Yelp marketing continues to make headlines, whether it’s in court or for their quickly expanding digital footprint and how it impacts businesses of all sizes. Regardless of how Yelp is perceived, it has a larger and larger impact on search engines and how local businesses rank. It’s also one of the first places a potential customer might look when trying out a new business.

Why Does Yelp Marketing Matter?

Yelp profiles and queries are being served on both Google and Yahoo’s first page of their search engine results. After performing a vague search, “seafood restaurants in ocean city md,” you can see that Yelp profiles are being served on Yahoo and that Google’s first listing takes you to Yelp with a search looking for ‘Best Seafood Restaurant’ near Ocean City, MD.

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How to Promote Your Business Using Yelp

How To Optimize Your Yelp Profile

The first step to having an optimized Yelp profile is to claim your Yelp listing. Once it’s been claimed, be sure to use accurate categories for your business. Below are some suggestions on how to set up your profile to expand your online reach.

  • Use photos! Have at least 5 photos, ideally from high resolution images
  • List your business hours
  • Be sure to list your current phone number and address
  • Provide an accurate and detailed business description, with search keywords throughout


What To Do Once Your Yelp Profile Has Been Optimized?

Once your Yelp profile has been optimized, businesses need to engage with the people leaving reviews, and that includes negative reviews, too! 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and 44% of customers base their decision after reading a review. It’s key to thank positive reviews and encourage them to come back, but it’s equally important to respond to negative reviews. Below are a few tips on how to handle a negative review.  If you want to help customers, give them tips on how to avoid the Yelp review filter.

How to Respond to Yelp Reviews (Even Negative Ones)

33% of negative reviews turn positive when you respond to them, so your social reputation is within your control as long as you have a social reputation monitoring tool so you know what people are saying about you.

It’s critical to remember that the people leaving reviews are real people and often vocal and opinionated. Acknowledge the negative post and the issue they describe and ask the person to contact you offline. Be very polite and be sure to use proper grammar. If the person has a legitimate gripe, address the comment and provide a path to resolution offline.  The last thing you want to do is go back and forth in front of the entire online world.

The absolute worst thing to do is to respond and defend your business online while you’re still angry; this can lead to bad press and even make national news. Remember, ignoring a negative review is the second worst thing a business can do.