Local Search

3 Reasons Yahoo! Local Search Can Dominate Google

This week has been filled with news and commentary regarding Yahoo’s release of the new Yahoo! Local. The enhanced system integrates a number of new and exciting elements, all presented to the user in order to deliver a higher quality experience.

For search marketers, Yahoo! Local is exciting because it can be identified as one weak spot where Google can quickly be dethroned. Of course, that all depends on how things play out — but I’m impressed by what I am seeing. With that idea in mind, here are three reasons Yahoo! Local should become the local search giant.

Engaging Content
Unlike Google, Yahoo operates as a true web portal as it provides a wealth of services to it’s audience of users. Everything, from games to fantasy sports, entertainment news to auto reviews — is all in one place. Google, once acclaimed for it’s simplicity — cannot compete here.

My point here is this… When it comes time to integrate local search results, Yahoo has more opportunities. Google fails to tie it’s services together in a portal like setting. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Universal Search is the limit to which Google can deliver a user experience without overhauling everything they do.

We have all heard the real estate mantra of “Location, Location, Location…” and in this case, Yahoo has all the prime real estate to attract local search users.

Local Results are Dependant Upon Social Activity
When it comes down to the number of people searching, Google is clearly the market leader. When it comes down to actively registered users though, Yahoo takes the cake. This is a key component to social search game that many people overlook.

In order to be effective, social search results need to tie in levels of personalization. Everything from photos and menus to reviews and ratings are all tied in to a strong social search result. These elements are not created on their own, they are contributed by users of the entire global system, and again, Yahoo has an advantage here.

The Head Start
Yahoo! Directory was once a prime spot for an inbound link, packed with PageRank for SEO’s to abuse. The price tag though at $300 annually, was an investment that many business owners questioned. Today that investment could be the perfect starting point for Yahoo to exploit a weakness of Google.

For each registered business paying for a directory listing, Yahoo has information on file. Using this information alongside it’s third party data providers, Yahoo can begin offering enhanced local search results. These results would be the product of tapping multiple resources to create a highly personalized and branded result without leaving the context of the search results.

Doing this would do a few things, all of which should benefit Yahoo. First, it would attract new buyers to Yahoo, therefore introducing more revenue. Second, it would serve as a vehicle to revive the Yahoo! Directory at a time where the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) is vulnerable.

Finally, it would put Yahoo back on the map at one of the most influential times in the search industry. Google has begun to grow beyond it’s means, and while experiencing those growing pains — Yahoo! Local looks great. It will all come down to the simple matter of how far Yahoo is willing to push this product out. Based on everything I have seen and experienced, this is a great opportunity for Yahoo! — I just hope they take that opportunity and do not hesitate to look back.

Involved in the industry since 1999, Eric currently manages organic optimization at a Fortune 500 organization. In addition to contributing here on Search Engine Journal, Eric maintains a blog and consulting business at www.ericlander.com.

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5 thoughts on “3 Reasons Yahoo! Local Search Can Dominate Google

  1. I am thrilled to see Yahoo pulling ahead of Google! I have been asking for years why Google hasn’t updated the functionality, features and look and feel of their site. I also agree that the Google search engine does not always return the greatest or most relevant results; most times I find better search results on Yahoo!

    Not only that, but the MAIN reason why I choose to use Yahoo over Google is because they’ve actually taken the time to think about the USER and have expanded their site and services… It’s all about convenience. I love that it’s a one-stop shopping experience… I can go there to get great search results while also glancing over the Top News stories. While I’m there I can also find videos, music, games, Yahoo maps , Yahoo Local, current weather in my area, and so much more, all in the same place.. Yahoo’s site is very clean and is well-chunked; it’s easy to read and easy to find what you’re looking for, which is why people come to the site in the first place. Yahoo also nicely showcases the Top News Stories by using tabs and categorizing the news. And hey! – Did you guys know that you can customize the background color of your own Yahoo! page by clicking the “Page Options” link towards the top right corner of the page.??? Mine is currently “Tangerine” ;-)

    The bottom line is that Google is just not meeting the needs of today’s Internet users…

    Well done Yahoo!

  2. I first discussed the potential of Yahoo!’s local ambitions back in February this year. So I’m glad to see that others are seeing the same as me.

    But prior to that, I talked about how Yahoo! could well have conceded ‘regular’ search to Google so that they can concentrate on local search, as well as other niche areas, like mobile in-car search, for example.

    The world of search doesn’t live and breath by Google, and I think Yahoo! are well aware of this…