Earlier this week, I wrote a blog for Search Engine Guide in which I discussed the upcoming release of Apple's new mapping software for the iOS 6 mobile operating system. Apple has mentioned that Yelp will be used for localized and geo-targeted search services within the new application. However, this partnership with Apple marks just one of two major milestones for Yelp, as the company also recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to provide local results for Bing.
Two Big Moves; One Real Winner
By providing its popular local search services for both Apple and Bing, Yelp is both enhancing its brand and its revenues. In the first quarter of 2012, Yelp claimed an average of 71 million unique visits per month and 6.3 million have accessed the site via mobile devices. Partnering with established brands such as Apple and Bing is only bound to increase those already impressive figures and reinforce Yelp's position in the local search market. While Apple and Bing are both likely to benefit from their respective deals; Yelp is the undisputed beneficiary.
What About Google?
Google+ Local is undoubtedly Yelp's primary competitor in the geo-targeted and localized search industry and it is certainly a formidable adversary. With G+ Local being firmly integrated into many of Google's core services, Yelp will have to remain focused on these crucial new partnerships and maximize its user base. Apple's decision to replace Google Maps may give Yelp the upper hand, but only time will tell if Google Maps will retain all of its +150 million users following the iOS 6 release this fall.
The Future of Localized Search
With Yelp and Google+ Local poised to square off in the months ahead, the future of localized search is a concern of virtually all digital marketers. Local listings on Google will continue to be a cornerstone of geo-targeted online marketing campaigns, but the value of Yelp is sure to increase exponentially going forward. Regardless of which brand emerges as the number one local search engine, the rise of Yelp offers a significant new platform for geo-targeted search marketing and is definitely a wise investment for SEOs.