I hope I am not slow on the uptake spotting this but are yelp and yahoo working together on local search? At the foot of the following las vegas steakhouse review (this is my favorite steakhouse in las vegas by the way): http://www.yelp.com/biz/golden-steer-las-vegas there is a link to Yahoo! local which says:
The link is not “no followed” and points to http://local.yahoo.com/NV/Las+Vegas/Food+Dining/Restaurants/Steak+Houses and this yahoo page is currently top ten in Google for a search for “las vegas steak houses” and is actually ahead of Yelp! I can’t see any reason Yelp! would be doing this unless it’s some kind of business relationship.
I looked into a few other verticals and the same thing is happening in Italian restaurants ( http://www.yelp.com/biz/enoteca-san-marco-las-vegas ) and so on:
Looking at the link profile for the yahoo local steakhouse page you see the following results ( https://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/search?p=http%3A%2F%2Flocal.yahoo.com%2FNV%2FLas%2BVegas%2FFood%2BDining%2FRestaurants%2FSteak%2BHouses&bwm=i&bwmo=d ):
All 90 back links come from Yelp. It would be great if Google is ok with this for big companies since that would totally alter my backlinking strategy but I guess that the better user experience would be for Google to contain the links to the main web location for all the las vegas restaurants that yelp or yahoo have on their search results pages (wherever their main web presence is, be that on Yelp! or a standalone website). I’m going to keep an eye on this one.