CitySearch Testing New Business Profile Page

Filed in Featured, Local Search, MY BEST POSTS by Matt McGee on August 2, 2011 5 Comments

Citysearch logoIf you don’t follow CitySearch on Twitter, you may have missed the news that they’re testing new business profile pages. There’s nothing more available than that tweet, so we don’t know if the new page is 10% done or 90% done … but it’s still interesting to have a look at the changes on the new page which are plentiful. Ready to dive in?

New CitySearch Business Pages

If you want to see the new page yourself, I’d suggest first clearing any CitySearch-related browser cookies; if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll only be able to see the current/old page.

Once you’ve cleared cookies, try this link for the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort.

Alternatively, here are screenshots. You can click each one for the larger (huge) version.

Old/Current CitySearch Business Profile Page

New/Test CitySearch Business Profile Page

What’s Different?

There are quite a few changes when you compare the old/new profile pages. The most noticeable one is an overall cleaner look with less clutter. That may be due, at least in part, to the lack of ads on the new page. Those will surely return if/when these new pages are rolled out. But ads or not, the business data is presented in a cleaner layout that’s more organized and easier to follow.

Here’s a quick list of specific changes I’ve found:

1) Emphasis on Reviews, Reservations (at least in hotel case) and Sharing

These three choices were all on the old/current page, but they’re front-and-center on the new page. In fact, the “Write A Review” button is now the primary call-to-action on the entire page — the only thing colored in bright orange, and you can’t miss it. It’s lower on the old/current page, and not the only orange button, either.

Remember, too, that Google’s recent Place Page overhaul similarly emphasized writing reviews as the primary call-to-action. Perhaps CitySearch isn’t ready to concede defeat to Google and Yelp when it comes to the meaningless race for “most reviews”.

2) Switching to Bing Maps

The current/old CitySearch business profile pages use MapQuest, but the new page is using Bing Maps – and it’s in a nice, AJAX-y interface that pops the map out from the left into the middle column.

3) Downplaying “Add a Photo” option

The main call-to-action on the old/current page is a large blue box that invites visitors to upload a photo of the business. That’s been heavily downplayed. On the new/test page, the “add a photo” option is only available after clicking the “Gallery” tab in the left menu.

4) Facebook & Twitter links gone

I thought it was pretty cool a couple years ago when CitySearch added social networking links to the business profile pages. A business could (still can, actually) provide links to its Facebook and Twitter pages, and those would show up (and still do) right below the main business name and contact info.

Those links are gone on the new design; perhaps just because it’s still a work-in-progress? No idea. The old/current pages also show recent tweets if CitySearch knows the business’ Twitter handle, but that’s also not showing anywhere on the new page.

5) Print, Favorite and Send To options gone

These currently show up right next to the main business name. But it’s awfully cluttered there, and they’re nowhere to be found on the new page. I’m guessing they’re not used very much.

6) “Overview” tab gone

The old/current page defaults to showing the “Overview” tab, which can include things like a basic business description and/or a featured review, or tips from CitySearch editors. (The content depends on the type of business.) That entire tab is gone now on the test page.

7) “Owner Message” tab now just “Details”

Instead of the “Overview” tab showing business details, there’s now a “Details” tab on the left and the content there comes from what used to be the “Owner Message” tag.

Other Observations

Maybe the biggest question (now that I’ve spent all this time and space talking about it) is … Does CitySearch matter anymore as an end-user destination?

I think it’s safe to assume that CitySearch is further down the list of important local destinations than Google Places, Yelp and Bing Local. But,

  • CitySearch business listings (and category pages) still rank very well for a lot of local searches
  • CitySearch reviews are still aggregated by Google, Bing, Yahoo and elsewhere

So, while CitySearch may not be of primary-level importance in local ecosystem, I think it still retains plenty of importance overall.

I should note that the changes seen above on the hotel’s profile page quite likely don’t apply across the board to all business types. Restaurants will surely have other options like “View Menu” and such.

Comments (5)

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  1. Matt Siltala says:

    You hit the biggest thing I was going to ask right there at the end … do they even matter anymore? Or is it just a great place to get another citation etc..

  2. Nyagoslav says:

    @MattS: Citysearch reviews are being aggregated across many review websites out there, and even only this would be enough for me to use them in a review strategy. So this interface change is logical, as they understand they are currently used much more as a review platform, than an information center.

  3. After reading your last OPEN forum article, I got a little chuckle when I saw Citysearch replace the url of the website with ‘View Website’, although it probably doesn’t matter.

    In terms of relevance, in my industry I’m always surprised to see local searches delivering Citysearch, Kudzu, Hot Frog, etc. on page 1 of the SERPS, and sometimes 2+ on page 1. In fact, it happens often enough with Citysearch that I actually made a point of asking more patients to leave reviews on their site (in addition to the usual suspects).

  4. Steve says:

    I think the move, as you say, is geared more towards becoming a review centre and I think it can still be very useful for building reviews/citations for your local business.

  5. darrel says:

    I get the feeling citysearch citation is not as valuable as it once was maybe a year or two ago.

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