Yelp: We’re Second Only To Google In Local Data Quality

yelp-iconYelp has long maintained that the company has one of the best (if not the best) local data sets out there. There are third parties that have come up with findings that don’t agree with that claim. Recently, Yelp decided to take matters into its own hands and benchmark itself and the quality of its local data against the competition.

You can read in detail about Yelp’s methodology in its blog post. The abbreviated version is the following:

  • Yelp collected 1,000 US business locations in various categories and locations (including international).
  • Yelp “hand verified” these businesses on Yelp and a range of competitors (see chart below).
  • Yelp scored each category and competitor as follows: “we gave each data provider 1 point for each correct datum and 0 points for each incorrect or missing datum”
  • Reviews were not part of the analysis since all the competitors examined didn’t have reviews

Point totals were translated into overall percentages by category and competitor. Here’s Yelp’s chart with the results.

The companies that performed the best in the test are Yelp and Google, with Google being the overall winner (by a nose).

You may be skeptical of these results because Yelp was the source of the test and the results. (Yelp offers to give others a look at the raw data; send a request to dataset@yelp.com). It’s good that Yelp did this. Hopefully it will motivate others (especially third parties) will undertake similar investigations.

Local business listings data sets are typically riddled with errors. They’re also dynamic, with enhancements, changes and business closures happening all the time. Maintaining an accurate local business listings database of millions of records is one of the most challenging areas of internet content. Few people (even marketers) realize how difficult it truly is.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Top News | Yelp

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Brian Reagan

    I would be interested to see how the Better Business Bureau’s Accredited Business Directory stacked up in comparison! They do background checks on their businesses!

  • Brian Reagan

    I would be interested to see how the Better Business Bureau’s Accredited Business Directory stacked up in comparison! They do background checks on their businesses!

  • http://www.webmaxformance.com/ Igor Mateski

    Agree with Brian. BBB is an old player and it is surprising that they’re not included in this research. I’d love to see how BBB stacks up against Yelp too.

  • Rob

    The problem with Yelp is they are trying to automate the review process with filters and they throw out the “Baby with the Bath Water” you can’t ignore problems like this for long without consequences. The fact that they are being sued http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/226832 shows maybe they should consider a better system. At some point to succeed in local business you have to consider the SMB owner who is doing the best they can rather than padding your stats and your wallets.

  • Heidi Dixner

    As a business owner and consumer I hope investors and potential advertisers will consider the poor quality of Yelp’s information. After months of pursuit by Yelp for advertising I was suddenly locked out of my business account when I tried to update my business address. Days later a poor review surfaced from something that happened 11 months before. I have been in business for 9 years and was proud of my perfect record and great reviews. Because Yelp locked me out of my business account I can not respond to the claims made by the former customer; much of which is documented to be untrue. Repeated requests for assistance from Yelp staff have been denied. I now realize this has happened to other business owners on Yelp. Yelp can not complete with Google longterm because it’s information is inaccurate and it’s method for screening reviews is flawed.

  • Heidi Dixner

    As a business owner and consumer I hope investors and potential advertisers will consider the poor quality of Yelp’s information. After months of pursuit by Yelp for advertising I was suddenly locked out of my business account when I tried to update my business address. Days later a poor review surfaced from something that happened 11 months before. I have been in business for 9 years and was proud of my perfect record and great reviews. Because Yelp locked me out of my business account I can not respond to the claims made by the former customer; much of which is documented to be untrue. Repeated requests for assistance from Yelp staff have been denied. I now realize this has happened to other business owners on Yelp. Yelp can not complete with Google longterm because it’s information is inaccurate and it’s method for screening reviews is flawed.

  • http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/ John Warne

    yes Yelp is one of the best local business site where we can get best result for our site

  • http://www.industryleadersmagazine.com/ John Warne

    yes Yelp is one of the best local business site where we can get best result for our site

  • Arun Sharma

    On behalf of screening reviews,Yelp is a good one to go for…but as Google is also preferring the rich snippet code (reviews of the product) for better results…so I dont feel that it would be good enough to compete with google in a long run…Moreover yelp also needs to work on data accuracy too….

  • jasonkovarik

    Greg, is this an update to the article your posted last year? http://searchengineland.com/yellowpages-sites-beat-google-in-local-data-accuracy-test-118467
    If so, why weren’t the same sources used or at least included?

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