How Yelp can help your business get ahead of the pack.
What is Yelp?
Users can search for nearby shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels, bars, and trade services, often making decisions based on the experiences of past reviewers.
After years of worldwide expansion, and a recent introduction to Australia, Yelp has finally made it to Brisbane where, thanks largely to its existing reputation, it has rapidly taken off.
The Hidden Benefits
Besides the obvious potential word-of-mouth support, Yelp has several “secret” perks.
- Google recognises Yelp as a major local review website, and will factor ratings into its searches. Not only can Yelp reviews appear on your business’s Google Places profile; businesses with more reviews can also be favoured over those with none.Google’s search rules and algorithms are changing all the time, getting increasingly personalised and location-based. The more information it has to go on, the more likely Google will match your business with your ideal audience.
- Future Developments
The iPhone 4S “assistant”, Siri, draws upon Yelp reviews for its local searches. In San Francisco, a current-generation iPhone user can ask “where is the best coffee nearby?” and, in all probability, be directed to the business with the highest Yelp rating. At the time of writing, this functionality has yet to reach Australia, but it’s only a matter of time.
Do you need to act?
You may already have a Yelp business listing without realising it. The service will often draw details from existing Yellow Pages listings. Alternatively, a user who wished to review you may have already added some basic information on your behalf (although you will be free to claim this listing as your own).
This raises the question: if it’s not strictly necessarily to create your own listing, is it necessary to pay any attention?
The simple answer is “absolutely”. By starting your own profile (or taking control of your existing listing), you can:
- Make it easier for users (who are far more likely to post a review if the opportunity is immediately available).
- Make sure your images and text properly represent your brand.
- Keep track of visitor feedback and respond to any concerns.
- Offer special deals and discounts to those who publicly ”check in” at your location.
As with any other review system, the potential for word-of-mouth can work both ways. Negative reviews can, have, and continue to cost businesses money, both fairly and unfairly. That said, the “user reviews” scene remains very active and will only grow stronger across countless local search websites and apps. By taking initiative and using this to your advantage, you’re giving your satisfied customers an easy way to help you out.
It’s worth noting that Yelp will actively search for “suspicious” reviews and take action against anyone who appears to be praising their own business or anonymously criticising a competitor.
How can we help?
Online Visions can optimise your presence on any social network (including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and, of course, Yelp) to help you get the most of your online marketing.
We can also embed Yelp functionality into any new or existing website, encouraging stronger word-of-mouth. Contact us online today to discuss the best social media marketing options for you.Yelp Launches in Australia