Perplexity AI Seen Pulling User-Generated Content From Yelp

It appears that Yelp has become a main content contributor for the Perplexity AI engine, according to BrightEdge's analysis. 

BrightEdge on Thursday released analysis from its Generative Parser technology that measures and tracks patterns in AI-generated search results. Perplexity AI, and Google Search Generative Experience (SGE) are the two main engines that the company's technology tracks.

“Perplexity has become an interesting dynamic in the market, because it operates a little bit more like a research engine,” said Jim Yu, founder of BrightEdge, a company focused on AI-run organic search. “It provides citation from trusted sources from user-generated content."

Perplexity and Yelp revealed the content deal in March. Maps, reviews and responses related to recommendations on venues, businesses, and restaurants, for example, are part of that deal. The engine mixes text and links to provide a more complete answer.



The engine licenses Yelp local business content, through the Yelp Fusion data licensing program, to surface specific business information like ratings, descriptions and photos within Perplexity’s search engine. Yelp data is not used to train Perplexity’s large language models (LLMs) or other AI solutions. 

Monitoring the shift in AI search engines has become essential for marketers to help them understand new patterns and key changes in content formats such as product views, AI warnings, and carousel shopping results.

Location has become important, too. Similar to Google, the data shows Perplexity wants to serve results that can drive traffic to physical locations. Yu said the parser data suggests Yelp also will play an important role in location-based services, and become one of the biggest technology sources that AI engines will use.

General search engines will become experts in specific services, rather than generalists, Yu said, and users will turn to different engines for specific reasons. 

“I envision a world where when someone searches for well-researched answers, they might turn to Perplexity," he said. "But if they are planning a trip, they might turn to Google. If they are working on a project for their business, they might turn to Microsoft Co-Pilot because it has a very powerful index.”

BrightEdge's parser also identified new patterns in Google services. Beginning in mid-April, Google significantly reduced SGE search query results. The drop was at the expense of opt-In results, which are usually the most common type of result to serve up.

AI results known as "collapsed" were unaffected by this change, but the parser does show that search results without SGE have increased significantly from 25% to 65%.

“It’s interesting because in the lab environment they would increase the amount of AI results,” Yu said. “And now they have dialed it back. The collapsed AI results, where is show you an AI snippet, have been unaffected by the change.”

Apparel carousels are changing, too. Results have gained visibility, but product views have declined. Since November 2023, BrightEdge has closely tracked Google SGE results and formats to report on the change of various modules as Google experiments to find the best user experience. 

The product viewer -- an array of products that SGE displays -- helps users browse through them. This has been the most common way for SGE to display products. But at the end of April, the parser identified a significant decline in this format.

Product Carousels now occupy less space on the search results page.

The generative parser identified this change because it now can visually analyze formats by rendering the page to calculate the required number of pixels, as well as the percentage of the screen, the AI formats require to serve images. This is important for search marketers because the more the AI takes from the top of the page, the more it will impact optimization, Yu said.

“In this last month, SGE results now take less space,” he said. “As Google prepares for a broader release, they want to make sure that traditional organic results will continue to play a significant role.”

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