Does Yelp Matter?

by Kenny Pratt

If you are like me, you want your prospective customers to be primed and ready to buy when they call on the phone.

Online reviews are often prominent in search engine results and therefore represent a good way to influence your prospective customers before they ever talk to you.  So, one take-away from this post is that you should be carefully curating your online reviews by ethically encouraging positive reviews and responding diplomatically and generously to any negative reviews that pop up.   If you want more, read this post about being worthy of positive reviews.

Yelp is becoming a powerful force (but not for everyone)

If your business is in a small town, far from a metropolitan area, or outside of the U.S. or U.K.  then you can probably stop reading here.   Yelp.com doesn’t yet have a lot of influence in the less populous areas of the U.S. and U.K. (yet).

However, if your business is within Yelp’s sphere of influence, then you should probably pay attention to your listings on the review site and work on building up positive reviews that will help pre-sell your prospects.

Your customer’s reviews are getting filtered out

What a lot of people don’t realize is that Yelp employs a content filter that may be preventing your reviews from showing up in Yelp’s search results.  This was explained in the  March 14, 2010 PC world article  “This [the review filtering] is because Yelp believes that many “interested parties” or companies on the web who take money for writing bogus Yelp reviews (they exist) are detectable because they often write only one review. More honest reviewers usually write multiple reviews of different businesses. Still, the algorithm removes from the conversation the legitimate opinions of first-time reviewers.” – Source

The solution

Search for yourself on Yelp.  The page for your business will indicate if any reviews have been filtered. Click on the number filtered and you will be able to click through to read them.

Scroll down past your last review and, if any have been filtered you will see something like this.

Hopefully you know the people who wrote the filtered reviews.  If you do, your best bet is to take some initiative and reach out to them and politely request  that they review another local business in your area so that you can get credit for the review they already posted for your location.

Epilogue

If you live in or around a metropolitan area, but aren’t familiar with Yelp, here are some statistics.

  • Over 32 million people visited Yelp from desktop computers in the last 30 days. (That is a lot of traffic!)
  • Last month, over half a million calls were made to local businesses directly from Yelp’s iPhone App. That’s about 1 call every 5 seconds to a business as a result of Yelp.
  • Nearly a million people mapped door-to-door directions to a local business from their Yelp iPhone App last month.
  • Read the full article that was the source of these stats on the Yelp Blog.

Are online reviews helping your business?  Do you have any tips for maximizing customer reviews?   Please share in the comments below.

  • http://ChristineHueber.com Christine Hueber

    Great post, Kenny! I’ll share it with my network.

    I just mentioned Yelp in my blog as well, as an excellent way to increase your business’ online presence.

    Best,
    Christine Hueber

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