Local Traffic ‘Diversion’ Starts Ugly Fight With Google
Local search traffic is an important part for local businesses with online presence. Moreover, it is also an integral aspect of the mobile search results.
According to an estimate, this local search traffic represents somewhere between 30 to 40% of the overall mobile search results. It is, by no means, should be taken lightly.
However, a recent issue — which Google claims is only a ‘bug’ — has started an ugly fight on the web. And many people — it also includes Yelp.com — is pointing fingers at Google.
Let’s start by explaining with the problem is, though.
The problem that surfaced out is that for a few local navigational searches — for example, Hilton or TripAdvisor — Google isn’t showing the intended search results as it should. Instead of that, Google is showing its own Local OneBox at the top of the results.
Yelp — along with many other people and local search experts — are claiming that it is being done intentionally by Google. Why? Because they can.
However, Google is claiming that is just a bug which is awaiting a fix. Yelp doesn’t buy it. They say it is intentional, and that it is a cheap trick for traffic diversion.
When Yelp was contacted to comment further on this issue, they explained that one of the ways Google identifies local search results is by “co-occurrence signals”. It is Google’s own term. According to Yelp, Google uses this co-occurrence signal to divert traffic that would otherwise go to third-party websites, such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, or ZocDoc, etc.
As I mentioned earlier, Google claims that it is not intentional. Instead, it is just a ‘bug’, and a fix will resolve this issue very soon.
We will be keeping an eye on this to see if a fix comes up soon makes this problem go away.
Until then, which party are you going to believe?