Remember my previous post about reputation management, and why if you’re not in the game, you’re losing out? Here’s a link to that in case you missed it: Reputation Management 101. The news from Yelp & Yahoo should be a wakeup call for brands with no strategy in place, because Yahoo has announced that they will be bringing Yelp reviews to the forefront of your search results. If your business’s ratings weren’t getting any traffic before, they sure will now.
Granted we’re only talking about Yahoo searches here. But in fact, Bing already made this same move nearly two years ago, as reported by TechCrunch. Google does the same thing right now except they’re creating their own with Google+ places for business, whereas Bing and Yahoo are purchasing and pulling theirs from a high-traffic source (Yelp).
That said, it should come as no surprise that Yahoo rolls out something such as this. According to Yelp’s press release, local searches on Yahoo account for nearly 25% of total searches. So not only should this make you develop and/or refine your current direction with reputation management, maybe you need to refresh your SEO strategy as well. This move only furthers the importance of search optimization and reputation management for brands, and shows why they are becoming best buds.
How does this impact Yahoo’s own review pages? It appears they are discarding their own, and incorporating Yelp’s. Now instead of having a separate Yahoo review page, they’re just pulling in Yelp. It seems like a minor switch, but the message here is clear. Your online reputation is going to be more visible than ever.
Brands and businesses need to assess how potential customers are finding you online, via search. Not only that, when they do find you, what’s the first snapshot of your business that they see? Will they see a business with 200+ mixed reviews and no one behind the scenes monitoring it? To a searcher, that looks like a business not interested in hearing what the public says about you. What they should see is a well maintained and monitored page that is addressing customer service issues, and capitalizing on the data left from the reviews. Over the course of 5 years worth of reviews, a searcher should see negative ratings trend to positive ones, progression.