Yelp Complains That Its Being Outranked By Google+ Local Listings

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Yelp Complains That Its Being Outranked By Google+ Local Listings

TechCrunch broke the news today that a  Yelp internal document was recently leaked online claiming Google is promoting its own content at the expense of users.

The presentation gives examples of how Google+ local listings appear first in Google’s search results, ahead of Yelp, even in instances when the word “Yelp” is specifically included in the search query.

Here’s an example of a Google search for “gary danko yelp”. Gary Danko is a popular San Francisco restaurant, and this example shows how Google is serving links to reviews published on Google+ ahead of a link to Yelp’s page for the restaurant.

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According to the Yelp document, 20% of users in a test group clicked on the Google+ results after searching for “gary danko yelp.”

Yelp alleges that Google “appears to be intentionally serving up search results that contradict the users’ intent” in order to favor its Google+ local listings.”

A spokesperson for Google has said, “We build Google Search for our users and our goal is to provide the right information at just the right time.” 

Yelp’s complaint comes at a time when an EU antitrust settlement proposal is being pushed by European Commissioner For Competition Joaquín Almunia. The proposal is facing opposition from critics as the settlement would let Google off without admitting to any wrongdoing.

The settlement would also let Google off without fines for using its search engine to hinder competitors in local business listings and comparison shopping. Those fines could potentially reach into the billions of dollars.

The New York Times reported today that Yelp recently joined a formal complaint about the leniency of the EU antitrust settlement with Google. A source told TechCrunch that the Yelp internal document helped inspire the action of joining a formal complaint.

For more details, you can see the full Yelp document below:

TechCrunch: Confidential Yelp User Behavior Study On Google Results

Matt Southern
Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. His passion for helping people in all aspects of online marketing... Read Full Bio
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  • scottmckirahan

    Are you seeing something I am not seeing? The first listing is for – the restaurant’s page (not a Google+ page) and the search DID start with that. All other results are Yelp ones. Don’t get me wrong; I am the first person to shout from the rooftops that Google’s search results suck, which is why I use now. But, you could find a billion similar instances of a search where the result is not an exact phrase match and it has nothing at all to do with Google+ or any Google property for that matter. If you reverse the search and enter “yelp gary danko” you will see that Yelp is, indeed, the first result! And, if people weren’t too stupid these days to use search operators, they’d type in “gary danko” + yelp and once again get Yelp as the first result. This is what happens when you don’t know how to search properly. Can’t blame the search engine for people’s own stupidity.

  • Norton Loomer

    Why wouldn’t Yelp be outranked by Google+ Local Listings? Yelp is awful anyway.

    One correction to point out. The article title should be “Yelp Complains That It’s Being Outranked…” You are looking for the contraction form of “It is”, not the possessive pronoun.

  • SudoRank (@SudoRank)

    Google have been doing this to small businesses for years!

    The only difference between Yelp and the hairdresser down the road is that Yelp have a few million pound and a large enough soap box to shout from.

  • Eric Spivak

    I mean… It’s not like Yelp! extorts businesses and manipulates rankings that disrupt revenue or anything… oh wait

  • Laser Skin Treat

    The less of Yelp customers are seeing the better. Yelp’s review system isn’t relevant anyway, so I actually appreciate when other results are ranking higher. I would actually go as far as replace all (but one) SERP results to show all other review sites, instead of Yelp. THIS will up the quality of the SERP, not multiple pages of useless Yelp crap.

  • Patrick Coombe

    Wait what is Yelp?

  • Brian Jackson

    Wow, obviously people don’t know how Google+ pages work. If you google a brand name, usually the brand’s homepage will always return first. And in the picture, the only reason Google+ is coming up first is because it is a verified local listing verified with his domain name. The Google+ search above is not a separate listing in SERPs. I realize they put yelp afterwards, but the brand name is still going to pull his domain name first simply because it should have more authority… Maybe Yelp should learn how SERPs work before making documents like this. Does Yelp think they should be returning before the brand name’s own domain lol?

  • Rajesh Magar

    That’s really interesting and I think Yelp deserve to be rank top when someone specifically added brand name in search term.

    Also Matt I have one small question…That. How did they track clicks performance date from search results? I their any tools available to track click performance for search listing?

    Thank you!