Yelp Shows Phone Numbers in Local Search Results

Either Yelp or Google – or some combination thereof – has decided your phone number should show up in the search results, rather than just on your Yelp listing.

Here’s how a typical listing might have appeared until recently:

And here it is now:

As you can see, the phone number appears in the description tag.  In this case, the description is dynamically generated by Google (Yelp didn’t add the phone number to the description tag).  What’s not clear to me yet is whether Yelp recently made any markup changes to its listings that might have encouraged Google to stick the phone number into the description tag.

I can’t chalk it up to, “Well, now Google just likes to show phone numbers from local directories.”  I’m not seeing phone numbers in BBB or YellowPages or other directory results.

My guess is that Yelp wanted this.  Wouldn’t a call-tracking number in Yelp’s super-visible search results be a nice way for Yelp to “prove” its value as an advertising medium to business owners?

They’re not encouraging higher click-through by giving searchers more info in the search results.  So the phone number would have to pull some weight right there in the SERPs – if this change is intentional and part of a plan to boost ad revenue.

That’s my best guess, anyway.

When did you first notice phone numbers in Yelp search results?

Does the source code tell you anything about how Yelp might have encouraged Google to insert the phone number dynamically into the description tags?

How do you think this might help Yelp – and help or hurt business owners?

Leave a comment!

Dummy Links: Part of a Smart Local SEO Strategy

https://www.flickr.com/photos/us7thfleet/8092179893/

What I like to call “dummy links” are links that you can get with a little commitment of resources, but without having to think too hard.

You’ll need to earn some good links (from other, relevant sites to your site) if you want to rank well in the local search results.  If you’re in a semi-competitive market, that is.  If you’re trying to rank for “Tulsa taxidermist,” you’ll probably do just fine without.

Too many business owners – and their marketing companies – think local SEO is just a matter of citations and on-page optimization and your Google My Business page and maybe getting a few reviews.  What gets overlooked is how much overlap there is between “local” SEO and classic organic SEO.  Links affect not only your rankings on the map, but also your rankings for search terms for which Google doesn’t show the map.

In my experience, links are usually the main reason that big ugly corporations fare better in the local search results than they should.

Still, most people who know links affect their visibility never really try to get them.  Business owners don’t know where to start, don’t want to pay for work with long-term payoff, or don’t want to invest much at all.  Marketing companies don’t know what to do, either, and don’t want to bill their clients for work that takes thinking, that has only long-term payoff, and that maybe doesn’t look as good on paper as “Built 50 links this month!”

I’ll assume you’re different: you’ll do what you can to get relevant, non-spammy links, if you just know roughly what direction to go.

That’s why I’ve put together this list of doable, straightforward link opportunities:

https://goo.gl/tLl6Dl

 

They’re link opportunities that may require a few minutes of research on your part, but that don’t require you to think, “OK, so what do I write, and then how do I do outreach to try to get someone to read the damn thing and link to it?”

They’re also not the types of links that any dolt could buy by the thousands on Fiverr or Upwork or ODesk – the kind Google usually likes for about a two months before putting your site in the box.

 

I’ve listed real-life examples, where possible.

Are there other ways to earn high-payoff links?  Of course.  (Here’s an excellent resource.)  Building an audience and becoming an “authority” is great.  Assuming you’ve taken care of first things first, I’ll be the last guy to try to talk you out of that.

The point is you don’t have to try something that takes years or that has a steep learning curve, just to get the kinds of links that can help your local visibility.

Grab 10 link opportunities from the list and try to execute on them over the next few months.

Any other good “dummy link” opportunities you can think of?

Any questions?

Leave a comment!

Why Send Good Customers to Crappy Review Sites?

Isn’t that a huge waste? Think of how hard you worked to learn your craft, start your business, stay in business, get customers, and do a great job for them and earn those positive reviews. That’s why it’s stupid not to ask for online reviews.  That’s even stupider than Stone Cold.  You’re missing half the […]

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Online Scheduling: on the Rise in Google and a Local Search Ranking Factor?

I want to emphasize that I have not tested this – even to the extent you can “test” anything in local search. Rather, I’ve just observed a couple things: 1.  Google seems to integrate online “Make an appointment” software into local businesses’ knowledge graphs more often than it used to. 2.  Businesses with the “Make […]

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The Most Obscure “Rule” in Google My Business – a Nasty Surprise

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jayvee/6317802466/

A few days ago I wrote about a tricky issue I seem to have figured out based on a hunch: that having two or more Google My Business pages in the same service area can cause problems if you need to owner-verify one of the pages. When I was troubleshooting with my client, I couldn’t […]

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Unverified Google My Business Pages Now Showing in SERPs

Update 4/2/16: This appears to have been a result of a now-resolved bug.  Thanks to Priya Chandra for letting me know. How can you tell whether a Google My Business page is unverified?  Now Google will just show you in the SERPs if you search for it by name. It used to be a little tricky to tell whether […]

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Google My Business Mails Verification Postcard to the Wrong Address: What to Do

Did your Google My Business verification postcard end up in the wrong neighborhood? (goo.gl/S6DEks) Yesterday I did a consultation for a guy whose client – an HVAC contractor – had a problem with duplicate Google pages. Just two pages – one for each office location.  Each location served mostly different cities, with a little overlap. […]

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Yelp Elite Saga Ends in Blaze of Glory

After 3 years as an “Elite” Yelper, I get this email out of the blue: I’m only surprised by how long it took them to wisen up.  My Yelping was an experiment from the very beginning.  Also, since my profile has had a link to my site from day one. Of course, their “conflict of […]

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How to Bulk-Identify Prime Yelp Reviewers with Yelp’s “Find Friends” Feature in 7 Easy Steps

https://www.flickr.com/photos/digislides/6066906966/

You may know about Yelp’s “Find Friends” feature, which allows you to see whether specific customers (or other people) have joined Yelp.  This is a great way to encourage customers to write you a review, in a non-pushy way. You may even know there’s a way to look up customers en masse.  You can connect […]

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Moz Local My Business Console Debuts: Quick Facts and Thoughts

Today Moz rolled out the My Business Console, as a part of the Moz Local suite of tools and resources.  Moz engineers Mark Corley and Dudley Carr gave me a tour of it the other day, and it looks useful for multi-location businesses and SEOs. You can read the full announcement, or my TL;DR version […]

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