Yelp ranks very well on Google and other search engines. It has the capacity to dramatically impact how your business is received by customers.
What’s more, Yelp is growing! It’s more than just restaurants and cafes — it’s any and every service-based business.
Now’s your chance to get ahead of the curve by creating a Yelp page for your business and start generating positive customer reviews.
If you already have a page, this guide can help transform your customer ratings and boost your rating from a “so-so” status to top-notch. If you don’t have a page, we’ll help you start getting reviews.
This guide is broken down into two sections: how to start getting reviews and how to improve reviews.
Here’s How to Start Getting Reviews
1. Claim Your Business Listing
If your business is already on Yelp, you want to “claim” it. After claiming it, you can pursue two strategies:
- Build out your page by adding photos, deals and more info about your business.
- Leave the page, as is and avoid adding additional content.
Here’s how you decide which strategy to use:
- If your business has POSITIVE reviews: go with option #1, as adding more content will boost your ranking on Google and other search engines, so it can get in front of more eyes. More content will also boost credibility and become more attractive to potential customers.
- If your business has NEGATIVE reviews: go with option #2. Leave it alone for now, as adding more content will boost your ranking on Google and thus expose a greater audience to your not-so nice reviews. We’ll talk more about improving reviews further along.
2. Get Smart About Asking for Reviews
You want to be sure the reviews you’re getting are positive, so pay close attention to who you’re asking to leave feedback. This is called a “pre-qualifying” phase.
After you’ve worked with a customer, ask them about their experience: what did they enjoy, where could you improve, would they recommend you to their friends?
If their experience is positive and you’re confident they’ll be willing to leave a great review, ask them!
To make it even easier, provide your happy customer with a link to your Yelp page or offer an incentive to leave a review.
For example, once they leave a review, you can send them a discount code or coupon for their next purchase with your business.
3. Ask for Personal Reviews (Who Are Also Customers)
Reach out to friends, partners or vendors to ask for reviews. It may sound a bit like cheating, but a review from a personal connection or partner will generally be formatted differently than that of a “regular” customer.
Ask them to attribute to your character, history of working together or other small, appropriate tidbit of information, which will entice potential customers.
It’s okay for them to state “the owner is my friend” or “we’ve done business for years.”
The key is to be transparent and honest in their review. Remember, people do business with those they know, like and trust.
4. Send a Follow-Up Email
After you’ve “pre-qualified” a customer, but still haven’t gotten their review, it’s perfectly acceptable to send a follow-up email, asking for a review.
Your follow-up email can take one of two ways:
- Directly ask for the review: “Thank you again for your business! We’re so pleased you had a positive experience with us and would love for you to share your feedback on our Yelp page.” Just be sure to include a link!
- Sneak it into your signature: Add a quick, subtle link to your signature that says something like “Tell people about your experience” or “People love us on Yelp.”
Now, Here’s How to Improve Reviews
Yelp has specific algorithms in place to “filter” authentic versus inauthentic reviews.
Without getting too technical, the goal is to make your reviewers appear as authentic as possible, so Yelp doesn’t filter them out of your business. Let’s jump in.
1. Friend Your Reviewer
Authentic Yelp users typically have friends on their profile. If you know the user or know they had a good experience with your business, friend them.
Yelp recognizes this action as an indication of authenticity, regardless of whether or not they friend you back.
2. Follow Their Yelp Activity
This action is similar to Twitter, where you can “follow” their activity feed.
3. Like Their Reviews
Yelp has a feature where you can mark reviews based on their content. For example, you can mark a review as “useful”, “funny” or “cool.” A simple, easy action to authenticate your users!
4. Send Your Reviewer a Message
If a user has a generic or empty profile, Yelp will filter out these reviews. Contact your user to firstly thank them for their review and then suggest ways they can improve their profile, so their reviews can be seen by other users.
Remember, if the user in question sent you a stellar review, it’s not all that strange to contact them.
Here’s how a user can improve their profile and get their reviews seen:
- Add a profile picture — Yelp doesn’t like default images.
- Review more businesses.
- Recommend they add more friends — users can connect their Yelp to Facebook and add their friends.
- Check-in at different businesses — it’s super simple with the mobile app!
- Stay active!
Yelp looks for authentic reviews and active users to determine ratings. Whether you already have a page or want to make it better, a little elbow grease goes a long way!
How is your Yelp page shaping up? What actions will you take to improve your content and generate higher ratings? Tell us in the comments below!