When it comes to local business reviews, there are many places a business can be listed online and reviewed, but there are still some definite front-runners. It then comes down to the age-old competition: Yelp vs. Google.
Yelp and Google local business reviews both come with pro and cons. This article will help you understand which business review sites you should focus on so you can streamline your efforts and be smart about how you use your resources. Which one deserves the bulk of your attention, and which should you put on the sidelines?
While Google can encompass many things across the internet, for local business reviews it consists of Google My Business.
First came Google+ Local, which was then transitioned to Google Places, which has now morphed into Google My Business in June of 2014. Google My Business makes the management of local business data and business social pages more efficient. Google combined the best features of Google + and Google Places in an easy-to-use dashboard. Any business already on Google Places and Google+ have automatically been upgraded to Google My Business. Google My Business means that business owners waste less time, allowing them to spend more time actually running their business.
- Ability to manage your listing, location, reviews and content all from one place
- SEO power to show your listing higher in qualified searches
- Access to Maps, Google+ and Hangouts
- Gmail Integration, whenever you post something new on your page and email your list, any Gmail users will see your latest post on the right side column
- YouTube integration, showcase your videos easily on your channel and Google+ page
- Ability to tap into Google data
- Your Google+ content won’t show up as well for everyone as it will for people in your circle
- Lack of audience for your Google+ content
- Not as easy to search and navigate for a local business as Yelp
Yelp, founded in 2004, is a local business review website, allowing people (whether they have been customer’s of the business or not) to leave reviews about any business, such a dentists, hair stylists and mechanics. With approximately 135 million unique monthly visitors in Q4 of 2014 and over 71 million local reviews, it’s a pretty influential place for local business reviews.
In addition to business reviews, you can find events, lists of local businesses and connect with other “Yelpers.” Every business owner (or manager) can setup a free Yelp for Business account where they can update their business information and respond to reviewers.
It is worth mentioning that Yelp makes money by selling ads to local businesses. While Yelp claims it is very church and state (i.e.: an advertiser on Yelp has no control over reviews), there have been a few lawsuits over the years that accuse Yelp of lying about their review policies. Despite the lawsuits, we can’t deny that Yelp is an extremely powerful platform.
- Currently, the #1 site consumers turn to for local business reviews and recommendations
- Community of ‘Yelpers’ who can influence where meet-ups are hosted in local areas
- SEO advantages for local searches
- High traffic
- Accessibility, viewers don’t need an account to search for businesses, see business information or read reviews
- Can filter out legitimate business reviews through the Yelp Review Filter
- Pressure to purchase ads on Yelp
- Yelp’s strict Terms of Service stating it can suspend your account at any time
Is Google or Yelp the Best Local Review Site for you?
While Google has been changing their management of reviews and local business listings over the past few years, they’ve come up with a great solution with Google My Business, making it easier than ever for local businesses to manage many aspects of their digital marketing through Google.
On the other hand, Yelp has established themselves as a local business powerhouse, building their credibility over time.
So which one should you choose? You’re not going to like the answer, but both. Right now, customers still equate Yelp with business reviews and Google is still in the process of building out their presence with local business reviews. By managing reviews on both Google and Yelp, you’ll help build your business’s presence on both sites — regardless of which platform comes out on top in the reviews match.
The Shifting Tides
While reviews are here to stay, where consumers will be going to read them and write them look to be changing.
While you should continue to respond to reviews on both Yelp and Google (and wherever else you may have business listings), it looks like Google is edging Yelp out of the game. With Yelp’s reported pushy behavior with local businesses buying advertising space on the platform and the Yelp Review Filter allegedly removing perfectly legitimate reviews, businesses are looking for somewhere else to go to display and respond to customer reviews.