It looks like Yelp may have gotten its wish – for Google not to use its data for Place Pages. It is still unclear to me how less search engine visibility is a good thing, but, Google Place Pages appear to have eliminated Yelp.
This was first spotted by TechCrunch, and is as of yet unconfirmed, but doing various searches (including one I did for a previous article on the subject, which used to return Yelp content), Yelp content appears to be gone from Place Pages.
Now Yelp gets less exposure from Google, which dominates the search market. Even in Google’s organic listings, Place Pages are getting a great deal of prominence. In this query, I couldn’t even find a Yelp result without scrolling down. Meanwhile, the Place Page sits right at the top with a big image and other formatted text to draw attention to it:
Earlier this month, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and Google VP of Product Management John Hanke shared a stage at TechCrunch’s Social Currency CrunchUp. Stoppelman expressed Yelp’s disdain for the situation, while Hanke explained that Google aims to serve the best content to its users.
The situation could be compared to the Google News debate that has been going on for years. It’s simply a case of Google providing links and snippets for a site.
Now Google users can get more exposure (and links) to Yelp competitors like Urbanspoon, Citysearch, Yahoo Local, and others. What a win for Yelp.
Do a lot of people use Yelp? Sure. As many as Google? I don’t think so. I have to wonder how many Yelp users have traditionally gotten there through Google. With less prominence in Google, I suspect less people will go to Yelp.