Yelp for Local Business Owners: A Guide for 2022

Yelp for Local Business Owners: A Guide for 2022

If you’re a service-oriented B2C business and you’re not on Yelp, then you’re leaving money on the table.

Yelp is a treasure trove of user-generated content—the holy grail of content marketing. With Yelp, your customers can post reviews of your business that potential customers can see when looking for services like yours, and this is just one of many reasons to use Yelp.

Who is Yelp for?

There’s a lot of money to be made in the service industry, with Americans typically spending upwards of $300 a month on eating out. To that end, Yelp can be especially helpful for restaurants, clubs, entertainment venues, bars, and shopping centers, and also for contractors, such as plumbers and electricians.

If you’re opening your own service-based company, you’ll want to look into Yelp right after you start an LLC. But you’re not just going to toss your business listing up on the site and start reaping the rewards. There’s a lot more to it than that.

You’ll first need to add or claim your business on Yelp and begin earning reviews. It also helps to utilize paid advertising and other notable features that Yelp has added within the last few years. In this article, we’re going to teach you how to do all of that and more.

Read on to learn how you can propel yourself into the world of user-generated content to get the most out of Yelp for your business. 

Claiming Your Business on Yelp

The first step to succeeding at Yelp is to get your business listed on the website. Before you go ahead and add your business, you should check if it’s already there. There’s a number of reasons why your business might already be listed on Yelp, so don’t neglect this step. 

You can easily check this by searching for your business on the ‘Manage my free listing’ page.

Yelp For Business 2022

Once you’ve determined if your business listing already exists, then you’re ready to get rolling on Yelp. We recently published a full guide on how to add or claim a Yelp listing, so we’re not going to go into a lot of detail here.

But the gist of it is:

  • Create a Yelp business account;
  • Add your information, like business phone number, address, website, and category;
  • Verify your business, either by phone or email;
  • Add images and descriptions; and
  • Add additional locations.

For a full step-by-step breakdown with visual aids, check out our in-depth guide. To ensure you don’t miss anything, jot down each step in the process and create a workflow that you can follow.

How to Optimize Your Yelp Business Page

Much like your website, your Yelp business page is going to need some serious optimization if you want to maximize results.

The first step of Yelp optimization is to make sure that you have all your information filled out. This includes your business name, address, phone number, email address, etc. If you leave any information out, you’re presenting an incomplete profile to the masses, and no one wants that.

Believe it or not, Yelp is actually a search engine, and it works a lot like Google when it comes to optimization. To appease the Yelp algorithm, you have to give it as much information as possible.

Use Relevant Keywords

For best results, you’ll want to enhance your Yelp content with relevant keywords. These keywords will be the terms and phrases that you’d like to rank for.

For example, if you’re a Chinese restaurant, you’ll obviously want to rank for the search term ‘Chinese food’ in your area. Or, if you’re a plumber who operates 24-hours a day, you can shoot for ’24-hour plumber’.

Generate Backlinks

In keeping with the SEO-side of things, you’re also going to want to generate backlinks to your Yelp page.

Yelp has a ‘check-in’ feature that allows people to mark that they visited a business—and you should encourage customers to use it. That’s a backlink every time someone clicks.

Add Photos

It’s important to add photos of your business to Yelp because people enjoy visual aids. This also helps to showcase your products or services, which can encourage people to visit your business.

Visual Information Brain

Source: Business 2 Community

Did you know the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. In addition to that, a whopping 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual in nature. 

Video content also works wonders. Just make sure that you have stellar editing software so that you can create professional-looking clips.

Assess Your Strategy

Finally, the best way to truly optimize your Yelp page is to constantly revisit this task. That means regularly examining your results and changing your strategy accordingly. Assess what’s working for you and what’s not going so well.

If you think you’re not getting enough traffic, then it’s a good idea to update your categories periodically. You can experiment with this to see which category brings the most customers to your listing.

By giving your attention to all of these actions, you can turn your Yelp business page into a hotspot of online activity, and one that’ll continue to produce valuable user-generated content.

Ask Customers to Review Your Business (Without Asking Them)

The best way to get customers to review your business on Yelp would logically be to ask them to do so. There’s only one problem with that. Yelp doesn’t want you to specifically solicit reviews from your customers, and it actually goes against the Yelp guidelines.

Yelp extensively covers this policy in a 2017 blog post:

“Asking for reviews at all, even if the business breaks norms and attempts to ask more than just their happy customers, can create a bias away from organically motivated reviews.

“When some businesses ask for reviews and others don’t, it becomes difficult for users to compare reviews across businesses. Not only does solicitation lead to bias, it’s a bad experience for customers, too.”

So, how can you encourage Yelp reviews without actually asking people?

Your Business Website and Marketing Channels

You can mention that you’re on Yelp without directly asking anyone to leave a review. Include links on your website that simply say, ‘Check us out on Yelp.’ Experiment with different call-to-actions (CTA) on these links, and see what yields the best results.

You can also include these CTA links in social media posts, such as on Facebook and Twitter.

Instagram is a fantastic place to promote your business, but it doesn’t allow clickable links in posts. You can get around this by making a post with a graphic that reads, ‘Check us out on Yelp. Link in bio’. Then include a link to Yelp in your Instagram bio—there are many bio link tools to help you with that. Also, all Instagram users now have the option to add links to Stories, so this is definitely a great tactic to employ. 

Additionally, if you’re running any lead generation campaigns, such as through email marketing, then you can add the Yelp page links in the emails.

Responding to Reviews

You should always be responding to the reviews you receive, both positive and negative.

When you get a negative review, your response says a lot about your business. If you’re defensive or quick to anger, it’s going to make you and your business look bad. But apologizing for whatever caused the bad experience—and publicly attempting to make it right—can go a long way in the eyes of your reviewers.

If people see that you’re happy to respond to reviews, they’re more likely to leave them.

Advertise on Yelp

Another way to promote your Yelp listing is to use paid advertising on the platform.

By paying Yelp directly, you’re able to push your business page out in front of your target audience. This is all done through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, similar to Google Ads.

Advertising Marketing Yelp

Basically, you’re targeting specific people and paying every time they click on your ad. You can set your own budget when advertising on Yelp, with a minimum spend of $5 per day. Businesses will typically spend anywhere from $300 to $1,000 per month on Yelp ads.

If you don’t know much about advertising, then you can hire a freelance marketer on a contract basis to do the work for you. When you work with freelancers, it’s a good idea to specify your requirements in a contract using built-in contract templates. This helps everyone to stay on the same page regarding expectations, targets, and deadlines.

Latest Notable Yelp Features

If you want to keep Yelp as a viable profit generator for years to come, you’re going to have to stay on top of updates to the system. Technology is rapidly changing, and if you don’t keep your ear to the ground, you’re not going to be able to keep up with your competitors.

The following are notable features Yelp has added within the last few years. Get familiar with these features and use them to your advantage in 2022.

Request a Quote

While this feature has been around since 2016, it’s something that really helps small quote-based businesses and, therefore, still deserves some recognition.

Yelp’s ‘Request a Quote’ function was launched as an update to its already successful messaging feature. Listings under event planning, automotive, home services, financial services, professional services, and local services categories, will have a ‘Request a Quote’ button attached to them.

You can see these boxes highlighted in the image below, along with information on how long the business usually takes to respond:

Yelp Request A Quote

In the example above, customers can see that the first plumber listed typically replies in ten minutes, while the second usually takes 20 minutes.

‘Request a Quote’ has been a huge success, prompting a 250% increase in message response rates from business owners. Thanks to this service, you’re likely to get more quote requests and more opportunities to interact directly with potential customers.

Custom Search Filters

Yelp launched custom search filters in 2021, and this feature has already changed the way that consumers search for businesses.

Search queries now have new filters that can be applied, such as businesses that give virtual consultations, or even the fastest-responding businesses. This is ideal for service industry businesses, as it can showcase your exceptional response times and the additional benefits of choosing you.

Covid-19 Updates

The coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted countless businesses across the planet. With pandemic-related issues shifting on a near constant basis, it can be difficult to communicate recent changes to your customers.

Yelp is a huge help with this thanks to its ‘Covid-19 Updates’ feature. Businesses are able to instantly list any changes to their hours. What’s more, they can ease worried customers’ minds by sharing Covid-19 policies through customizable banner alerts.

Covid 19 Updates

Source: Yelp

Custom Location Targeting

This advertising feature allows businesses to choose the specific geographic area where they want their ads to run.

Before the rollout of custom location targeting, businesses were only able to choose a target radius that surrounded the business location. However, you’re now able to choose the specific geographic location where you want your ads to run, regardless of your physical location.

Customizable Calls-to-Action

In 2021, Yelp started allowing businesses to customize the CTAs that appear on their posts with whatever text they wanted to use. According to Yelp, this feature prompted a 40% increase in post engagement after only one month.

Ad Text Guidance

Businesses have always been able to customize the text that appears on their Yelp ads. However, business owners who don’t have copywriting expertise are now getting a helping hand in the form of ad text guidance.

Yelp provides example text that will help business owners create the best ad copy possible and level the playing field for all.

Ad Text Guidance

Source: Yelp

Minority-Owned Business Finder

If you’re a business owner who belongs to a minority group, Yelp allows you to list this information directly on your listing. This helps those who are looking to support minority-owned businesses to find you more easily.

In the wake of this change, review mentions for Black-owned businesses were up 165% in 2021.

Yelp took this a step further during February 2022, when it highlighted standout Black-owned businesses as part of Black History Month.

An Incredible Marketing Tool

The bottom line is that Yelp can be an incredible marketing tool for your business or a colossal waste of your time. It all depends on how you use it.

Much like a hammer can either be used to hang a painting or put a hole in a wall, Yelp can be a huge asset if you know what you’re doing and you put the time in.

Yelp provides excellent exposure, offers a platform for user-generated content, and it’s totally free to join. However, when you do use Yelp, you’re also naturally inviting the possibility of negative reviews, and the cost of Yelp advertising can add up to a big expense.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you’ll use Yelp to support your marketing efforts and boost your business!

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Shane Barker
About the author
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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