How Yelp Can Help!
For business owners, there’s a lot to love, or for some businesses, to hate, about user review site Yelp. Racking up droves of positive reviews can attract more customers, but on the flip side, one bad review can have massive negative affects. The reality is that Yelp is one of the most widely used and respected online search and review services among consumers. So, you, as a small businesses simply cannot ignore it. Whatever your feelings you may have towards Yelp, you need to understand how to make the most of the ranking system if your company is regularly reviewed on the site.
The following factors can help you get the most out of your Yelp profile:
Fill out your profile completely: Like many other social media site, Yelp highly values profiles that are complete. This is one of the easiest ways to boost your rankings on Yelp and you will see results almost immediately.
Ask for reviews: While its highly unethical and in some cases illegal to pay people to fill out fake reviews, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking your customers to take a few minutes to leave their thoughts on your company’s Yelp profile, as long as you’re not pushy about it. Be wary though, make sure you are asking highly satisfied customers! Bad reviews can destroy your profile!
Try to prevent good reviews from being filtered out: Perhaps the biggest complaint from businesses about Yelp’s service is that their positive reviews left by actual customers are being blocked behind the company’s review filter. This is because Yelp’s filter tries to block out potential review scams by blocking reviews if there are too many positive reviews. Unfortunately, this filtering process can censor both actual satisfied customers and people who haven’t visited a business and are paid to leave phony, exceedingly positive reviews.
So what can you do about this? If you see good reviews being filtered out of your company’s Yelp profile, reach out to the customers and let them know that their comments aren’t being seen. You can then encourage these customers to fill out their profiles more completely. Their reviews are much much more likely to pass through the filters if their profiles are completely filled out.
Respond to reviews: Again, Yelp’s algorithms better rank businesses they see being very active on the site. Responding to reviews in a responsible way is a great way to build this reputation. As a result, responding to reviews can help boost the odds that you’ll get a high ranking in the site’s internal search results.
When you respond to reviews, avoid using stock responses that make you look insincere. Take the time to leave customized feedback for every review you reply to.
Try running a ‘Yelp Deal’: Finally, if you want to both bring in new customers and improve the visibility of your company’s listing in Yelp’s search results, consider running a “Yelp Deal” Basically, Yelp Deals work much like a Groupon or Living Social deals. You can offer a discount that Yelp users claim through the site (for example, a $20 gift certificate for $10). Yelp then promotes your profile to a wider audience in an effort to generate revenue via deal purchases, resulting in greater visibility for your company.
Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure you understand the promotion. There are no upfront costs to creating a Yelp Deal, but Yelp does retain a small percentage of the money generated by deal sales. While you might like to do a Yelp Deal, keep in mind that it isn’t necessary to get your business ranked higher in the search listings. Following the other steps described above should be enough to help your company move up the Yelp results pages and capture additional foot traffic and sales dollars.