In a report published over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo looks to be improving their local search efforts through a partnership with Yelp. The partnership involves including local listings and reviews from Yelp directly within Yahoo’s search results pages; Yelp has a similar partnership with Bing and Apple.
The exact details of the Yahoo-Yelp partnership haven’t been disclosed, as a Yahoo spokeswoman declined to provide a comment. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been trying to improve the Yahoo search experience in a number of ways since taking on her role, this is another example of a way in which she may try to differentiate Yahoo from Google search.
Local search has become increasingly important in terms of SEO, and since people tend to search for local business information on their mobile devices while out and about, it would also be wise for Yahoo to take advantage of Yelp’s features to provide an optimal experience for searching for local businesses on a smartphone.
Some features that we are most likely to see are reviews, photos, and local listings from Yelp incorporated into Yahoo search in a similar way to what Bing is already doing. Marissa Mayer has previously cited a frustration with Yahoo’s relationship with Bing, so it’s also very likely she will try to take it a step further with Yelp’s features in order to gain a competitive advantage. Mayer’s frustration with Bing stems from the fact that they have a deal which stipulates that Microsoft gets 12% of the revenue Yahoo generates from search ads appearing next to search results. Yahoo is unlikely to get out of its contract with Microsoft until at least 2015.
Yahoo is still clinging on to 10.8% of the search market as of December 2013, according to comScore. It will be interesting to see if the Yelp partnership will help them increase their share of the market. We’ll find out in the coming weeks when the new features are said to be unveiled.