Many small business owners have a love/hate relationship with their Yelp account. They love the credibility and business that positive reviews bring in, but they live in fear of the damage that a negative review can bring.
What makes it even more confusing for many is that the Yelp algorithm often hides reviews that it decides are “not recommended” causing many small businesses to rise cries of extortion and unfair prejudice.
(Speaking to companies who do choose to advertise on Yelp, this does not seem to correlate with getting negative reviews hidden or positive reviews unhidden.)
In this article, we’ll look at some ways to help you make the most of your Yelp account.
- Don’t ask non-Yelpers to review your business on Yelp
Yelp admits that reviews from “established users” are less likely to be filtered than those who have never posted on the site before. Yelp is simply trying to stop business owners and their friends and family from posting fake 5-star reviews.
Asking your customers a simple question like “Are you a Yelper?” before asking them to post a review of your business can help you establish that your service is valued by real people. The more your Yelp reviews come from people with established profiles on the site, the fewer of your reviews will be filtered by their algorithm.
And if someone isn’t a Yelper, but wants to help, why not ask them to post a review on Facebook or Google My Business instead? Reviews on these sites are less likely to be filtered and can be just as useful for your business.
- Highlight your positive reviews on other websites
Yelp reviews don’t have to live solely on Yelp. You can pick the best ones to integrate into your website, quote on your social media accounts and even highlight in your newsletter. Additionally, just because a review has been filtered, doesn’t mean you can’t use it in places other than Yelp. It’s still a fantastic review of your business written by a real customer. (Although maybe you shouldn’t quote the one you had your mom write.)
One side benefit to quoting Yelp reviews on other websites is that it can plant the seed to remind happy customers to post their own reviews of your business.
- Fill out your entire Yelp profile
It can be tempting to skip over some of the fields in the “From the business” section since most potential clients only read the reviews. However, Yelp uses these sections in its search algorithm and filling them out completely using keywords related to your business can help you rank higher in the search results.
It can also be worth your time to add pictures to your page and caption them using keywords that describe your business. This not only helps your page look more attractive, but also allows Yelp to understand what your business does and rank it appropriately in the search results.
- Take action on negative reviews
If someone writes a negative review, you should respond publicly. Don’t get defensive or tell the reviewer why they’re wrong. Just let them know that you’re sorry they weren’t happy and ask if there’s anything you can do to remedy the situation. Showing that you care may not get that specific review taken down, but it will lessen its impact on other site visitors who read it.
If a review contains inappropriate language or was not written by a customer, you can flag it with Yelp. You should not do this unless you truly feel that the review violates Yelp’s guidelines.
- Consider Yelp advertising
Yelp will send someone out to create a video of your business. This can help potential clients connect more with what you do and increase conversions from your Yelp page.. Businesses that advertise do not have Yelp ads for competing businesses on their page, but they still do have competitors listed on the “Also viewed” section.
Yelp also offers Yelp ads (at much higher prices than most online ads). We typically do not recommend these because of the high cost involved, but the video package (which can be beneficial) does come with a number of these ad impressions. Unlike Google Adwords or other online placements, these link to your Yelp page rather than your website and you have no control over the search terms where your ad is placed.
When these tips are implemented, Yelp can become a source of positive sentiment towards your business. There may be some negative reviews, but as long as you can respond appropriately to these, you can use the strength of your positive reviews to turn Yelp into an asset for your business.
No matter what your objectives are, Wolfhaus Design can help you create and deliver a digital advertising campaign that will help drive qualified traffic to your website. Learn more about Wolfhaus Design or get started with a free consultation.