Intro: Yelp Review (Yelp Business Reviews)
Ever wondered what the food is like at the restaurant down the street? Or if you can trust the mechanic you’re about to leave your car with? What about that babysitting service – can you trust them with your kids?
There was a time (not so long ago) when you’d have to rely on the recommendation of a friend or family member if you wanted to know about a local business’s customer service before paying it a visit. Otherwise, you’d have to take a gamble.
Times have changed though. Now, a quick Internet search will tell you just about anything you want to know about a place of business. From prices to services offered –even the invaluable review.
While there are plenty of places to find local business reviews, they’re not all created equal. Many services that allow customers to leave reviews, such as Google, create a one-way interaction where customers simply leave a review and move on.
Yelp reviews operate a bit differently. Yelp’s goal is to connect local businesses with customers. Rather than a one-way transaction, business owners can interact with the customers reviewing their services.
Image Source: Yelp Review
What Is Yelp?
Yelp reviews have been around since 2004. The company got its start with the same mission it has today: connecting local businesses with customers.
Since its inception, Yelp reviewers have written over 100 million reviews in 32 countries. Its website is also currently viewed by over 20 million people each month – so Yelp reviews are definitely reaching people on a massive scale.
Yelp goes beyond business reviews as well. The company’s website and mobile apps actually look more like a social network than a review platform. Users can talk to each other through the platform as well as create other helpful items, such as events and lists.
Yelp reviews are aggregated and organized through its automated software system. According to Yelp, the system is constantly looking at many different criteria and attempting to organize reviews based on relevancy to the consumer.
Businesses are, of course, part of the equation as well. Owners can claim their businesses through the network and interact with customers – creating a unique, interactive community.
Yelp also makes it very clear that it does not promote the reviews of paid advertisers or manipulate reviews in any way.
Whether You’re Looking for a Service or Providing One – Yelp Can Help
Yelp business reviews provide a valuable service to both local businesses and consumers. For business, Yelp provides valuable exposure and a chance to let your customer service shine. For customers, Yelp can help you find the best local services or products.
Yelp and Local Businesses
Local business owners or managers can set up a free Yelp business account. Business owners can then claim their place of business, respond to reviews, and post photos.
Yelp’s free tools also allow business owners to connect with customers by adding information about their organization and engaging with customers. In addition, Yelp business pages contain a set of analytics tools that allow owners to track user engagement and monitor lead generation.
Yelp and the Consumer
Yelp is a bit more simplified for consumers. Most of us don’t own businesses, so the process for creating an account is much more straightforward.
Yelp operates much like many of the other social media platforms. To create an account, you’ll just need to enter your name, email, a password, and your zip code (since you’re reviewing local services, Yelp needs to know where you are). Or, if you’d rather not create another set of login details to remember, just use Facebook to login.
Once you’re a user, you can create reviews and interact with other members or businesses.
How to Get Your Business on Yelp
We’ve already looked at some of the free tools Yelp offers for businesses, but how do you actually get your business up and running on Yelp?
You’ll want to start by searching Yelp’s website to verify that it hasn’t already been added by a reviewer.
If your business already exists on Yelp, great – all you need to do is claim it.
If your business doesn’t exist yet on Yelp, to get started, you’ll need to enter the name of your business and its location. From there, you’ll just need to enter a few more details to create your account.
After you’ve created your Yelp business account, owners or managers have a few options. You can use Yelp’s free tools or upgrade to a paid option that will allow you to advertise through Yelp.
Promoting Your Business – Yelp Advertising
If you own a business, Yelp offers two tiers of advertising. It calls the first tier “Self Service” and the second “Full Service.”
Here’s a few of the features included with the Self Service program:
- Targeted Yelp business ads
- Removal of competitor ads
- Enhance business Yelp page to include a slideshow
- Set your own budget and pay for impressions
The Full Service option includes everything from the Self Service plan, plus additional features. Here’s items you’ll gain with a Full Service plan:
- Optional high-quality video – add better videos of your business in action
- Additional support from Yelp’s account management team
- Add a call to action button to your Yelp business page
Yelp business makes some bold claims about its services on its website. It claims that:
- It’s the “#1 local/regional website on desktop and mobile”
- Its website received “86 million average monthly mobile visitors in Q4 2015”
- Average annual revenue from Yelp as reported by Yelp advertisers is $23,000
- 78% of consumers turn to review sites to find a local business
All of these claims are backed up with stats on the Yelp business page.
How Much Does It Cost to Advertise on Yelp?
Image Source: What is Yelp?
If you’re looking for specific advertising pricing from Yelp before diving in and creating an account for your business, you’ll have a hard time finding concrete figures. Yelp does not post its pricing information. If you want more specific data, you’ll need to create an account and get in touch with Yelp.
A few websites have reported on Yelp’s pricing, but the numbers seem to vary. So, in the interest of accuracy, it’s probably best for business owners to do their research and contact Yelp for pricing (that is, after all, what it instructs business owners to do).
Yelp Advertising Reviews
Without accurate price data, it’s difficult to make a decision based on Yelp advertising reviews. Based on the fact that Yelp doesn’t publish ad pricing on its website, it’s also safe to assume that Yelp is pricing ads differently in different areas or industries. Ads through services like Yelp will likely be more effective in some industries than others –and the same goes for cities.
So, if you own a business and are considering advertising through Yelp, do your homework. Get it in touch with Yelp and talk with a representative about the pricing, and then make a decision based on your business’s needs.
Yelp is very targeted, so that’s something to keep in mind when considering the service.
Can Yelp Hurt Your Business?
If you own a local business, reputation is one of your biggest assets. If you’re known for serving terrible food or doing poor work, you’re probably not going to be in business long.
Can Yelp reviews hurt your business?
If you’re not doing quality work and satisfying your customers, the answer is probably yes. However, what if you are doing good work and a customer has a bad experience and then decides to try and smear your reputation?
While there are some interesting issues that both consumers and businesses have had with Yelp, they’re not the norm. In fact, it’s all but impossible to find any legitimate instances where good businesses have been harmed by a Yelp review.
Consumer Reviews Help Consumers … and Local Business
The truth is, consumer reviews help other consumers make better decisions. It’s much easier to trust someone with your hard-earned cash if you know they’ve provided good products or services to other customers.
Yelp has been helping businesses and consumers for over ten years. It has amassed over 100 million reviews in that time. While there have, no doubt, been some abuses through the service, overall, Yelp reviews provide an invaluable service to both business owners and consumers.
Yelp also makes it quite clear that customer reviews and paid advertising are distinctly separate. It stresses that its ad sales team have nothing to do with reviews appearing (or not appearing) prominently on a business’s page. With this in mind, Yelp definitely seems to place a high value on keeping its reviews honest and authentic.
A Final Yelp Review
As we saw above, Yelp offers a great way for local businesses and costumers to connect. If you’re a business owner, it offers some great free tools as well as a robust advertising platform. Yelp has remained true to its original intent while growing on an international scale.
If you’re a small business owner or manager considering an advertising platform, it's important to do your research. You're making a big commitment that will require time and resources from your business – so do your homework. Hopefully, this review provided some insight into the unique offerings and value Yelp could bring to your business.
For consumers, Yelp reviews are a no-brainer. You can access local businesses and leave reviews of your own. While it does take time, your review could greatly impact someone looking for a similar service.
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