To Yelp or not to Yelp? That is the question. As a small business owner, you probably already know how important it is to get your company listed in the right online directories. And when it comes to having your business on Yelp, there’s a ton of controversy out there that makes it hard to decide whether or not to get listed.
So let’s break it down.
- Traffic – As of March 31, 2015, Yelp received an average of 142 million unique visitors per month. That means your listing would be shown to a ton of people, which is awesome.
- Easy to use – Customers can view a business’ reviews and data on Yelp without needing an account. This simplifies the entire process and makes it more likely that people will look you up.
- “Yelp Now” – When people search for a restaurant using Yelp, they can make a reservation directly online. They can also search for places that only offer takeout or delivery using Yelp Now.
- Trustworthy reviews – So many people rely on Yelp to check out previous customers’ reviews on a business. Yelp has over 77.3 million reviews, so there’s a lot of feedback that people seek.
- Easy to find and reach you – Yelp’s layout is super easy to navigate. That means customers can find your business at the click of a button. And once they do, all of your information is listed which means they can easily call you.
- It’s expected – Customers expect to find businesses on Yelp. So if you’re not listed there and someone looks you up, this could signal a red flag. They might assume your services and credibility aren’t that great and they’ll go to a competitor.
This is definitely the #1 con for Yelp. There’s nothing more frustrating for a business owner than to work so hard to build up their company reviews and have many of them end up with no impact on their overall rating.
Filtered reviews become virtually invisible to the average consumer who doesn’t know where to look.
You have to scroll ALL the way down to the very bottom of the page. In light gray, you’ll fine “# of reviews that are not currently recommended.” These are the filtered reviews, and they’re the worst:
Don’t feel bad, though. It’s not just you. In fact, that’s a screenshot of our reviews – 28 filtered!
Yelp claims their algorithm determines which reviews are real and which are fake based on certain activities that the company and/ or reviewer performs.
Rumors have also been unfolding that Yelp does this to grow their user base and user activity.
Here’s what I mean: Let’s say Johnny’s Landscaping has 25 reviews, and they’re all 5-star rated. The owner probably won’t work as hard to ask people to review him on Yelp anymore. Even if he gets a bad review, it won’t really mess up his overall average rating.
But let’s say that Yelp decides to filter 18 of those reviews. Only 7 of those reviews show. If he gets a bad review now, it has a bigger impact on his overall average.
Business owners like to keep their average rating at a 4-star or higher. If you get one or two 3-star or lower reviews, the only way to keep your rating up is to keep getting more 5 star reviews. And the only way to do that is to keep asking people to go onto Yelp and do so.
Bad reviews ever hardly seem to get filtered. So, this assumption does make a lot of sense to internet marketers that have tried to solve the algorithm points.
I’ve had many clients and contacts tell me how aggressive and “car salesman-like” their sales reps can be.
They make deals and try to negotiate a way for you to use their sponsored ad sections (Yelp’s source of revenue). Then, if you do decide to buy, they have long term contracts.
However, sponsored ads on Yelp do work well for the right business. I met a mechanic that said it’s his best lead source. I’ve also met other people like printers and wedding planners that said it didn’t work at all.
For the most part, service-based industries that have a bad rap do well on Yelp if they have good reviews: mechanics, ac repair, plumbers, and so on.
So, to get listed on Yelp or not to get listed on Yelp?
Whether you love it or hate it… you need to get your business on Yelp.
There are just too many people using Yelp to not get listed. Yelp is one of the most popular places customers look for business reviews.
It’s a huge indicator of your company’s credibility and whether or not someone invests in your services. If you’re not listed on Yelp, people will look at you like this…
So get reviews, get your rating average up, and start collaborating with Yelp in a positive way. And remember – don’t get too down on yourself when reviews get filtered. It happens to all of us.
If you have any questions on how a Yelp listing affects your business, don’t hesitate to ask us. It’s what we’re here for!
Mike Arce is the CEO and founder of Loud Rumor, a lead generation company for fitness studios and independent gyms that supports their customers with sales training and techniques to grow and scale.
Mike has spoken for companies like Infusionsoft, the Better Business Bureau, ASBA, and Local First – all on the topic of Local Business Internet Marketing. He has a passion for local businesses and helping them grow. You can get fresh, updated tips from Mike here.