Google falls behind old favourites in local search

Posted on April 27, 2012


A recent study into the effectiveness of mobile local search in the US has produced some surprising results, with Google slipping behind Yellow Pages in key areas.

The study, conducted by Implied Intelligence, looked at various providers of “SoLoMo”, to look at the accuracy and completeness of business listings. Despite the amount of resources that Google has thrown at the area, the Californian giant only managed third in the overall rankings.

One thousand local businesses were crawled and checked in the study, which analysed the results of sites including Bing Maps, Foursquare, Google Maps, Yellow Pages sites and Yelp. Chains and franchises were omitted from the study.

Results were evaluated according to whether the listing was present at all, whether they were duplicated, how accurate the information was and what additional information was provided.

No site managed to provide information for all 1,000 businesses in the study, though Google did manage the highest coverage, with 80%. Pioneers in the field, Foursquare, were a surprising last in the study, posting just 16.7% return rates.

With regards to the number of errors, Yellow Pages performed best, a result replicated by the amount of additional information that was provided.

The overall best performing sites were Superpages and – both Yellow Pages sites. Google Maps came in third. Foursquare remained in last place overall, whilst the much applauded Yelp did not perform too well in any area.

It is unclear whether these results would be replicated exactly in the UK, but it is likely there would be similarities, which SEO focusing on mobile searches needs to be aware of.

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