Ads Parading as Organic Results on Yelp
I had a #4 or #5 organic position on Yelp's S.E.R.P (search engine results page) since 2013 and also paid $100/ month for an "enhanced" listing with a photo slide feature and I can say I did receive a steady flow of leads from for years. It was a fair arrangement. I gave them great content, they returned leads. However recently I noticed not a single lead for several weeks so I looked on Yelp's "Atlanta Carpet Cleaners" page and my business was removed from page one. I also noticed there was a strange mix of results, some bran new start ups with only a couple of reviews, some only 2 stars and several other recognized established advertisers.
Then it hit me. All of Ads on the top and right side of the first page were also gone. How is this possible to run this large Digital enterprise with zero Ads? It's not. So how did they do this? Here's how. By simply first purging most if not all the organic results from page 1, then removing the "Ads" or "Sponsored" symbol next to the now paid listing as well as deleting all traditional looking Ads. Unfortunately users will be under the impression they are reading a 1st page results list of natural or organic listings which is how Google and all other search sites on the planet do it but most likely will be seeing only a list of paid advertiser's instead. Just let this sink in. What if Google, Bing, and Yahoo and all other search sites switched to having all of the page 1 S.E.R.P.s being Ads masquerading as actual organic listings? This model will not provide the end user an honest result, hence depriving them of what they came for which are a list of organic results with some Ads clearly marked.
Yelp certainly has other issues other than covert forced fed Ads such as no recourse for the business owners to have fake reviews removed and the biggest of all is how they hide countless legitimate reviews from the public despite years and years of hearing complaints from business owners regarding this, including me. Sadly Yelp's "Top Ten List" of Atlanta Carpet Cleaners is riding for free on Google's Page 1 and position 1 under this keyword. One might alternatively ask if this is Yelp's top 10 list of Atlanta Carpet Cleaner advertisers.