Here’s Part II from last week’s SEO analysis of Yelp. Sorry it took so long.
In this week’s episode we are going to analyze the following pages on Yelp:
Category Landing Page
Previously a Category link from a City Page would take you to what I call a Category Search Results Page (e.g. a list of restaurants in the city). Now Yelp has added a Category Landing Page which displays a list of top businesese, sub categories (e.g. Chinese Restaurants), neighborhoods and other Category-related info (FYI I am not 100% sure this is a new page but I don’t recall seeing it before). This is a good idea in that it creates a robust page about the main category – in this case Restaurants in Austin – with a lot of good keywords. Theoretically this page should do well for searches for “Atlanta restaurants” although it does not rank well yet. In addition this page should help Yelp boost its rankings for “neighborhood”+”restaurants” searches. Also for cuisine type searches like “Atlanta German Restaurants“.
Related Post: How To Update Your Yelp Business Listing. Good tips if you want to add a business listing to Yelp.
Category Search Results Page (SRP)
The new SRP now displays related categories at the top of the page and a list of businesses for the searched category below. Once again it appears the strategy is to reinforce the related category names at the expense of the business names. I am starting to like this strategy more and more although I think it does create a usability issue in that all of these category links are getting in the way of the seeing the businesses and reviews which is the stuff people are looking for afterall. And as they implement more advertising these results will likely get even harder to find. I have yet to see a yellow-pages-like site that has successfully incorporated ads and usability. I am sure Yelp is working hard on that one.
Member Profile Page
Nothing special here except they are blocking all links except those leading to the Category Pages or the Business Profile Pages via the Business Name.
I haven’t noticed Yelp showing up more often in my searches but then again I am not looking for the coolest bar in a city or the hottest tattoo parlor (I know, they are much more mainstream than you think but it’s always fun to be one of those know-nothing pundits who just repeats what everyone else in local search says and since it’s inception Yelp has been saddled by the industry with the “local search only for hipsters” label). If you look at Compete.com they are showing that Yelp’s traffic jumped 10% in September but then came back down in October. If you believe they have a base of 4 million monthly users then adding 400K in a month ain’t bad at all, but if it really came back down it may be time to pull a few more tricks out of the SEO bag. Of course only Yelp really knows for sure.
One of the hard parts about SEO is that if you do see a traffic decrease it’s tough for the SEO consultant to argue that had there been no SEO that the decrease would have been even more dramatic.
All other things being equal I would expect that SEOMoz’ strategy should continue to improve Yelp’s rankings as they accumulate more inbound links. Nice work SEOMoz.