When it comes to search engines, Yahoo has fallen to a distant third behind Google and Bing. However, now that it is partnering with the popular directory Yelp, that statistic may change. Yelp’s listings may help with local searches for users that utilize Yahoo. This is big news for any business that serves local customers.
Why Local is Important
More people are using their smartphones while they are out to find locations and information. When they perform a search, they don’t want national listings; they want businesses that are nearby. A search engine that can find the most relevant and highest number of local results will gain an advantage.
This is obviously a playing field for the search engines to compete on with Yelp and Yahoo teaming up and Microsoft and Foursquare partnering together. People are searching for the most relevant information from where they are right now; the search engine that provides the best results may win this battle.
A Chance for Yahoo to Compete
For 2013, Yahoo ranked third in search engine traffic at 10.8%, with Microsoft slightly ahead at 18.2% for Bing. Google captured the majority of the market at 67.3%. The CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, has revamped Yahoo’s search technology to enable it to better compete with the other engines. Coincidentally, Ms. Mayer was the leader of search for Google and attempted to acquire Yelp for that company back in 2009. She obviously still sees the company as an integral part of search, and this time she wants it for Yahoo.
Most of Yelp’s business is tied to local advertising and mobile. Many analysts say that the latest partnership with Yelp and Yahoo is an effort for the search engine to once again become a search leader like it once was. Speculation is running rampant that the new search engine will focus more on mobile than the traditional desktop. This may give it the edge to not only compete with Microsoft but to chip away at the market share that Google currently holds. A market share that it once had access to when the internet first began.
What Will This Mean for Businesses?
There will be two major impacts on businesses. First, those who have a solid reputation with good reviews on Yelp will fare better in Yahoo’s search results. This proves that even businesses that have a physical location and serve local customers need to be aware of their online presence.
Second, if Yahoo gains strength as a search engine, companies will not only need to focus on keeping Google happy but discovering what makes Yahoo happy. The result will be top ranking on both search engines. While both search engines often run similar results for searches, there is a lot of disparity in many situations. Businesses that want to succeed will be spending time and money figuring out how to win on two search engines. Local search will be an integral part of that in the future.
Author: Spencer Frandsen is the expert in online marketing, with years of experience working with companies like mobile app developer Perpetuating, directing and implementing more than 500 digital marketing campaigns. He is fluent in HTML, CSS, PHP, and Russian and is pursuing his economics degree at the University of Utah.