Yelp reviews are some of the hardest online reviews to get from your customers. We look at why that is, and guide you on how to get more of them.
You might have a small army of loyal customers, but if your Yelp page is quiet, you may find it harder to attract new customers into the fold.
Of course online reviews translate directly into dollars... if you're getting the right kind (and yes, Yelp is the right kind).
But with a notoriously strict review filter you may be wondering just exactly how to get Yelp reviews... and how to get them to stick.
It's just like mom always said: all you have to do is ask nicely. Okay maybe it's a little more involved than that, but getting Yelp reviews isn't as hard as you think.
Let's take a look at why it matters and exactly how it's done.
Why Yelp Matters
Between desktop and mobile versions, nearly 150 million people visit Yelp each month (according to Yelp itself). Google and Facebook don't release stats about their review readership, but they are becoming increasingly important, even eclipsing Yelp in volume and readership (more on this in a minute).
And online reviews are incredibly influential, according to a recent survey.
Over 1,000 people were surveyed about how their shopping habits were affected by online reviews, and the message was clear:
In order to drive business, you need customers to consistently write positive reviews because:
- 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 74 percent of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
- 73 percent of consumers think that reviews older than three months are no longer relevant
Wait, There’s More!
Opportunity to Improve Your Business
Customer reviews can shed a lot of light on the areas you need to improve on. A proper Yelp review plan may help you to better understand your customers' needs and make the required changes to meet those needs.
Good Yelp reviews help you expand your customer base by attracting new consumers based on positive word of mouth. Yelp receives approximately 150 million unique visits each month – that's a lot of publicity! Adding your company to Yelp can help you reach a larger audience and enhance your visibility.
You're Connecting With Individuals Who Are Ready to Buy
When individuals step out into the market to buy a particular product or service, one of the first things they do is look at other people's experiences. Customers use Yelp to determine if purchasing from a particular business will fit their expectations.
Thinking of Buying Yelp Reviews? DON'T!
You CAN buy favorable Yelp reviews. Simply type "buy Yelp reviews" in the Google search bar and a list of companies that sell them will appear. Such service providers will load up your page with good reviews at an affordable cost.
HOWEVER, the problem with buying paid Yelp reviews is that the platform is now effective at discovering them and penalizing the companies that pay for them. This is just one of the reasons why you should avoid purchasing Yelp reviews altogether.
People who attempt to cheat Yelp's system aren’t just frowned upon. Yelp also has strict filters in place to prevent false reviews from being seen by the general public. The site pays attention to how many reviews an individual has written in the past and whether they give a five-star rating for one business and a one-star rating for a local competitor.
They also use sophisticated algorithms to keep an eye out for suspicious language. And if the Yelp algorithm doesn't get you, Yelp’s close-knit community that self-polices any shady reviews definitely will!
Asking for Yelp Reviews
Here's where that "asking nicely" thing comes in:
Survey Says: Seven out of ten customers will post an online review if you ask them to. So... start asking.
It's worth noting Yelp's official position about asking for reviews...
On one hand, the company tells businesses not to ask customers for reviews. But on the other hand Yelp does encourage businesses to tell their customers to "find us on Yelp."
If that sounds confusing it's because... well, it is confusing, especially because Yelp is the only major review site that has this policy.
But rather than ponder why this is their policy, let's instead focus on what matters...
The Step-by-Step Guide On How To Get More Yelp Reviews
Whether you're a new one-person startup or a decades-old business, you can get more Yelp reviews using the same process. (Of course, you can't get any Yelp reviews if your business isn't on Yelp. So if you haven't already created a page for your business, start with Yelp's Add a Business page.)
- If you haven't already, claim your Yelp business listing. Claiming your business is a way of stating you're authorized to speak for it. To take this step, visit Yelp's Find and Claim page and search for your business. Once you've successfully claimed the business, you can respond to reviews and track visitor activity on your page.
- Optimize your Yelp page by adding all relevant information about your business, such as hours and parking information. Upload high-quality photos of your location and products. Photos are really important: according to Yelp, users spend 2.5 times longer looking at pages that include photos than those without photos.
- Add links to your Yelp page that direct users to your website and other social media pages.
- Add a Yelp review widget on your website that links back to your Yelp page where people can leave a public review. The positive reviews will build trust in your customers and the integrations will bring together your audience from both platforms.
- Make it a habit to ask customers questions at the end of every transaction, and train your staff to do the same. Ask something like, "How was your experience here today?"
- If the feedback is mixed or negative, ask (nicely!) to hear more about what the problem was. When you empathize with the customer and ask for genuine feedback, you might be able to address their concerns and make them feel heard and understood. And when that happens, you can convert them into happy customers, or at least make them less inclined to complain about you on Yelp.
- If the feedback is positive, ask the customer to write an online review. The key is to ask in a casual, no-pressure manner. Say something like "Glad you're happy! Don't feel shy about posting that on Yelp or Google!" If you can get a smile out of the customer, they're that much more likely to review you positively.
6. Responding to your current reviews is also an effective tool for attracting new customers and encouraging the existing ones to leave reviews. In fact, 44.6% of customers are more likely to visit a business that responds to negative reviews.
It's only natural to focus on Yelp - it's an important online review site. But it's not the review site behemoth it was a few years ago. In fact, Yelp is increasingly losing in marketshare to Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor, and industry-specific review sites.
What's that mean for you? It means don't obsess over Yelp. Obsess over providing a great customer experience. Obsess over getting more positive online reviews in general. But let your customers choose the site that they're most comfortable reviewing you on, Yelp or otherwise.
Getting reviews on Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc is definitely worthwhile, considering how much business is driven by online reviews. But it takes tons of time and continuous effort to keep those good reviews flowing.
Using an automated system like ReputationStacker makes the process incredibly easy and simple.
Just enter your customers' email addresses or phone numbers into the system, and ReputationStacker reaches out to them with a single survey question to get their feedback, and directs them to the review sites of your choosing to post a review.
What If My Customers Don't Have a Yelp Account?
Yelp is what a lot of us think of when we think "online reviews", but again it's far from the only game in town.
Cultivate your business pages on review sites like Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor and others to build a diverse review profile. And if a customer says "I'd love to review you but I don't have a Yelp account," you can respond with something like, "No worries, you can review us on Google or Facebook, too!"
The other reason it's important to have reviews on a few different sites and one that you're no doubt already well aware of: Yelp uses complicated algorithms to decide what reviews are shown on your page and which are filtered out, and the company is tight-lipped about how those decisions are made.
Suffice it to say, if your customers are reviewing you on Yelp but they don't have strong Yelp user profiles (i.e.: if they're not already fairly active about posting Yelp reviews for other businesses), then their review is going to get filtered out.
This advice is extremely important so we're going to repeat it: work on getting more online reviews in general and don't focus so much on laser-targeting Yelp.
Over time your customers who are active on Yelp will naturally post reviews there and those reviews won't get filtered. If you focus on and push only for Yelp then statistically speaking most of the reviews posted there are going to get filtered.
Don't be obsessive about Yelp; spread the review love around to a variety of sites.
Many business owners look at Yelp as both a blessing and a curse, but managed properly, it's really mostly a blessing. That said, Yelp is not the be-all end-all of online review sites.
Use the suggestions here to get more Yelp reviews, but also don't ignore other review sites like Google, Facebook, and niche online review sites that are specific to your industry.
Most of your customers will post reviews when gently prompted. And systemizing the way you get reviews keeps positive reviews flowing in and keeps negative feedback from overwhelming your online review presence.
An automated system like ReputationStacker takes all the guesswork out of getting more online reviews and building your customer base.
Ian Kirby has been working in digital marketing for over 15 years. Having worked both with and for digital marketing agencies and in-house with multiple companies, he has a specific interest and expertise in online reputation management, online reviews, and the implementation of business systems. Ian’s writing, videos, and interviews have garnered millions of reads, views, and listens.