

Point 3 is the most crucial for local SEO. Implication here is that a Yelper profile can only help to optimize a single business on Google Maps. This means that a business won't really get a benefit from a big-time reviewer. Unless your luck like Fresca, being SEO'd with every listing here; you're better off getting more reviews from smaller people than one review . The bottom line is that Yelp is more a benefit to users than it is to businesses (which I think Yelp would agree), but interesting to see how Google effectively decided that too.

Anyway, I wonder how long it will be until Google fixes their own business listing. Maybe we should offer Google Inc. the RelevantYellow placement verification service to cure the issue!

About the Author
David Rodecker is President of RelevantAds, a service that gets local businesses online through local search.