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The Power of Yelp Shows On Local Search and Mobile

If you want the perfect local search ecosystem, look no further than Yelp.  Well-structured data, accurate information, SEO friendly pages, validated reviews, photos, brand / URL recognition, check-ins and more.  The checklist is nailed.

The power of Yelp’s local ecosystem is starting to really stand out to me on local search and mobile.  Thanks to the attributes outlined above, both Yelp category landing pages and specific business listings are showing up in the search engine result pages (SERPs) on a regular basis, in a strong ranking position and attracting users.

Lately Google has been showing a specific business profile page from Yelp far more often in the results, where they used to just show that if the business name was close to an exact match of the search term.  If you searched “Plymouth Salon” you would get the Yelp profile of “New Reflections Salon and Spa” in the results.

Mobile Search Click Test, Yelp Is A Click Magnet

In conducting research for the latest LocalU Advanced seminar on how users interact with mobile search results, pages with Yelp results are attracting the clicks.  Business profile pages, especially the results that appear with Reviews in the SERP thanks to rich snippets are strong performers.

Below is an example mobile SERP from searching “Minneapolis Plumber”.  On the left is the initial results and on the right is the result of a click test on the best result (roughly 250 clicks).

Mobile search click test for Yelp

You can formulate a number of takeaways on why the Yelp profile for Erik Nelson Plumbing and the Yelp Plumbing Category page dominated the clicks.  51% of the clicks in this test ended up on Yelp’s domain.  Placement/rank, review stars showing via rich snippets, a strong review rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars and the brand trust in Yelp are all easy takes.  I should also note that the click test included the first 5 Google Local Results with only map result A gathering just a handful of clicks, thus I dropped it from the graphic.

Where Yelp was once viewed as a site that restaurants, hotels and other hospitality businesses really had to focus on, now every small business should make sure they are represented well on Yelp.  It can be the largest lead generator for a plumber, a car wash or a dog walker.

Another example, with a hat tip to Matt Siltala for the find, would be a search for “portland haircut” that returns 5 yelp pages as the top results.

yelp dominance in Google search

Will Yelp’s Local Search Placement and Power Last?

The one area I am confused on though is why Google is showing Yelp’s results above their own local product.  If it’s only to help sway the appearance of their anti-trust issues, I still don’t get it.  I’d think that for one reason (money) or another (dominance) Google would kindly shift Yelp’s results below their own local pack listings.

This visibility for Yelp might be short lived, but it’s surely powerful right now.

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