By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated February 10, 2014.
The once dominant Yahoo is scraping and clawing to steal market share from Google any way it can. Under ex-Googler and now Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer’s watch, the company has been aggressively working to improve its search engine and its latest move is a partnership with Yelp.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mayer unveiled Yahoo’s partnership with the local business listings and reviews site at an employee meeting on Friday. Yelp’s content will soon find its way into Yahoo’s search results, the paper reported.
“We are long in search, and we do intend to continue to invest in the search user experience, and in really making sure that Yahoo users on the network ultimately really get a tremendous experience,” Mayer told analysts, according to Marketwatch.
We caught up with Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, to get his take on the new deal. He told us the new Yelp content will be helpful to Yahoo as part of incremental improvements to its search experience. He also offered a significant “but.”
“I would not expect any significant market share changes. Yahoo has an opportunity in mobile to gain ‘search’ share with the right mobile apps. We will see how the company uses this content if at all in mobile,” Sterling said. “Bing has a deal with Yelp that is similar. That has not had any significant impact on Bing usage.”
Mayer needs to do something in the realm of search. According to comScore, Yahoo has 10.8 percent of the search market. That compares to Google’s 67.3 percent and Microsoft’s 18.2 percent. After paying out partnership revenues to Microsoft in the fourth quarter, Yahoo posted $461 million in revenues, an 8 percent increase. But it’s still not enough to regain the company’s former search glory.
More Essential Facts
Of course, Yahoo isn’t resting on Yelp’s laurels alone. In January, the company updated Yahoo Search to make it easier to get the essential facts for any business in the U.S. right on the search results page, according to Anad Chandrasekaran, senior director of Product Management at Yahoo.
“When it comes to searching for local content, we know you want to take action. If you’re checking out a restaurant, you want to peruse the menu, see if it’s open, and maybe make a reservation,” he said. “If you’re looking for a new dentist, you want to know whether the office near you is accepting new patients, and if they take your insurance.”
As an example, whether you’re searching for the nearest open restaurant or your local coffee shop, you’ll see a snapshot of the business alongside a refreshed Yahoo Maps experience. Specifically, you’ll see information like a company overview, photos, hours of operation, parking availability and more.
“With a noticeably larger map that stays put on the sidebar, it’s easier to find the location closest to you,” Chandrasekaran said.