Today when small business owners hear the word “Yelp”, many of them groan.
We get it! For years, the popular social review platform had been under scrutiny for a variety of reasons – and not just from entrepreneurs. From allegations of fake reviews to reports of aggressive Yelp Ads sales tactics, it’s quite impressive how the site is still holding strong after all these years. The reviews platform behemoth was founded in 2004, which is quite an achievement in longevity and its ability to stay on top.
Despite Yelp’s own contentious reputation, it ironically remains a very important part of any business’s reputation management and marketing strategy. This is especially true if you have a physical location for your business, which customers visit to obtain your services or goods.
A company’s Yelp listing ranks fairly high on search engines, so it’s still a great way for you to capture search traffic for your business. (This could work in tandem with your Google My Business listings and your other Search Engine Optimization efforts.) Yelp also makes it easier for people to find you online by putting your most important information near the top of the listing, including your address, phone number, and operating hours.
And this is all done without you touching your business listings.
Even if you don’t plan on creating any ads on Yelp (and we’re skeptical of their efficacy too), you should absolutely still create a business profile on Yelp and claim your listing. Whether you create a profile page for your business or not, users on Yelp will eventually create one on their own – and that’s if they have not done so already. In which case, it’s important to maintain control over your profile so that you can manage your reputation by thanking positive reviewers, addressing any negative reviews, and asking your happy clients to review you so that you can continue to build a good online reputation.
At the end of the day, 92% of users study online reviews before choosing a business – and Yelp stands at the top of the reviews platform mountain. On average, 63 million unique users log onto Yelp from their computers. Meanwhile, 69 million unique visitors log onto Yelp from their phone. Until another reviews platform comes along to kick Yelp off its throne, business owners would be sorely missing out if they didn’t take advantage of what Yelp does have to offer.
Here are some of the benefits of having a Yelp Biz profile:
- Claiming your listings: You’ll need a business profile in order to claim your businesses on Yelp, and claiming your listing is important so that you can maintain control of your Yelp presence and manage your reputation.
- Editing your listings: Once you’ve authenticated ownership of those listings, you can also edit some of the information that’s there. This includes contact info, normal operating hours and holiday hours, business description, and more. You can also upload your own photos for your business, giving you more control of your branding. When your information is accurate and you keep it up-to-date, people will have an easier time finding your business and becoming a prospect.
- Responding to reviews: This is the big one. You cannot delete reviews from your Yelp listing, but you can certainly respond to them – and it’s in your best interest to do so! You can ask for more information, make amends, and extend a hand to improve their experience (meanwhile you can send a private message to continue the conversation). Your silence in the face of a negative review will send a poor message to readers and prospects, and don’t forget to thank positive reviewers too.
- Flagging reviews for removal: While you can’t remove undesirable reviews from your listing, you can submit them to the Yelp operations team. If you can provide information as to why the review is inaccurate, or why you believe that the review is outright offensive or inflammatory, you can contest it with Yelp’s team.
- Listing stats for more information: Yelp Biz also collects some information on the traffic to your listings. This will help inform your marketing and business strategy. (Remember, your reviews can be a good source of inspiration too!)
Thanks to Yelp’s years of turmoil, this site today is a fairly balanced system of businesses and customers – though it still has room for improvement.
If you really utilize your profile and work hard to manage your online reputation, many Yelp users will see that you’ve responded to reviews (both negative and positive), and that you’re genuinely trying to provide a good experience for all your customers. A negative review that’s been addressed can be more valuable to your brand than you think.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it will be very beneficial for your business to have or claim a listing on Yelp. You cannot control what people say about you online, but you can at least join in on the discussion and help steer the conversation.
If you need help with managing your business’s reputation (because we know it can be overwhelming and time-consuming), give us a call. We’d love to chat with you about how we can help with your online reviews and growing your business. You can contact us here, or call us at (800) 764-8528.
You can also click here to get your free reputation management report!