Yes we all know by now that Google Places has a new look for their SERPs (one which I really dig by the way) but I want to talk about who I still think comes out the winner in all this – Yelp. If you remember, Yelp fought hard to get themselves removed from the “reviews” area of the Places page (or as I like to call it “reviews jail”), insisting that Google was stealing their content. What it really boiled down to, is that people didn’t have to actually CLICK and go to Yelp to see any of the reviews, because they were right there in the Google Places listing for people to read. Yelp ended up getting what they wanted, and getting the reviews removed from this “reviews jail”.
Bring on yesterdays changes – Here is a before and after look of the same local search SERP (note where you do not find Yelp in the reviews area, but one of the top results on the regular SERP listings.) Also note where you still find Yelp – dominating the top of the organic SERPs (right where I’d want to be if I were them). You know Yelp is benefiting greatly, and getting loads of traffic from these organic listings.
As Yelp continues to be free from the “reviews jail” that Google had placed them in, and enjoys these top organic rankings (for virtually any and all queries I did anyway) they are going stay the DOMINATING force in reviews. I know a lot of people locally who have told me they search for a business just to find & read the Yelp reviews. IMO – Yelp is winning the reviews battle (for now) with Google. Yelp has always had good rankings in Google, but as I said earlier – there has yet to be a search I did where I did not find the Yelp listing in one of the top 3 organic spots. Again I say, win for Yelp.
I reached out to my Yelp contacts (who I adore) for comment on the new SERP change, and they politely said “sorry, have to pass”.
Thanks to Greg over at SEL for making me think of this (from his post this morning on Google raising the local search stake).