So Yahoo made an official announcement of their integration of Yelp in to their Local Search listings today, but while they are calling this a “5 Star Experience” the results themselves really do not support those claims.
I started with a Yahoo search for a favorite local pub – Longbow Pub and Pantry. Did not know that was their actual name so entered “Longbow bar and grill” and got the result below. Serious points off for their actual search results, but they did get the sidebar listing right.
Seems Yahoo is running a location-based result for the sidebar Yelp content, but some bizarre method for their actual search results. They are not using geo-targeting as Google does (see their result below), and they seem to break the term ‘Longbow’ in their results too. Okay, Yahoo no use of my IP to influence your SERPs, but WHY would you break up the search term right at the start of the results? If you want to be taken seriously in the search space you have to give back better results than the ones you are giving now. If you expect Yahoo Local to be competitive with Google you need to change some things.
Obviously from the results above Google has the localization down – Yelp has the second result even. If Yahoo wants to actually get in to local search they are going to need to improve their game.
So let’s move deeper in to their local search results. Unlike Google you need to work a little harder when you do local searches on your PC which has to decrease their search volume. To get to the information you need to click on the Local link to the left. This will take you to the results below – the Yahoo version of the Yelp listing for my desired result. But while that is a plus, they drop the ball again with what happens there.
Yahoo Local Scrapping, Dead Links
Okay they now own Yelp so using their content is understandable – but why they are scraping AOL for their business description is not. Why not include Yelp’s? Are they trying to avoid duplicate content issues on Google’s results, maybe hoping to impact AOL’s?
And the suggestions area has some flaws. The one dead link pointed out above is just bad programming – you pulled it so why would it be dead. But the result for Lone Star made me laugh – again Yahoo is providing the result and yet they default question themselves. Seriously Yahoo you need to have a team meeting and get everyone on the same page. A clear methodology without these errors would help bring back some authority to the brand.
Yahoo Localworks Needs Work
If the intent was to get businesses to buy a Yahoo or other listing, Yahoo hides that option way down in the listing.
The Yahoo Localworks which launched last year is not really getting a major push in their own business listings. Instead it is buried at the bottom of the information where most businesses rarely scroll.
If Yahoo wants to get their local business services working more profitably they need to have that link higher up the result. It is almost like the business is an after thought, listings that have not been claimed and options to get in to other relevant places should be given more importance. While the result is for the customer/searcher, it is also part of a company’s brand and online presence.
If Yahoo wants to really make Localworks a service used by small businesses they need to do a better job. “Yahoo! Localworks is a tool from Yahoo! Small Business that gives small businesses the ability to increase visibility to new and current customers and stand out from the competition on more than 40 top search engines, apps, and mapping services,” their site states. Start by dropping the “40 top search engines” a statement many see as spammy, though it is at the start and includes other options, it just reflects poor choice in wording.
Yahoo Local Just Going For Mobile?
There is the possibility that Yahoo has surrendered the desktop space to Google and are concentrating on the mobile search space given its major growth. The result for the same search on my iPhone goes directly to the result I wanted. I was asked if the search could use the location of my phone and given I live only half a mile away it was not difficult to put us together. Now why they did not make use of my IP address as Google did is a big fail for a local effort.
My Review Of Yahoo Local Barely 2 Stars
The Local Search experience is not 5 star, in my opinion it is struggling to get past a 2. If you have any experiences with Yahoo Local or an opinion on this new launch please share in the comments below. Let’s get Yahoo’s attention and maybe they will improve things for small businesses.Yahoo Local Adds Yelp, NOT 5 Star Experience by FrankWatson