Online reviews are mostly left on sites such as Facebook, Google, and TripAdvisor, with Yelp being one of the most sought-after review site for local businesses.
It’s no surprise that consumers rank Yelp as the number one online review site when it comes to finding local businesses. Yelp encourages users to leave reviews on its site, making it easier for consumers to find local businesses when they search for them on Google. Furthermore, consumers have been found to treat Yelp like just another social media outlet, where Yelp allows people, called “Yelpers”, to create a user ID, build a profile that reflects their personality, and even include their pictures.
In this way, Yelp encourages users to not only share their opinions with others, but connect with friends, make public check-ins at restaurants and even comment on other reviews.
Unlike other review sites, where the business owner can ask for customer reviews, keep the positive ones and delete the negative reviews, in order to keep things professional and to improve the level of trust, Yelp has taken another approach to how reviews can be shared on its site. It is true that, unlike other review sites, Yelp does not post all of the reviews that a business receives. Instead, the service uses an algorithm that decides which review gets to appear on the site, and in what order. This mostly depends on a few factors, such as, who are the reviewers. Yelp normally favors those users who have contributed many reviews on local businesses, have shared a lot of photos and have many friends amongst fellow “Yelpers.”
According to Yelp, businesses are not allowed to ask their clients for reviews, which can be a challenge for small businesses that are trying to compete with the big fish. But that being said, there are ways in which small businesses can build up their online presence using Yelp.
- Include a Yelp button to a business website, prompting customers to go on Yelp and leave a review.
- Let customers know your business has been indexed on Yelp so that they can go and post a review.
- Add a Yelp review button to your email signature to ensure your audience will visit Yelp and leave a review.
- Do not ask customers or mailing list subscribers to review your website.
- Don’t run any surveys asking customers to leave a review.
- Don’t offer a discount or any freebies in exchange for a review.
While Yelp’s stern outlook on user reviews can be seen as a challenge by small businesses who are just trying to get noticed, it is all for good reason. Since people view Yelp as purely a review site, Yelp only allows those customer reviews that are worthy of being shared with the masses, and as mentioned earlier, it’s got an algorithm for that. Yelp advises all business owners to provide a memorable and amazing user experience that will encourage positive reviews, rather than asking your customers blatantly for posting a review on Yelp.