When you think of Yelp, do you first think of foodies posting restaurant reviews? In my previous blog post on LinkedIn optimization, I talked about how LinkedIn is much more than a job seekers website. In this case, Yelp is much more than a website for people to rate their favourite meals.
In fact, according to Yelp’s statistics, only 20% of total reviews are for restaurants. Whether you’re a dentist or candy store owner, Yelp can help increase the web traffic of your site and the foot traffic at your door. With a quick look at the US demographics you can see how Yelp is used by a wide range of age and income groups.
In this blog post, I’m first going to make the case why your business should have a Yelp business page. I’ll share some impressive stats, and then show you how to optimize your yelp listing for maximum traffic.
Why Your Business Should Be On Yelp
When Yelp first started in 2004, it was an email service for exchanging local business recommendations in San Francisco. It would evolve into a business review website with social networking features, discounts, and mobile applications being used by consumers throughout the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand and parts of of Europe.
Yelp receives 120 million monthly visitors and has over 53 million user reviews. Judging by the curve of the graph below, this doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon...
The future of search is moving towards mobile screens and social networks. Just recently, a global survey reported that smartphones have surpassed tv’s in the amount of user viewing time per day. With this in mind, a well done Yelp page could improve your online marketing by leaps and bounds with very little time/money invested.
Creating A Yelp Business Page
An obvious first step to optimizing your Yelp page is to create one if you haven’t done so already.
To get started, go to the Yelp for Business Owners page and click “claim my business.” You will then be redirected to a page that asks you to find your business.
You will then have one of three cases occur...
- No Business Listed: Your business hasn’t been listed on the site, click “Add your business to Yelp” on the bottom of the page.
- Already Unlocked: If your business is already unlocked that means someone else has already claimed your business. Yelp has a review process, so it is unlikely that it was unlocked by someone outside your organization.
- Unlock Your Business: You can unlock your Yelp business page by clicking the “unlock” button and filling in the required information.
With your Yelp business page now created, the next step is to fill your business profile with useful and SEO friendly information.
Optimizing Your Yelp Business Page
Yelp will essentially guide you through this process once you have created a business page. They even have a friendly alert to remind you, in case you forget.
Do you want to lose out on potential business? Not many people do, so make sure your Yelp Business page has all of these things complete:
- Business Information: Yelp allows you to write 3000 words about your business’s specialties, history, and owners. You can use this space to tell your business’s story with your most valuable keywords in mind.
- Business address: Make sure it matches your location on Google Maps and your website.
- Business phone number
- Price range for your products/services
- Business category
- Photos of your business and staff
Quality Photos On Yelp Make A Huge Difference
According to Yelp, people stay two and a half times longer on a business page when it has photos. That doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional photographer, but having high quality photos should be a priority.
With all of your business page information now complete, the next step is to promote engagement on your site to get more customer reviews.
Social Proofing Works
People trust Yelp because of the millions of customer reviews. There are many ways that you can promote these positive reviews reaching your business page, but be sure to never offer incentives. Yelp has a filter to block fake reviews and they can even penalize your listing for foul play. The best way to garner positive reviews is with the old fashioned way, excellent customer service, and a few of these tips.
- Have a Yelp Link on your website: The more exposure your Yelp business page gets the higher chance you will receive customer reviews.
- Including a Yelp Link in your email signature: For the same reason explained above.
- Reach out to existing customers: Ask your loyal customers if they would mind writing a review.
- Promoting deals on Yelp : Deals are a great way to grab attention and satisfy customers.
With the nature of business, sometimes you will receive negative reviews from a customer you weren’t able to satisfy. The best way to deal with these situations is to respond in a positive way.
Responding To Reviews
There are two ways to respond to user reviews on Yelp. The first way is to send a private message. This is much like sending the customer a direct email. The second method, is to post a public message below the consumer’s review for everyone to see.
The key to responding to negative reviews is to keep the BIG picture in mind. Don’t get defensive. Consumers are smart and know that an isolated bad review doesn’t mean much. A good way to respond to negative reviews is to acknowledge that you are concerned about the customers experience and then state your business’ policy on the discrepancy.
A Yelp Optimization Overview
Does your page have quality photos and a keyword rich summary of your business? Optimizing your Yelp business page Is about filing your page with useful information. It can be done in one sitting, but the key for a successful business page is responding to reviews to further engage with customers.
Keep the big picture in mind when responding to reviews, and continuously look for new ways to drive potential customers to your site. If you do all these things, while showcasing the personality behind your brand, you will be positioning your company for delicious online marketing success.