Yahoo and Yelp Partner in Hopes of Optimizing Local Search

In an effort to better compete with Google and Microsoft’s Bing, Yahoo has paired up with Yelp to optimize local search engine results. Yelp’s listings and reviews of local businesses will be integrated into Yahoo’s search functionality. The partnership follows in the footsteps of Microsoft’s recent deal with Foursquare, a mobile check-in software maker. As consumers become increasingly dependent on smartphones to navigate the world, data about local businesses in search engines has become more important.

Unfortunately for Yahoo, a 2010 pact with Microsoft gives the Redmond software giant 12 percent of the revenue Yahoo generates from search ads appearing adjacent to search results.

“Yahoo is unlikely to get out of its contract with Microsoft until at least 2015, the midpoint of the 10-year agreement, when either party is permitted to opt out,” reports The Wall Street Journal.

Search ads currently comprise one-third of Yahoo’s revenue, which rose 8 percent to $461 million in 2013’s fourth quarter. Meanwhile, in December Google claimed 67.3 percent of the search market, Microsoft had 18.2 percent, and Yahoo only claimed 10.8 percent. Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer previously worked at Google, and attempted to acquire Yelp in 2009 for $500 million.

“At a conference last year,” notes the article, “Ms. Mayer compared Yahoo’s search strategy to a winemaker who buys grapes from a vineyard: ‘You can grow your own grapes or buy them from someone else and still make a wine with your own style.’”

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