A year ago this week, Google acquired the popular restaurant rating site. When that news emerged, we speculated on the impact of Zagat on local SEO and ratings within Google. Most assumed there would be a more seamless integration of data, prominently featuring Zagat content within search results. Let’s take a look at what has happened over the past year:
Ratings are displayed within search results, a bit more prominently than they were a year ago:
If you search for a specific restaurant by name, the expanded results panel on the right side includes two references to Zagat:
[singlepic id=47 w=320 h=240 float=center]
There seems to be some tension between Zagat and Google+ (both new to Google in the last year), as they have overlapping functions. Both include information about the restaurant, a map, photos, and a menu. Both have user-submitted reviews.
Here’s where it gets really odd… If you look at the same restaurant on Zagat and on Google+, only one of them lets you see Zagat reviews without an account… Here’s what it looks like on Zagat.com:
And the same restaurant on Google+:
In the local 7-pack search results, it’s a bit confusing. There is very little differentiation between Zagat ratings and standard G+ ratings:
[singlepic id=48 w=300 h=600 float=center]
Zagat Site Growth?
So, how has this acquisition impacted Zagat’s traffic?
[singlepic id=46 w=600 h=1000 float=center]
Year-over-year, traffic is actually down slightly, based on Compete.com’s analysis.
Searches for Zagat have stayed flat:
[singlepic id=50 w=600 h=1000 float=center]
How does this compare to one of their top competitors, Yelp.com?
Yelp’s traffic has been on the rise:
[singlepic id=44 w=600 h=1000 float=center]
Search interest has increased by 23% as well:
[singlepic id=45 w=600 h=1000 float=center]
If Google’s goal was to steal market share from Yelp, that hasn’t worked out so well. If their goal was seamlessly integrate Zagat and Google+ local pages, they’ve come up a bit short there as well. Google search results are benefiting from Zagat data, but Zagat.com certainly isn’t getting any help from Google.
In a nutshell, we’re not completely sure what Google is trying to do with Zagat and Google+. Of course, the same could be said about Google+ as a whole – its strategy and execution invite more questions than they answer.
To make things even more interesting, Google acquired Frommer’s, the popular travel guide. How will they incorporate tourism information into their search engine results? Let the speculation begin…