By Kelly Marcus
In the most recent sign of Yahoo’s ongoing resource realignment, Yahoo Maps officially reaches the end of its road at the end of June—just shy of a decade’s journey.
This comes as a shock to few SEOs, given the minimal reach Yahoo was able to muster versus competitors like Google and Apple. For example, according to ComScore, the average multi-platform reach of Yahoo Maps is around five million people. To put that in perspective, the multi-platform reach of Google Maps is around 144 million.
While Yahoo’s market share seems significant as an independent number, it’s likely that this shutdown will have a minimal impact on local search due to the popularity of Google and Apple Maps. The shutdown applies only apply to maps.yahoo.com. Mapping technology will still be available on Yahoo Search and its various platforms such as Flickr.
So what’s next for Yahoo in the mapping sector? It seems most likely the company will find a third-party mapping technology provider to take over mapping services and remove it from internal Yahoo management, similar to what Yahoo accomplished with the Yahoo-Bing search deal back in 2009. Moreover, Yahoo needs to be a player in mobile search, so it can’t do without a maps feature.
The most likely result of the Yahoo Maps suspension will be an increase in referral traffic from Google Maps and Apple Maps, as frequent Yahoo users are forced to find alternative platforms.
Local businesses should place an emphasis on having up-to-date and accurate information on their Google Maps & Bing Maps listings. Local listing management systems are helpful when managing citations, NAPs, and other business information.
Monitoring analytics will also be essential in determining if this suspension strongly impacts traffic. If it does, you want to make sure your local assets and landing pages are optimized. Most experts believe it will be difficult to determine any impact in traffic until early to mid-August.
Because the suspension of mapping services is limited to maps.yahoo.com, local businesses should continue to monitor traffic from Yahoo, as the company will continue to use its mapping features in its search engine. If Yahoo users remain dedicated to the platform, they may continue to use Yahoo as a local listing search platform with the absence of maps. In any case, businesses should still maintain their Yahoo listings and monitor referral traffic from both yahoo.com and local.yahoo.com.
Kelly is an SEO Analyst on the Travel Team at Acronym Media. Kelly supports the team in executing a variety of efforts including on-page, off-page, and technical optimizations with special focus on local search optimization. She has enhanced the SEO strategy for high-profile clients such as Four Seasons, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, and Denihan Hotel Group.
Prior to Acronym, Kelly graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with degrees in Public Relations and Psychology. She has past experience in public relations, marketing, paid search, and social media.