Home Forums Local Listings (Citations) Yelp Yelp Part 8 – What does it take in a more competitive market

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    Mike Blumenthal

    Emboldened by my dive bar experiments I wanted to try to break a one box on the search “Custom Jewelry Buffalo” and “Custom Jewelry Williamsville”.

    The result was showing a One-Box for a company called “Buffalo Custom Jewelers” and showing for a broad geography including Buffalo and many of its suburbs. The company was located in the same suburb as Barbara Oliver, Williamsville NY.

    Barbara Oliver, who was showing organically at position two or three during the early summer and her Yelp page was no where to be seen in the first 10 pages of Google results.

    Reviews were created for Barbara Oliver on the following dates


    I had thought that would be enough to break a one pack for Buffalo Custom Jewelry in both Buffalo and Williamsville. It wasn’t so an another created on


    Nothing happened. I checked every several weeks and essentially gave up on the project. Until October 10th. As I was creating a presentation on the topic, I did a mind experiment and realized that it was likely that Google was looking at descriptions and categories as well.

    Since Barbara had a courtesy Yext account and a Moz listing, I made several changes to her listing adding the phrase “Your source for custom jewelry in Buffalo, NY” to her listings on October 10th. I also move jewelry design to the number 2 position for category at Moz and moved the category “Shopping > Jewelry > Custom Jewelry” to number 2 at Yext.

    If I had been more clear headed rather than just thinking of seeing the affect of citation bombing I would have done one or the other first and waited. Not being the patient type I did both.

    On October 20th (and it might have happened sooner) I noticed that the Yelp page for Barbara had made it to the bottom of the second page of the Yelp results for “Custom Jewelry Williamsville”.

    Today, October 24th the one box for both “Custom Jewelry Buffalo” and “Custom Jewelry Williamsville” have been broken. Interestingly Barbara shows for Williamsville but not for Buffalo. But then again neither does “Buffalo Custom Jewelry”.

    Here is the new display
    Custom Jewelry Williamsville, NY

    This is a one box similar to what was showing:

    Mary Bowling

    Mike, are there any conclusions from this experiment that you can share with us?

    Are there any “to dos” you can recommend?

    Mike Blumenthal

    Nothing new here. Just that there is nothing sacrosanct about a one box and it can be impacted.

    1- If there is a One Box that you want to break into you need to increase your relevance compared to the listing that is in the One Box. Barbara had a relevant site page showing for the phrase so it appeared that off site was what was needed.

    2 – The 4 reviews in and of themselves was not enough to “break the box” even with the decline of the one box after the Aug 7th update.

    3- Since we don’t know whether it was the description upgrade at Yelp, Yext or Moz that was the driving force the main conclusion is to be sure that your descriptions/categories at all of your citations accurately reflect your top level concerns and be sure to get reviews.

    4- Given the appearance of the Yelp page on the front page of the search results simultaneously with the result it speaks to the fact that they are an incredibly important player.

    5- The time delay that we saw which was greater than the original tests reflects the time delay in parts or all of the current ecosystem.

    Darren Shaw

    This is exciting research, Mike. It really demonstrates the continued value and importance of citations. It’s not about blasting your NAP across as many directories as possible, it’s about being thoughful and deliberate with your categories and descriptions. Nothing new, but this is good research to back up the recommendation to focus on those things.

    As you noted, it would have been great if you had separated out the Yext and MozLocal changes so we could identify which had the impact. Based on some research I’m doing right now, I’m 95% certain it was the Yext change that had the impact, not MozLocal. I’m saying this because you saw an impact in only 10 days. Yext can push the updated listings within 1 day, and it takes much longer for MozLocal changes to reach the citation sources in its distribution network. I’m not saying that the MozLocal work isn’t a good move. I actually think that making the change at MozLocal is also a very important step, since it reaches some critically important sites, and once those hit, you’ll likely see further benefits. It’s just not going to have the quick short-term impact you’d see with Yext.

    Layla BauderLayla Bauder

    I like what I am seeing here people! Thanks Mike, Mary and Darren!

    Craig J MountCraig J Mount


    Do you think the value of the rating held any importance?

    Kind of late I know… still curious though.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Craig J MountCraig J Mount.
    Mike Blumenthal

    Here is a recent video (part of the Last Week in Local series that appears here every week) that Mary and I did on that topic. My assessment is that no sentiment does not play a role in google ranking. It may play a role in yelp ranking which directly affects Google ranking.

    That being said vis a vis Google when you do a search like best restaurant ellicottville Google is now only showing restaurants that are rated 4.0 or better so we are starting to see some crude version of this.

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