Yelp + SEOMoz Part 2

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:

1. Category Landing Page

2. Category Search Results Page

3. Member Profile Page

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 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.

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8 Response Comments

  • David Rodecker  November 19, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    We use Yelp extensively for Local SEO, however the site is truly optimized better for exposing Yelpers themselves, and less for the businesses.

    Here’s a funny local search side-effect of Yelp on Google Local.
    Search for Google returns Yahoo’s office

  • Doug Heil  November 20, 2007 at 6:47 am

    This is actually on the front page of sphinn? Funny stuff. I’ve discussed this yelp site with a few “other” SEO’s and myself of course. This optimization is good for a SEO fairly new to SEO. Sorry, but that’s about as far as it goes. Maybe the SEO who worked on this is still working on it? You should have reviewed this after about one year or so as then maybe the SEO would be totally done and the benefits would be fully achieved.

  • Andrew Shotland  November 20, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Interesting point Doug in the sense that SEO work is never finished and there may be a number of planned SEO tactics that Yelp has not yet implemented. My take is that if you hire an expensive SEO shop like SEOMoz and make major changes to your site like Yelp and the results are not apparent 5 months after the fact (or much sooner) then something ain’t right.

  • Doug Heil  November 20, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Well, please know that “high price” doesn’t mean great SEO and “low price” does not mean bad SEO.

    All I know is that my firm wasn’t good after only 3 or so years doing this stuff. It can take awhile. Of course; the better you are at promoting yourself… the more clients you may get.

    I’ll give an example of what I mean by “not done” yet.

    That’s a page right of a member site who is listed under “german restaurants”. The “root” of things is here:

    The first page/url should be something like this: .php

    …instead of the ugly one above, and should be in the same folder …/german/…. easy to do. Check the title tag for that “review” page for the restaurant as well.

    That’s just one reason that maybe things are not done as of yet. I can find many, many things that are either not done,… or won’t be done.

  • Andrew Shotland  November 20, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    Good catch David. Doug, thanks for the tips (or perhaps Yelp should thank you).

  • Dr. SEO  December 18, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    Their search directory tactic is a nice one for catching the long tail. Has anyone seen this used on ecommerce sites?

  • Craig Mullins  March 9, 2009 at 2:03 am

    Any plans to release a guide to rank higher in yelp?

  • Andrew Shotland  March 9, 2009 at 9:09 am

    1. Get a lot of reviews
    2. Make sure most reviewers have attractive women as avatars 🙂