While it may be true that Yelp has been in the game since 2004, longer than its arch nemesis and rival Google+, but to claim that “no one uses Google+” is a statement that is very much up for debate. Even, “Yelp is so much more popular” has its own set of misassumptions.
Google is Considerably Larger
The behemoth that is Google is one of the most recognizable and popular search engines in the world. Everyone knows what Google is and almost everyone has googled something before in his or her life. Yelp has 142 million users whereas Google has 540 million , so clearly Yelp is nowhere near its competition when it comes to the number of users.
Integration with Other Google Products
Google has found a way to integrate Google+ into every search. An 83% of local Google searches will show Google+ in one way or another . That’s quite a significant amount of exposure if you ask me. Think of every Google related platform (Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube) and how much exposure Google+ has because of its wide-spread integration. The sheer amount of platform diversity should be enough to keep Google+ in mind.
Google Has the Algorithm
This works against Yelp as it does not have the search engine advantage that Google does. I do not mean that Yelp has not tried to establish its dominance in the market in a similar manner. It has come up with an app that allows you to use its service without the need to go through a search engine. But the fact that users have to keep an app open only for reviews will always be less efficient, as compared to simply typing a few keywords into a search bar, or asking Siri for reviews on local restaurants.
Google Makes Reviews Easier and More Credible
Writing reviews on Google+ is so much easier than writing reviews on Yelp because Google can determine whether an account is genuine or not, based on the fact that it can easily corroborate how active the intending reviewer is on other Google platforms like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Maps etc . It is relatively easy for Google to spot fake accounts because of these links. For Yelp reviewers, they have to go through a series of filters, which to the impatient reviewer can be somewhat discouraging, leading them to write their review elsewhere, like Google+.
The New Yellow Pages
Prior to Google+, Yelp was the next best thing to digitalize Yellow Pages. Yelp still remains popular among a lot of people, but with the birth of Google+ in 2012, Yelp has had to face stiff competition and it is likely to continue facing stiffer competition as Google+ continues to grow and expand.
Google is indeed a domineering giant in Yelp’s face, but perhaps Yelp’s fortunes may be turned around if Yahoo decides to try repurchase the company in the future. After Yahoo’s 2009 $1 billion counter offer to Google’s initial $500 million buyout , it would be interesting to see what Yahoo would be willing to pay this time round to increase its market share.