co What Will Become Of Local Search If …? |

Yelp is purchased by Google?

There is a rumor going around – have you heard it? – that Google could purchase Yelp for $500 million. What if that happens? What will become of local search?

First, I’m not convinced that Google will improve local search. I think that Yelp could become an important vertical for Google in the same way that YouTube has. Remember, people were using YouTube well before Google purchased it. It was the No. 1 video sharing site before the acquisition. It still is. And that is largely due to the fact that Google hasn’t made a lot of sweeping changes.

However, there have been changes. That is the Google way. But those changes weren’t sweeping changes that took YouTube away from its original business model.

The benefit to Google in acquiring YouTube is in expanding its audience for its other verticals and apps to a new audience. So it will be in a purchase of Yelp. Google will have access to a small business audience with local businesses and that means a whole new revenue stream for Google. But what will happen to local search?

I think it will change, but there won’t be sweeping changes. Right now, Yelp dominates the local search market. It’s likely that some of that market will walk out the door with a Google purchase. But with Google influence in other areas, they will likely pick up new Yelp customers. And local search will become more popular and more important with Google technology behind it.

What’s your take? Will Google improve local search if it purchases Yelp?