Recent changes by Yelp highlight the shifting search marketing landscape.

Content marketing is rapidly becoming more than just sharing written information with potential customers.  More than ever, it’s about providing rich media and connecting it across online platforms. There’s no better example of this than Yelp, which has been in the news recently for revamping its image and updating its search strategy.

Putting information in SERPs

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is attempting to make her company’s search engine relevant again, but she faces an uphill battle. According to comScore’s qSearch January estimates, Yahoo sites accounted for 11.2 percent of all core desktop searches. Unsurprisingly, Google took the top spot with 66.7 percent. However, Mayer’s secret weapon may be Yelp.

The partnership with Yelp, according to the Wall Street Journal, is meant to make Yahoo search engine results pages (SERPs) more informationally rich and accurate by compiling data from the business review site. In the scramble to connect online companies with their real-world locations, Yelp is becoming a formidable tool – and that’s not all it’s doing.

Bank on pictures being a thousand words

Yelp just implemented a new layout, according to its official blog. The updated design features two main changes: larger pictures and more prominent reviews. The company revealed that customers spend twice as long on company pages if there are pictures of the businesses themselves. Both social content and web content in general should be rich with images, as viewers will be more likely to share them, so it’s no wonder Yelp is encouraging this practice.

Yelp’s reviews, which have always been fundamental to the company’s success, let viewers hear from other clients. Word-of-mouth and other external recommendations carry a lot of weight, and any company would do well to take advantage of customer reviews for reaching new customers. When coupled with pictures, reviews let people feel like they’ve already done business with a company.

Take a page out of the book of Yelp

Companies looking to improve their brand content should take note of Yelp’s recent activities, as they’re emblematic of shifts in internet marketing in general. SEO content is increasingly focused on actionable, real-world content, rich media (whether this means images, video or both) and shared user information that leads to increased views.

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.