In the past few months, tensions have grown between two internet powerhouses: Google and Yelp. The main conflict? Both companies seem intent on being the most popular destination for local business searches and local business reviews. While Google has taken several steps to dethrone Yelp, Yelp has fought back by claiming Google isn’t playing fair.
Let’s take a look at the timeline:
- Earlier this year, Google made some significant changes to their algorithm – the formula they use to rank search results. Although we don’t know exactly what those changes were, many have noticed that they may have affected which review sites land in the top positions when users search for local businesses or reviews.
- This week, Google released an update of their popular app, Google Maps. The mobile app, which has always had a focus on directions and locations, has a number of new features that match Yelp’s app, including an “Explore” feature that helps users find well-rated shops and restaurants. It is hard to ignore the similarities between the new Google features and the Yelp features.
- Also just this week, Yelp filed a complaint against Google for allegedly changing search results to benefit Google. Specifically, the complaint states that Google+ pages and reviews appear above Yelp reviews, even when the word Yelp is included in the search criteria.
So, what does this mean for small businesses and law firms who are trying to boost their business by being active on review websites? At this point, it is tough to say. Much of the outcome will depend upon the results of the formal complaint as well as the success of the new version of Google Maps. If authorities find that Google is not using fair business practices, the company could face serious consequences. But if the search powerhouse continues to control users’ web navigation as much as it does at present, Yelp may find itself fading into the background as Google continues to gain power.
From an internet marketing point of view, the best action to take right now is to stay on your current path: actively collect reviews for both Google and Yelp – and make sure your profiles are completed and updated on both sites.
Do you have more questions about how to promote your law firm or other business online? Are you lacking online review and aren’t sure what to do? Contact The Search Ninjas today to learn more about our services: (410) 929-5610.