Using Yelp to Grow Your Business
Many business owners are frustrated with Yelp, but if you use it to your advantage it can be a great tool for growing your business.
Yelp is a local directory and it’s very important as part of your local SEO (search engine optimization) strategy to claim as many local directories as possible. This helps send signals to search engines that you are an active local business.
In addition, Yelp is one often one of the first search results that displays for local searches, so it’s important to have a solid presence there.
Follow these steps to make sure you are maximizing your Yelp profile.
Complete your profile
In order to manage your Yelp profile you will need a (free) Yelp business account. Go to https://biz.yelp.com/login and look for the “Claim your business” link beneath the login area.
Make sure you fill in all your information and add as many photos as you can, they don’t need to be professionally taken. Make sure to include an exterior photo of your business so that it’s easy for people to recognize your business as they drive by or are looking for it.
- Name and category: This is often overlooked as a minor detail of your profile and nothing could be further from the truth! Make sure you have categorized your business profile, it’s the most important part of your profile.
- Detailed address and phone number: Include your street address and any notes about a landmark (for instance Leap is located in what’s called the “big potato building” by locals) If you move, make sure to update your contact info right away.
- Include the link to your website: Always include links to your website on any directory you set up your business on. Besides the category, this is the most important step. As your Yelp presence grows you will see an increase in website traffic in your google analytics for your website. You want potential customers to get off Yelp and go to your site so that they can learn more about your business.
- Quality photos: Users can add photos to your profile when they leave reviews, but you as a business owner can also add photos. You should include an exterior photo so that it’s easy to recognize your business when they arrive. To get started on Yelp you don’t have to use professional photos, but depending on what type of business you have you may want to consider hiring a photographer as it could make a difference in what type of customer you attract. Amateur photos from a general contractor could make the work look cheaper than it actually is, while high end professional photos might attract a higher end customer. Likewise, a professional photographer will be better able to accurately convey the ambience of a restaurant.
- OpenTable.com reservations: If you’re a restaurant take advantage of connecting OpenTable to your Yelp profile and start accepting reservations via Yelp through their system.
- Important info: Be sure to accurately fill out important information and features like your hours, price range, outdoor dining opportunities (restaurants), pet friendly, etc. When you review your metrics later you’ll notice people using this information to click to call your business or for directions so it’s crucial that this information is accurate.
- About your business: This tab is somewhat hidden and can therefore often be overlooked as non-important, but make sure to spend some time on this. Take the opportunity to tell the story about your business and personalize the experience.
Special offers & Advertising
Yelp offers a pretty comprehensive advertising program, but I prefer exploring their page upgrade section. For a minimal fee you can add a few upgrades to your page that can make a big difference. My favorite is restricting competitors’ ads on your profile. When someone clicks on your profile, two ads will typically show towards the top. These can be ads from competitors using Yelp’s other ad program, and can easily confuse a Yelp user. For $50/month you can restrict these ads so they don’t show on your site.
Understand your metrics
Your Yelp profile supplies you with some easy to read metrics under the activity tab. You’ll be easily able to see how many Yelp users have clicked through to your website, called, or gotten directions to your establishment. Keep an eye on this if you decide to restrict ads or go with their advertising program and it will quickly show how successful the investment is.
If you’re on the go a lot, make sure to download the Yelp for Business Owners app so you can respond to reviews and stay on top of your Yelp activity wherever you go. If you need help determining how to respond to reviews, check out our how to respond to negative yelp reviews blog post.