SEO Strategy Review: TripAdvisor VS. Yelp

Most of TripAdvisor’s revenue was generated by users clicking from its site to hotel booking sites, on the other hand, Yelp mainly makes money from advertising. Should I even compare them?

I’d argue, YES! because in terms of SEO, they both focus on local searches.

Market cap3.0B (as in 2021 June)5.6B (as in 2021 June)
Overall /mon209.4M208M
Search traffic /mon117M (49.62% of overall)103.2M (49.62% of overall)
TripAdvisor VS. Yelp – SEO Strategy Review by Willie Jiang

Tripadvisor structural SEO

How the hell do you rank at the top of Google in nearly every town/city/county? This is where structural SEO comes in.

Let’s use Port Dover (small town in in Ontario) as an example.

Main keyword for a small town in Canada.

Location level

Keyword: “tourism in Port Dover”

Category level:

Keyword: “Things to Do in Port Dover”

Business profile level


Keyword: “Port Dover Harbour Museum

UGC is the ultimate fuel of structural SEO

If structural SEO is the engine to a lot of marketplace startups, then UGC is the ultimate fuel! Why?

  • UGC content is typically unique
  • UGC is scalable
  • UGC strategy is hard to copy.

Backlink strategy

Backlinks: Yelp VS. TripAdvisor

1, “People love us on Yelp” sticker

“People love us on Yelp” sticker

According to Brad Porteus, Yelp Marketing VP (’06-’08) “[in 2007] We started hearing from business owners that they needed a new one, because someone had stolen theirs right off their storefront window….so it could be peeled off a window and pinched by a customer or competitor. Stealing?! Now we really knew this thing had legs. “

Not only it creates brand awareness, but also taps into important human psychology: social proof—-when other business owners see that, they want the sticker too; when potential users see that, they want to write reviews as well.

What does “brand awareness” have anything to do with SEO?

It increase branded search, which increases the domain authority.

2, Review embed

Tripadvisor doesn’t have this feature.

3, Media mentions: “There is no such thing as bad publicity”?

Yelp used to get a lot of negative press.

Both Yelp and Tripadvisor released white-paper style statistics to established thought leadership. According Tripadvisor’s early PR agency:

“[We] leveraged interesting research studies/statistics on travel topics as well as information gleaned from TripAdvisor’s unique insight into the travel industry to proactively pitch stories that tied to national travel trends for the business, broadcast, consumer and travel media.

Red Javelin Communications


  • Yelp‘s report:
  • Tripadvisor‘s reports:


They both use localized domains for targeted countries, because they mainly focus on local searches. Local TLDs(domain extensions) help them rank better on Google in each country.

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TripAdvisor VS. Yelp – SEO Strategy Review by Willie Jiang