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!
Linda Buquet says
Interesting… thanks Phil!
Plus looks like there is a review snippet instead of a meta description.
Thanks, Linda. The review snippets have been showing for some time.
Brian Barwig says
Better make sure your Yelp profiles are optimized. Review Stars, Phone numbers and Reviews are showing for that listing.
If you search “a query yelp” you get different results. The Review Stars and Phone numbers till show but the reviews are mostly gone. The meta is typically showing the address, partial description and maybe a review.
Good stuff Phil and Linda.
Brian Barwig says
By search a query, I meant to search a query – DUI Lawyer Yelp – not literally “a query yelp”….for clarification.
Good catch, Brian. I do see less in the description for those Yelp-specific searches. The phone number still shows up – and at the front, no less. That reviews excerpts don’t always show in the description tag makes sense to me, though: they now mention the review count in the title tag. To the extent Yelp can influence how Google dynamically generates descriptions, seems to me Yelp would want to avoid redundancy.
Brian Barwig says
We know Google likes to change the Titles/Descriptions of websites whenever it feels and G is most likely changing the Description of Yelp to show the phone number first. This could lead to less click thrus to Yelp’s page as potential customers may simply call from G after they see the number in the SERP.
Looking into the future….What if G begins adding the number to all Descriptions to small businesses in the SERPs? This could lead to a huge problem. Less traffic to websites, less phone calls from CTNs SEO’s provide the business and a much more difficult time proving value.
I’ll take off my tinfoil hat now.
Tim Colling says
Brian, I think you have a very valid speculation here. Google may be doing this precisely to keep users from going to Yelp and then using THAT search engine (Yelp’s) to do further searching.
I wouldn’t put it past Google!
I saw some SEO tests at the top of the Yelp source code for one of my clients, but it’s all dynamic variables with interesting names like “meta_page_linking_seo_experiment” and “biz_details_title_seo_experiment_v5”.
I tried firing up the Wayback Machine to look at the source code, but I got stuck in a captcha loop. Maybe someone else will have better luck.
Thanks, Jesse. I noticed those tests and thought the same thing.
Colleen Harris says
Very Cool. I have a SERP screenshot from the 16th that included the business Yelp listing, and it wasn’t included in the SERP.
Darren Shaw says
Very interesting! I looked at the source and the phone number only appears once on the page. It is marked up in schema.
I don’t think Yelp forced this. I think Google just started adding it. Possibly to reduce traffic to Yelp from the SERPs.
Google does not appear to be doing this on any other business listing site. Just Yelp.
Yeah, that’s my suspicion, too. Although…Yelp has had that info marked up in Schema for years.
Michael Andrews says
I am actually seeing phone and full address for my SERP search results. Just a few questions that we might not have answers to yet:
Do you think this is kind of Google’s “Direct Answers” for local listings from Yelp? I would assume that having this information prominent in the SERPs would reduce clicks to Yelp.
Or is Google finally rewarding sites that utilize schema properly?
Tim Colling says
I see it too, as of today. Thanks Phil.
Matt Maglodi says
We actually noticed that just today. Very interesting for both sides.