Yelp Review Data: Insights & Analysis (2024)

In today’s digital world, online reviews have become indispensable for local businesses looking to build their reputation and get more customers. According to a survey by Moz, 96% of consumers now read online reviews before visiting or purchasing from a local business. Platforms like Yelp provide an opportunity for businesses to tap into a vast repository of customer feedback and insights through reviews, ratings, photos, and more.

For brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, retail stores, salons and others, monitoring and leveraging Yelp can lead to a multitude of benefits. Analysis of Yelp data can reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a business through the eyes of customers. It provides demographic information on the people engaging with the brand. Negative reviews present an opportunity to address issues and improve operations. Positive ratings can be used in marketing and promotions to attract more customers. Overall, Yelp offers valuable data that, if utilized properly, can help local businesses boost their online reputation and get more customers through the door.

Overview of Yelp Data

Yelp provides extensive data on local businesses, including full listings with hours, photos, categories, contact info, and more. For each business, Yelp has a complete database of reviews from users that includes star ratings from 1–5, the date each review was posted, and information about the reviewer.

In addition to reviews, Yelp collects user check-ins, tips, photos, and other metadata about the business. All of this is available in Yelp’s dataset for businesses to access and analyze. Photos posted by users can provide visual insight into a business. Check-ins over time show foot traffic trends. The depth of Yelp’s data makes it a valuable resource for understanding a local business’s online reputation and customer base.

Claiming Your Yelp Business Listing

The first step to get started with Yelp is to sign up for a free Yelp user account if you don’t already have one. Go to Yelp.com, and click “Sign Up” in the top right corner. Follow the prompts to create your account using your business email and a password.

Once you have a Yelp account, you can search for your business listing. Yelp aims to have a page for every business, so there’s a good chance your business is already listed. You’ll want to claim and verify ownership of your listing so you can access all the data and manage the page. Simply search for your business name and location, then look for the “Is this your business?” link on the listing. Click this, and follow the verification steps to connect your new Yelp account with your business page.

If your business doesn’t have an existing Yelp page, you can easily add and claim it by clicking “Add your business” on Yelp’s homepage. Enter your business details like name, address, and phone number. Yelp will send a postcard with a verification code to your listed business address, which you’ll need to enter online to complete the claim process.

Accessing Your Yelp Data

As a business owner, the primary way to access your Yelp data is through the Yelp for Business Owners dashboard. After claiming your business listing, you can log into your dashboard. This dashboard allows you to view your business’s Yelp page analytics, manage photos, respond to reviews, and control your public profile information.

Within the dashboard, you can download a .csv spreadsheet containing the full text and details of your Yelp reviews over any time period. This gives you an easy way to analyze trends in your ratings, feedback themes from customers, changes over time, etc. The dashboard also lets you export data like page views, clicks, and search ranking.

For more advanced analysis, Yelp offers an API to programmatically access their data. As a business owner, you can use the API to build custom tools that pull your Yelp reviews, ratings, and other analytics into your own business systems. This enables automating tasks like sentiment analysis of reviews or monitoring ratings in real-time.

Analyzing and Extracting Insights

Once you have access to your Yelp data, the next step is analyzing it to gain actionable insights. There are several tools and techniques that can help.

Excel or business intelligence software like Tableau allow you to visualize trends in ratings, sentiment analysis, keywords, and more. You can filter reviews by date ranges, categories, attributes like location, etc. to spot patterns. Useful metrics include average rating over time, percent of 5-star reviews, and percent of reviews recommending the business.

Sentiment analysis uses natural language processing to categorize reviews as positive, negative, or neutral. This helps quickly identify strengths vs. weaknesses or pain points from customer feedback. Some sentiment analysis tools like Anecdote can detect emotions like frustration, satisfaction, etc.

Review analysis can uncover common themes in what customers appreciate or take issue with. Word clouds and text analysis make it easy to identify key topics frequently mentioned in reviews. Group similar themes to determine areas for improvement.

Regularly analyzing Yelp data in this way provides insights to implement changes that will delight customers and get more positive reviews.

Understanding Your Customers

Yelp provides valuable demographic data about the people leaving reviews for your business. This includes information like age, gender, location, and other details that can help you better understand your customer base. By analyzing this data, you can gain insights into who your best customers are and what motivates them.

For example, you may find that most of your 5-star reviews come from families or young professionals within a certain radius of your location. This allows you to tailor offerings and marketing to appeal to these demographics. You can even filter reviews by demographic to see differences in feedback across customer segments.

The written review content itself also provides a wealth of customer insights. Pay attention to the language, sentiments, and specifics mentioned in reviews to identify customer preferences, areas for improvement, or recurring issues. For example, you may notice people constantly mentioning long wait times or uncomfortable seating. Analyzing the review details helps you pinpoint your business’s areas of highest need.

Regularly checking Yelp can reveal shifts in your customer base over time as well. Monitoring changes in demographics and feedback allows you to stay aligned with emerging customer needs. Overall, the rich qualitative and quantitative data within Yelp reviews enables better understanding of your patrons so you can better meet their needs.

Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses

Yelp review data provides valuable insights into your business’s strengths and areas for improvement. Analyzing the themes in positive and negative reviews can reveal what your customers like most and where you’re falling short of expectations.

Start by categorizing reviews based on star rating—5 stars for highly satisfied customers, 1 star for disgruntled patrons. Look for commonly used words and phrases to identify strengths and weaknesses. For example, lots of 5-star reviews mentioning “friendly service” indicates it’s an asset, while repeated 1-star complaints about “long wait times” signals an issue to address.

You can also use Yelp’s ratings dashboard to view the volume of reviews at each star level over time. Watching for trends and spikes helps detect when you’re improving or slipping in certain areas. Comparing your ratings to competitors on Yelp can provide useful context as well.

Regularly analyzing your strengths and weaknesses enables you to double down on what you do best and improve upon deficiencies. This helps delight customers, address pain points, and stand out from other businesses. As your Yelp ratings and reviews change over time, continue monitoring to adapt and enhance.

Responding to Negative Reviews

Negative reviews can feel discouraging, but how you respond presents an opportunity to improve customer relationships. Follow these best practices when crafting your response:

  • Respond promptly, within 24 hours if possible. This shows you are listening and care about feedback.
  • Address the reviewer politely by name and thank them for taking the time to provide feedback.
  • Apologize for their poor experience and offer to make it right if possible. Offer contact details to resolve offline.
  • Remain professional and never get defensive. Explain reasons for the issue, but don’t make excuses.
  • Show that you value their feedback by outlining any improvements or changes you will implement.
  • For extreme complaints unrelated to actual experiences, politely indicate there is no record of the offense and that you believe it may be a false review.
  • Ask dissatisfied customers to give you another chance to provide a better experience.

The goal is turning critics into advocates. By proactively addressing concerns and showing you care, you may turn negative reviewers into loyal customers who revise their ratings. Monitor to see if the customer modifies or removes their review based on your response. This allows you to learn from mistakes and continuously improve.

Promoting Your Positive Ratings

Positive Yelp reviews offer social proof that your business provides a great customer experience. Promoting and highlighting these 5-star ratings can attract new customers who want to see what the buzz is about.

When you receive positive Yelp reviews, share excerpts from them on your website and social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. For example, pull out a sentence or two praising your customer service or quality and post that with attribution to the Yelp reviewer. This shows potential customers you have happy existing clients.

You can also include badges or highlights of your 5-star average rating in your digital marketing and advertising. Mention it on brochures, signage, email newsletters, and anywhere else you promote your business. This visually indicates customers can expect an excellent experience at your establishment.

80% of consumers say positive online reviews make them trust a local business more. So don’t be shy about showcasing your Yelp achievements.

Getting More 5-Star Reviews

One of the most effective ways to improve your overall Yelp rating is to get more happy customers to leave positive 5-star reviews. Here are some best practices for soliciting more top reviews ethically and appropriately.

First, make it as easy as possible for satisfied customers to leave a review. Have signs or flyers up with your Yelp page QR code or link. Mention it on receipts. Send a friendly email after a purchase inviting them to share their experience. Offer a small incentive like a discount for leaving a review.

You can also run targeted Facebook ads to customers who have engaged with your page before. Use custom audiences to remarket to them and ask for reviews. Social media contests are another way to incentivize reviews.

When reaching out for Yelp reviews, make sure to follow their guidelines and terms of service. Don’t offer rewards explicitly just for a 5-star rating. Keep your requests polite and infrequent. The most effective tactic is simply providing great service so people naturally want to praise you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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