One thing we commonly hear from readers of this blog is whether or not a business should be using Yelp as part of its marketing strategy. Known as a review aggregator for restaurants and small businesses, Yelp can bring many benefits to business owners. So, what’s the hesitation?
The Place for Negative Reviews
Yelp started at a time before we had Google My Business reviews or Facebook reviews. For a long time, it was the go-to website for customers to leave reviews about businesses so as to promote or warn about a business. If a customer felt they had a negative experience with a restaurant or small business, Yelp was the place to let everyone know. As newer systems evolved and we soon had reviews coming from more places than Yelp, the company turned to a paid model to work with businesses. While there are many advertising opportunities and options for great visibility on Yelp, it’s now known among many people as the place to leave negative reviews.
For this reason, many business owners choose to stay off of Yelp and instead focus their efforts on building other channels.
Yelp Is a Great Citation
In the world of local SEO, businesses that try to rank better in Google Maps results rely on citations to do so. Places like Bing local, Facebook, Merchant Circle, the Better Business Bureau and Yelp all help Google understand where a business is located and what category it fits in. And because Yelp is quite authoritative to Google, the search engine does look at Yelp profiles to gather information about a business.
Getting a listing in Apple Maps is another way to have Google find your information, however, it can sometimes be a more difficult citation to acquire. For this reason, search engine marketers use the information on Yelp profiles. Yelp has a relationship with Apple Maps (just look at the review source the next time you search for something in Apple Maps) and will help create a citation in Apple Maps based on the Yelp information.
Is it a Risk?
Putting your business out there is a risk in and of itself. At some point, you will want to integrate digital advertising into your strategy and there’s a good case Yelp will be part of that. However, if you consider the benefits of what you would get out of a Yelp profile, it may not seem all that risky.
What About Yelp Ads?
Like any major online network. Yelp has plenty of opportunities for advertising. The site uses keyword-based advertising like Google Ads to trigger profiles for certain keyword searches. For instance, if you search for a laundry service in Sacramento, you’ll see plenty of sponsored ads at the top and bottom of results. The advertiser bids on the category of keywords and on the location then shows a profile mixed in with organic results. Yelp measures its conversions in a slightly unique way that may not actually mean a conversion for you. Be sure to start with a small test budget and then expand if you feel it’s working for you.
If you are interested in using Yelp ads as part of your digital strategy, it’s best to work with a dedicated account manager at Yelp. This will help ensure your ad spend is being used properly.