Yahoo and Yelp are consolidating semantic data, so businesses should provide search engines with as much information as possible.

Earlier this year, Brafton reported on a new information-sharing partnership between Yelp and Yahoo. Yelp would gain more visibility in search results, and in return, Yahoo would get access to more pictures, ratings and other semantic information all search engines are using to flesh out SERPs.

Even more data-sharing was expected when and Yelp decided to partner to cross-pollinate listings and give users more information about local businesses. In this context, it’s natural to assume more information is always better than less, but a recent report from the Wall Street Journal indicates some data is being privileged.

All reviews are not created equal

According to the WSJ story, many local businesses are seeing their Yahoo reviews go up in smoke. While they haven’t all been deleted, it seems they’re being phased out in favor of Yelp rankings. Some companies are concerned the hard work, good will and branding they carried out to build Yahoo ratings have gone out the window.

This is yet another indication businesses large and small should surrender as much information as possible to search engines. Anything’s possible on the semantic web, at least as far as visibility is concerned, so web marketing campaigns should seek to include as many ratings sites and local listings as possible. After all, if one disappears, others will still be around to give customers – and search engines – useful information.

Which data flows uphill?

Of course, if a company ultimately has to choose, it makes sense to continue concentrating on Google. As Brafton reported, it’s still the search engine king and doesn’t seem to be in any danger of being dethroned by Bing or Yahoo. Still, businesses should strive to solicit customer feedback in any way, shape or form.

Even Google can’t say for sure what criteria will be used in the future to semantically evaluate websites. However, the bigger the imprint a brand can make online, the more likely it will appear in SERPs and Knowledge Graphs. To do that,brands must create content and media that people use, share and click. Otherwise, like Yahoo reviews, they’ll be functionally invisible.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.