Brian Gil Sets Record Straight On Yahoo Local Reviews

The primary focus of Matt McGee's post-SMX West interview with Yahoo Local Director of Product Management Brian Gil, was to clear up some of the confusion in the blogosphere about the importance of user reviews for business rankings on Yahoo Local.

"Ratings and reviews is certainly a contributor, but it's not the end-all, be-all," Gil said. "And I was trying to clarify that rating and review content from a customer isn't enough, on its own, to let the business qualify to show up for a certain query in the first place."

Gil said that making sure that the "base data" Yahoo had--things like business title, address and category--should be the primary goal, followed by going after the long tail of keywords when it comes to on-page content and Meta tags. He added that consumers were refining their queries on the local search pages and being more descriptive, so long-tail keyword optimization represented a great opportunity.

When asked whether search pros have been blowing the ratings and reviews issue out of proportion, Gil said yes. "I would focus on that long tail and matching, and not worry so much about reviews. I know it's almost starting to play on people's psyche, because they say, 'Oh, no, my competitor has four stars and I only have three!' And while it does ultimately matter, I wouldn't say, from a ranking perspective, that it's where the majority of effort should be focused."

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Tags: search
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