Yelp is one of many destinations online that local businesses can use to optimize their business Web presence. . Many local businesses are aware of the reviews portion of Yelp as an important place to monitor their online reputation, but did you know you can optimize your business listing on Yelp to drive engagement and build your visibility in local search engine results as well? Recently, we heard from a local Yelp community manager, Kevin Newsum, who shared insights about Yelp and local businesses with a local Social Media Club chapter. So, we’ve put together some of the insights he shared to help you better understand Yelp and how to get more out of it for your business.
Understanding Yelp: User Base, Reviews & Demographics
According to Newsum, Yelp currently has 71 million monthly users and boasts approximately 27 million total reviews. Forty two percent of users are between the ages of 18 and 34. The two largest categories for business reviews on Yelp are shopping (23%) and restaurants (22%). Yelp’s mobile stats are equally impressive; approximately 40% of all searches on Yelp came from their mobile app. Plus, during the first quarter of 2012, Yelp’s mobile app was used, on average, by approximately 6.3 million unique mobile devices.
With this in mind, it’s important to understand that Yelp is a destination where people are talking about your business even if you’re not a part of the conversation. And with that many people using Yelp to talk about local businesses, it’s better to be a part of the conversation there than to ignore it.
The Anatomy of a Yelp Listing
According to Newsum, a local business has access to claim or create a listing on Yelp. Each listing has four main elements: Yelp deals, hours and website, business description, and photos.
He stressed the importance of Yelp deals as a tactic to attract Yelpers to your business. He recommended getting creative with Yelp deals, and to keep in mind that they don’t necessarily have to be of monetary value. He shared an example of a pub in Dallas that offers a Yelp check-in deal for a “Firm handshake from the barkeep.” Even something this simple and creative can give Yelpers a good feel for your business and help you establish a relationship with your customers.
Hours & Website
Adding your business hours and website are also important; remember that 40% of all Yelp searches came from a mobile device, so it’s critical to provide accurate, up-to-date information for users searching on the go. The link to your website provides further information and also adds SEO value as a backlink.
Your business description on Yelp is important because Yelp is a community, and a business description helps tell the story of your business. Newsum recommending using this space to tell Yelpers something about your business they can’t find on your website. You can also use this space for updates and current information about the business.
Photos are a critical part of an optimized listing, because a blank listing with no photos can give users the impression that the business doesn’t care. Newsum recommended using this space as a way to entice customers to visit your business and try your products and services. For example, if you’re a restaurant, post photos of your delicious food. If you’re a boutique, post photos of the latest fashions your offering. Don’t just let this opportunity go to waste; give users an “inside look” at what they can expect from your business.
Understanding Yelp Metrics
Yelp metrics come free with a local business listing. In March 2012, Yelp made some improvements to their metrics, which now allow business owners to learn more about their visibility on Yelp and track how users are engaging with their business. The new “user views” graph tracks traffic to Yelp page as well as views from mobile devices. The new “user actions” section of the business dashboard tracks a variety of interactions from your Yelpers, including the number of mobile check-ins, calls to your business, requests for directions to your business, photos uploaded, clicks to your website, Yelp bookmarks, and Yelp Deals sold.
Newsum shared that Yelp is continuing to make local search and reviews simpler not only for consumers, but for local business owners as well. So, get started becoming a part of the online conversation about your business starts by claiming and optimizing your listing so you can engage with Yelp users and help build your reputation online.
Have you claimed and optimized your listing? What do you think about Yelp’s latest updates? Share your thoughts in a comment.