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Yelp Earnings Report Shows Strength In Mobile Search

Yelp’s number of mobile unique visitors surpassed that of desktop unique visitors for the first time last quarter, solidifying the company’s status in the mobile search space.

Though Yelp’s shares are plunging, according to yesterday’s quarterly report, the company’s monthly mobile visitors grew 22 percent quarter-over-quarter to reach about 83 million. Yelp also saw a 51 percent QoQ growth for app unique devices.

“Consumers are increasingly turning to apps when using their mobile phones, and we are excited about the growth we’ve seen in app usage,” says Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive (CEO) of Yelp. “We believe our rich content married with our highly-differentiated local advertising product will position us well to capture a meaningful share of the large local market.”

According to the report, Yelp’s reviews grew 35 percent year-over-year, while local advertising accounts grew 40 percent during that period. According to Ryan Johnson, director of search at Chicago content agency Imagination Publishing, local dominance is what initially carved out Yelp’s place in the general search space.

“If you search for auto repair, Yelp is at the top of the page, even above the Google pack,” Johnson says. “Because Yelp has a very high domain authority and because they specialize in local results, which most companies don’t, for every topic, they’re able to dominate the local search results for almost every type of business you’d search for.

“I think Google has tried to glom onto some of what Yelp is doing by creating that local pack, more or less forcing local businesses to start a Google business page if they want to succeed and be on page one,” he continues, adding that Yelp already had such a foothold in local search by the time Google started.

As Yelp generates more user trust and becomes more of a player, it only makes sense for that to transfer over to another medium, as more people search from their mobile devices.

Yelp’s ubiquity has helped position the company as a trusted source in consumers’ eyes, but Johnson thinks there’s another factor in their mobile success. Yelp’s mobile webpage doesn’t have a particularly pleasant user experience, often including a giant pop-up prompt to download the app. Many people do, both for the superior UX and because they know and trust Yelp.

“Mobile has become more common, but the way Google’s algorithm reads and presents search results, particularly local search results, benefits Yelp” he says. “Google has prioritized all of the things that Yelp does really well. I’m sure that doesn’t make Google happy because they want to take over that space with things like Google Reviews and local packs, but they don’t know how they can effectively screen out Yelp without screening out other businesses.”

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