Case Study: How To Do Social For Lawyers

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: social media doesn’t work in legal. (Seriously – we’ve said it here, and we have a running office joke that we’re going to fix all of our client’s problems by curating Pinterest boards.)

What follows is a tale of extraordinary social media success; the story of a law firm that multiplied their traffic by 1800% overnight with one blog post.

The aforementioned client isn’t new to the Internet – they’ve been doing quite well for themselves for years. Here is their all traffic graph for January through May 2015. Traffic is bumping along at ~1,200 sessions/week – pretty good for a law firm.


Here is that same graph if you extend the date range to include the first two weeks of June:


You’re seeing that right – 22,335 sessions in one week.

Here is the social only traffic (broken down by day, this time):


The high point? 4,295 unique visitors in one day.

As a result of this blog post, the client received over 500 form fills and so many phone calls the front desk literally could not handle the volume. On the third day of the phone ringing off the hook we replaced the phone number on the blog post to send callers directly to a call center dedicated for this purpose.

So How’d They Do It?

  1. Relevant, timely, and interesting content…
  2. Promoted via social media advertising…
  3. Using a very small budget.

The firm is based in the Midwest, and practices personal injury, employment, and class action law. They’ve been regularly writing blog posts for a while now, promoting a select few via Facebook and LinkedIn promoted posts. While many have done well, none have had the incredible success of the case in point.

So why did it succeed? It is high quality, but not a literary masterpiece. It’s well structured, grammatically correct, and contains links to related resources. It provides valuable information that isn’t being published anywhere else and it’s relevant to things happening right now, and it was highly targeted to reach those directly invested in its topic.

Additionally, it was promoted via social media advertising, not just posted on social media. The chances that simply posting an article to your law firms Facebook page will generate clients is next to zero. Those chances are greatly improved if you pay to ensure that that article is put in front of a relevant audience.

Unfortunately for those trying to replicate this success, there is no shortcut or magic pill that can make your phone ring off the hook. This is a classic example of hard work paying off and committing to a plan. The firm could have sworn off blogging after the first 10 posts didn’t result in much, but they stuck to it and always followed the golden rule: produce high quality, relevant content.

Oh, and the total spend to date? $110, give or take a buck.

How To Set Up Pharmaceutical PPC for Law Firms

According to Adwords Policies, Google restricts the promotion of healthcare-related content such as prescription medication. This does not mean, however, that law firms cannot advertise to those who may have been injured by said prescription drugs. It is possible (and in compliance with AdWords Policies) to run informational ads involving pharmaceutical drugs – if you can figure out how.

The key lies in a Pharmaceutical Informational Certification. Here’s how to get one:

Step 1. Build your PPC Campaigns

Create your PPC campaign like you normally would. You’ll likely encounter your first hurdle if you mention a specific drug name in your ads. You will get the following alert when attempting to save your ad:

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.06.57 AM

Press the + Details button, and you’ll get the following message:

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.07.09 AM

Assuming your ads are indeed not promoting pharmaceuticals, select the request a review box, and save your ad.

Step 2. Check Ad/Keyword Status

Once your ads have been approved, it may appear that your campaigns are ready to rumble. Your keywords will likely show an Eligible status, as shown below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.04.20 AM

Your ads will show the following limited approval message – with the links taking you to Google’s Advertising Policies re: Healthcare and Medicines.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 11.18.10 AM

While that all seems swell, if you were to leave your campaign to run you’d find it wouldn’t get any clicks/impressions. To get the full picture, hover over the comment bubble in the status column of an individual ad or keyword. In all likelihood, you’ll get the red arrow of doom letting you know that, no, your ads are not running because:

Your ads relate to a restricted product or service. In order for your ads to start running, you’ll need to apply for specific approval.

You with your logical mind are probably assuming this notice will link to a page where you can apply for specific approval. While that would be nice, in reality you will be taken to Google’s support page for “Ads not showing: What can I do?”, suggesting you raise your quality score or raise your bid. Therefore, your next step is to…

Step 3. Contact AdWords Support

Reach out to an AdWords Support Specialist and ask for a Pharmaceutical Informational Certification. However, before you do, ensure your website meets the following criteria:

  • Physical address of your law firm is present on site
  • Pharmaceutical name is not in your domain name (Google will refer to this as your URL, but in our experience they really mean domain. For example, is not going to work, but is fine)
  • Information about each individual lawyer (in the form of a biography)

Where’d we get the list? Directly from the Support Specialists we’ve been in contact with. Both have claimed this information is not available in the AdWords Help documentation because “there are too many business types to list them all out.” Interpret that as you will (and if anyone has been able to find documentation on this, let us know!).

Nonetheless, those appear to be the three things required. Once you’ve made sure your site is up to snuff, open up a chat with an AdWords Help specialist and ask for a Pharmaceutical Informational Certification for a law firm. They’ll verify your site meets the three qualifications above, and then, if all goes well, escalate your account to the policy team.

Step 4. Wait

At some point in the hopefully near future, you’ll receive and email from your AdWords Support Specialist letting you know the deal. It’ll look something like this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 10.00.43 AM

Yes, you read that correctly. Your account goes from your AdWords Support Specialist, is escalated to the Policy team, returned back to your AdWords Support Specialist, escalated to the Ads Approval Team, and returned back to your AdWords Support Specialist.

Once that dance is done, your AdWords Support Specialist will call you and let you know you’ve received your Pharmaceutical Informational Certification! In theory, all of this escalation and de-escalation will lead to the certification being applied to your domain within 24 hours of your initial inquiry.

Pat yourself on the back, crack open a beer, and bemoan the $60+ CPC’s you’ll soon get to endure.

Upcoming Google Algorithm Update – Say Goodbye to Doorway Pages

Google announced yesterday that they will soon be releasing a ranking adjustment to address the prevalence of doorway pages and warns “sites with large and well-established doorway campaigns might see a broad impact from this change.”

Brace yourself – big things are coming. Due to the pervasiveness of spam within legal, we’re predicting this may be a bigger shakeup than Pigeon (which really only hit spectacularly flagrant local spammers) or even the upcoming mobile change.

Wait, what’s a doorway page?

In the words of Google, “doorways are sites or pages created to rank highly for specific search queries. They are bad for users because they can lead to multiple pages in user search results, where each result ends up taking the user to essentially the same destination.”

Don’t confuse doorway pages with landing pages. Landing pages provide useful, relevant information to the user whose purpose is to get users to do a certain action. Doorway pages contain irrelevant information whose only purpose is to get users to the site.

If you’re not sure if your site is full of doorway pages, Google created this handy dandy list of questions you can ask yourself (or your SEO):

  • Is the purpose to optimize for search engines and funnel visitors into the actual usable or relevant portion of your site, or are they an integral part of your site’s user experience?
  • Are the pages intended to rank on generic terms yet the content presented on the page is very specific?
  • Do the pages duplicate useful aggregations of items (locations, products, etc.) that already exist on the site for the purpose of capturing more search traffic?
  • Are these pages made solely for drawing affiliate traffic and sending users along without creating unique value in content or functionality?
  • Do these pages exist as an “island?” Are they difficult or impossible to navigate to from other parts of your site? Are links to such pages from other pages within the site or network of sites created just for search engines?

What does this mean for the legal industry?

Our guess? Big things. Although the most typical culprits of doorways are large brands and franchises, the legal industry is not only notorious for spammy SEO tactics, but also for trying to act like large brands and franchises.  Andrew Shotland of Local SEO Guide summed it up nicely when he said: “This update may be no big deal, but when I see Google use the phrase “broad impact”, I tend to get a bit paranoid.”

Our guesstimates of what might be coming:

  • Legal is rife with low quality spammy directories with nothing but doorway pages – highly possible that this adjustment negatively impacts law firm sites that rely heavily on doorways for links. (And there are tons of these sites.)
  • Lots of law firms have successfully implemented doorway pages across multiple domains. They are going to get hit – expect a reshuffling of website traffic at a rate legal hasn’t seen in a very long time.
  • Possible changes in the structure of the two remaining large legal directories directories, Avvo and FindLaw.

This may also be the long awaited fulfillment of Google’s move away from the directories and towards the small businesses that populate those directories. Of course, this has been our prognostication ~2 years and we’ve been wrong so far, but, fingers crossed.  (Think we’re crazy? We’re not alone in this sentiment — in his coverage of the doorway update, Shotland goes so far as to suggest shorting Yelp.)

Hasn’t Google been rather busy lately?

Yep. If you’re wondering if there’s something in the water at Google lately, you’re not alone. They’re penalizing doorway pages, implementing mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal in mobile search, putting everything in the knowledge graph, releasing all sorts of new tools, and more.

However, doorways aren’t a new thing, so it’s about time Google addressed the issue. Matt Cutts, infamous head of Web Spam at Google currently on leave, wrote about crappy doorway pages back in 2005. As in, the 2005 that was 10 years ago. (Note: its a good read if you’d like to see the primary spokesperson of a billion dollar company perfect the implementation of the word “asshat.”) Plus, all of Google’s actions have been consistent with their mission to provide more helpful, user-friendly search results.

Regardless of the impact of the update, we’ll keep you posted on the fallout. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got high hopes this one will be nicknamed Platypus.

Speed Doesn’t Kill (a.k.a. our love affair with WPEngine)

There are many ways to radically improve site speed, but the simplest is often to change hosts. Take Client X, for example. Before our engagement, their website was on a host that technically did it’s job by keeping the website online, but left a lot to be desired in terms of site speed.  We recommended they make the switch to our favorite host, WP Engine. They agreed, and we saw a drastic improvement in their site speed.

According to pingdom, the average load time went from ~6.29 seconds to ~1.2 seconds. Not perfect, but quite literally 5x faster than the site was on it’s previous host.

speed kills

WP Engine credits their remarkable site speed to their proprietary EverCache system – their “secret sauce” that makes their websites perform. We’re also fans of their speedy servers, expertise on how to optimize for wordpress performance, and stellar customer support. As an added bonus, they “automatically scan for, and fix, hacking attempts” to your website. Last but not least, they automatically backup their sites on a daily basis, which has been a lifesaver more times than we can count.

Granted, WP Engine is slightly more expensive than other hosts, but at $29/month it’s not exactly breaking the bank. Plus it’s completely worth it. As you may recall, Google takes site speed into account when determining rankings. Switching to WP Engine -> faster website -> better rankings -> more traffic to your website -> more phone calls -> more clients.

And did we mention automatic backups?

And if you’d like some help with the transition . . . we’d be happy to lend a hand . . . between Mockingbird and WP Engine the only thing you’ll notice is your site’s new lightening fast load speeds.  And while we are talking about hosting . . . if your provider charges you a penny more than $29 monthly to host your website, you have been taken to the cleaners.

P.S. In our humble opinion, the best customer support person working at WP Engine is Michael Anthony. He’s awesome. Seriously, somebody give that guy a raise.

How To Update Your Business Information on the 4 Main Data Aggregators

In a relentless quest to become the most reliable provider of data on the web, Google and Bing do their best to display correct contact information for every business. In order to do this, search engines rely on data aggregators, which vary by country, to provide reliable information. Other directory sites, such as Yelp and Yellow Pages, also pull information from these major data aggregators. If your business information is incorrect in the aggregator databases, you can expect it to be displayed incorrectly in numerous other places across the web. Therefore, making sure your business information is correct on applicable data aggregators should be at the top of your local search improvement to do list.

According to Moz, there are four main data aggregators in the U.S.: Infogroup, Acxiom, Localeze and Factual. Unfortunately, figuring out where and how to check and change your business information in these aggregators is often more difficult than it should be. We’ve broken down each directory to give you a quick look into what’s required to update information in each one.

[We’ve also scored each directory in Pigeons. In this game, the fewer pigeons, the less annoying the aggregator is to work with.]


Annoyance level:  Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.00.53 AM

Infogroup is without a doubt the easiest to navigate of the four aggregators. It’s simple to find your listing and to update your information once you’ve claimed your listing. You can manage multiple locations under one account, and the verification process is relatively painless. On the downside, there doesn’t seem to be a set process for removing duplicates. Your best bet in that situation is to give them a call, or to claim all duplicate listings and delete the ones you don’t want.

How to Claim Your Listing & Update Information:Express Update

  1. Search for you business via phone number, business name, or address.
  2. If no business appears, click “add it now.” Otherwise, skip to step 4.
  3. Enter business information. Wait for an email saying your listing has been approved.
  4. Complete phone verification. As you press the “Yes, Call me now” button, the screen will refresh and display a 4-digit verification code. Simultaneously, they will call the number listed. The call will be automated and prompt you to enter the code.
  5. Once the call is complete, you will be prompted to sign up for an account.
  6. Once you have phone verified and created an account, you can update the business information by clicking on the business name in the upper left of your account dashboard.


Nuestar Localeze

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.35.38 AMAnnoyance level:  Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.03.45 AM

On the surface, Localeze follows a similar process to Infogroup. The major differentiator is that for a free listing, Localeze only allows you to update your information once a year. NOTE: lately (the past 3 weeks, give or take) Localeze has been impossibly glitchy. It’s favorite new party trick is to show your listing, prompt you to claim it, and then redirect you to your main account page when you press “claim now.” It’s other new favorite thing is to serve an “Sorry, an error happened while processing your request” page every few minutes.

How to Claim Your Listing & Update Information:

  1. Search for your business. Request to claim or press “add it to our directory.”
  2. Fill out your remaining business information and/or replace any incorrect information. Select whether you want a free or paid listing.
  3. Complete phone verification. When you press “call me” Localeze will call the number listed and an automated voice will give you a code to enter into the website.
  4. Press “proceed to checkout.” You’ll be redirected to a page prompting you to create an account. Don’t worry, your hard work is not lost — the listing will be submitted as soon as your account is created.

May the odds be ever in your favor.



Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.34.48 AMAnnoyance level: Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 10.04.14 AM

Acxiom is the most frustrating to work with of the four. However, since it’s verification processes are so stringent, one can only hope it is therefore weighed more heavily in the eyes of the search engines. If you have a semi-established presence on the web, it’s likely your business is already listed on Acxiom.

How to Claim Your Listing & Update Information:

  1. Create an account using your name, business name and location, user name, and password (which must be 10+ characters, have no repeating characters, and contain at least one number, one upper case letter, one lower case letter, and one special character).
  2. Verify your account via email.
  3. Search for your business via phone number or business name. If it’s listed, request to claim it. If not, skip to step 6.
  4. Complete phone verification. In order to complete this step, you must call Acxiom from the phone number on your business listing, and navigate through their pre-recorded answering system in order to leave a message with your business name and your account user name. NOTE: You must state your business name exactly as it appears on the listing. If there’s an “LLC” or “Inc.” after your business name, you must include it in your message or your attempt to claim will be rejected.
  5. After you leave a message, you’ll need to wait a few days until Acxiom reviews it and then sends you an email with approval. From there, you can edit all your listing information – with the exception of your business name and phone number. Note: If either of these are incorrect, the only way to get correct information listed is to delete that listing and create a new one. In order to delete the listing, you will have to claim the listing by following the process above and delete the listing yourself.
  6. To create a new listing, you are required to enter your business information, and upload one of the following: federal tax license letter, business license, doing business as license, or fictitious name registration. Then, you’ll need to wait at least 30 days for Acxiom to approve your edit.
*The following sections have been updated as of July 10, 2017

Claiming and Fixing Multiple Listings*

If you have multiple business locations, or have found multiple listings of your business that are incorrect, the process to claim and fix/remove these will be a little more complicated.

For example, your business may have 3 different locations, but you discover 8 listings with your business name and an incorrect phone number (and address) on Acxiom. Your only choice here is to try and get these removed. However, with every additional listing over 5 that you claim, Acxiom charges $50. Obviously you want to avoid forking over an extra $150.

The below steps outline the best plan of action for getting these removed:

  1. Collect documents showing proof of ownership of the correct listings. Like the process above, you will need either a federal tax license letter, business license, doing business as license, or fictitious name registration to show that you own each business location. If your business USED to be in a different location but has moved, and thus is the basis for the incorrect listings, be sure to provide documentation for this as well.
  2. Draft an e-mail to explaining your circumstances. Be as detailed as possible, listing what citations and information is incorrect. Be sure to specify that you want the listings removed. Note whether they are duplicates of your correct listings, are old business locations, or simply do not exist.
  3. Attach documents to the e-mail. Be sure to explain that the documents show proof of ownership of the business and the several business locations.
  4. Include your Acxciom account username/e-mail address so Acxiom knows what account you want to claim the listings from.
  5. Send the e-mail and wait. You should either receive an e-mail back from support directly OR you will get a confirmation e-mail saying that they have claimed the listings for you. If the latter is the case, the listings will then appear as Claimed in your Acxiom account and you will delete them manually. If the former is the case, hopefully Support was able to remove them for you, or let you know that they need additional info. Acxiom does not provide any information on how long it will take for them to get back to you. *sad face*
  6. Wait, again. Acxiom says that your listing will take approximately 30-60 days to propagate. Once the incorrect listings are removed, it will take a while for this to push out to other directories. This will significantly help your NAP consistency across the web.

If Your Listing is Already Claimed*

If you come across your listing on Acxiom, and it is already claimed and is incorrect, your best bet is to contact Acxiom support ( and request ownership. If you think you already claimed the listing and have forgotten your login credentials, be sure to note that in the e-mail. Acxiom may request further verification to prove that you own the business.

If you have found a listing that is claimed and does have correct business information, it may be too much of a hassle to go through the claiming process just to have access to it. If you do decide that you want to claim it, contact Support via explaining your circumstances.


Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 8.44.59 AMAnnoyance level: all of it

At first blush, Factual seems pretty standard. There are options to log in, add your business, etc. However, a few months ago they changed their model. Now, you can only change your business information 1 of 2 ways.

  1. Write API.
  2. Through a “trusted data contributor” like Yext, Where 2 Get It, Moz, UBL or GoDaddy. Read: through sources you have to pay for.

In a nutshell, Factual has made it impossible for a non-developer to edit their business information for free.


Tips for the Road

First things first, claim or create your listings in Infogroup, Localeze, and Acxiom. Make sure this information exactly matches what appears on your website/Google + listing. Moving forward, any time you stumble across incorrect information about your business, do your best to correct it.


What do you think? Are our pigeon scores correct?

A Change in AdWords Third-Party Management Policy (for the better)

Last week, Google announced the launch of a new third-party policy for AdWords, expected to take effect November 2014. At Mockingbird, we’re big proponents of being transparent with our clients and making sure they own and have access to everything we do for them. For us, the improvements are reinforcing what we already do. For others, though, it may be a wake up call.

What’s the current third-party management policy?

Here’s a cliff notes version of Google’s current AdWords policy, as summarized from their Third-Party Policy page. Third-party managers…

  1. Must provide advertisers with monthly data on AdWords cost, clicks, and impressions.
  2. Must provide the Google Disclosure notice to small and medium-sized clients.
  3. May not engage in unclear, deceptive, or harassing sales practices.
  4. May not misrepresent their relationship to Google.
  5. May not make improper guarantees about Google to clients.
  6. May not violate Google’s branding guidelines.
  7. May not improperly use AdWords accounts.

In a nutshell – don’t be sketchy. You are a third party Google AdWords marketer, not Google. You are charging clients money to manage this account. You can’t guarantee that with your help they will win the Internet.


Google’s changes to the policy (as discussed here) include the addition of the following points:

  • Management fees – If you charge management fees, which you probably do, you must disclose them to your client.
  • Customer IDs – a customer ID is how Google identifies your AdWords account. You must provide this to your client so they can speak directly to Google about their account.

In a nutshell – seriously, don’t be sketchy. If you’re charging people money to manage their AdWords account, you have to tell them. You also need to give your clients the ability to talk to Google directly.

3 Questions to Ask About Your Third-Party AdWords Manager

To protect yourself from a potentially less-than-stellar third-party AdWords manager, we recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How much money are you spending on ads, and how much are you spending on the management of those ads? Keeping in mind that you get what you pay for when it comes to professional management services, if the numbers seem ridiculous, they probably are.
  2. How many clients are you getting from this advertising? 1? 2? 200? How does this compare to your cost per client in your other marketing channels?
  3. Are you allowed to access your own AdWords data? If you can’t, that’s a good indication you should run for the hills.

If you’re having issues with a third party manager and want to tell Google about it, you can fill out a complaint here.
If you’re having issues with a third party manager and want to hire a new one, you can read more about us here.

Its Here – Penguin 3.0 (and Webinar for Law Firms)

It’s been a busy weekend on the Internet. Friday, internet-dwellers became aware of a long awaited Google algorithm update, Penguin 3.0. Mockingbird Marketing will be hosting a Webinar, Tuesday, October 28th at 1:00 PDT to help you self-diagnose if Penguin 3.0 has impacted your site and what to do about it if it has. Webinar Signup: Penguin 3.0 Diagnosis for Law Firms.

Penguin Refresher Course

Google told us this was coming (we wrote about it last week), and here at Mockingbird we’ve been anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. Penguin is an algorithm update first released in 2012 that aims to put the hurt on sites with spammy backlinks. It’s a particularly interesting update because it appears that if Penguin has penalized a site, no matter how much backlink cleanup you do, the site won’t be able to recover until the next update. Considering the last update was over a year ago, a lot of sites have been sitting in limbo for a long time.

How to Tell if You’ve been Penguin-ed

We ran a quick study this morning on our clients, looking specifically at our top 20 clients with the most traffic. To see how Penguin affected our clients, we compared the natural traffic average of the four weekends prior to the natural traffic this past weekend.  If this pattern holds (and thats a big if – we’re dealing with just two days of data here) – 25% of the sites saw a increase of more than 15% and one got hammered.

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 3.43.43 PM

[Note: we are by no means suggesting this is 100% accurate data. Two days worth of traffic is hardly enough to perform a complete study with – but this methodology should serve you well in diagnosing the impact of Penguin 3.0 on your site’s traffic once another week or two passes.  We’ll walk you through this process step by step on the webinar.]

In any case, this is what we found:

For the most part, to our delight, our clients faired well – with a quarter seeing a large boost and only one getting hit. A few clients experienced a huge increase in traffic. Uncoincidentally, we’ve spent a ton of time cleaning up the spammy efforts of previous agencies to sanitize the backlink profiles of these sites.

To see the effect of Penguin 3.0 on your site, we recommend following the same steps:

  1. Filter your Google Analytics data to only show organic traffic.
  2. Get your average traffic for the past four weekends (or if you can wait until Friday, the past four weeks).
  3. Compare this number to your traffic this past weekend. Take it all with a grain of salt, and consider what else is going on. Did you just re-launch your site? Have you been experiencing a steady decline in traffic for a while? And also remember – your best bet is to wait for at least a week to see a clear picture.
  4. Cheer, cry, or shrug, depending on your results.

Still confused?

If you have a website and you or someone on your behalf has ever done less-than-white-hat link building, keep a close eye on your traffic. If it takes a turn for the worse, there’s a good chance you are feeling the force of this Penguin smack down.

If you want to learn if the Penguin update affected your site, tune into our Webinar Tuesday, October 28th at 1:00 PDT.

Yelp Releases Nielsen Survey Data and Declares Itself King of Local Directories

A few days ago, Yelp released parts of a new Nielsen survey on their blog. The results, as stated by Yelp, were as follows:

“When compared to TripAdvisor, Angie’s List, and other local directories, people name Yelp as the review site most frequently used when searching for local businesses because they see it as the most influential, most trustworthy and with the highest quality reviews.”

This news was picked up and commented on by many, such as Greg Sterling over in Search Engine Land. His response article voiced a few concerns about the study…

First and foremost, why weren’t Google and Facebook included? According to Yelp, Google and Facebook aren’t “solely focused on local business directory,” and therefore were not eligible. Though technically correct, it’s important to keep in mind that there is certainly a person or two (or millions) who used Google and Facebook when searching for a local businesses.

Another concern Sterling brought up is that 668 out of the 1000 respondents were Yelp users. Yelp’s response? They didn’t pre-screen users based on which review sites they used, so the skew merely shows dominance in the market. Again, a technically sound defense. Whether or not that affects the integrity of the survey is another issue.

So, what does this mean for me (a lawyer, SEO enthusiast, or general internet dweller)?

Well, uhm, er, basically… a whole lot of nothing.

At first glance, Yelp declaring itself the fairest of them all may send you into a panic chasing after more Yelp reviews. And that, my friends, is not necessary. Don’t get me wrong, Yelp is a strong player and is very influential, especially in certain industries. But you, the Internet savant you are, already knew that. What may have slipped your mind is the following:

  1. This survey compares Yelp as a general local directory to a handful of competitors as general local directories. It was not (as far as we know) divided up into sub-categories for each industry. So, yes, Yelp apparently beats out Trip Advisor for the review site more frequently used when searching for local businesses. This does not mean that Yelp would beat out Trip Advisor in a similar survey that solely focused on the travel industry. Additionally, Yelp being a good general local directory doesn’t take away from efforts you may be putting in to a more specialized directory.
  2. Two thirds of the respondents were already Yelp users. Generally speaking, if people are using a service, they probably like it (read: it’s not exactly a scientific discovery that people who use Yelp like Yelp and rated it highly). If we surveyed a bunch of Avvo users on whether or not they thought Avvo was influential and trustworthy, chances are they would say it was.
  3. Just because Yelp has officially decreed themselves King of Local Directories doesn’t mean anything has actually changed. Yelp is equally as important to your SEO efforts today as it was a week ago. So while the Neilson study was without a doubt helpful in boosting Yelp’s collective ego, it wasn’t necessarily helpful for a business owner.


Moral of this story: keep on keepin’ on. Don’t let Yelp, or anyone else for that matter, convince you they’re the reason the sun rises.