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Founded in 2004, San Francisco-based Yelp has collected approximately 171 million crowd-sourced reviews of businesses in a wide range of categories, from restaurants and hotels to dentists, boutiques, and mechanics.
Studies have shown that 82 percent of Yelp users visit the site when preparing to spend money. Also, 93 percent of Yelp users go on to make purchases at the business they looked up and researched on the site.
This just goes to show how claiming your business on Yelp can be foundational to your online marketing and customer experience strategy. If you have not yet done so, the time is now.
How to Claim Your Business on Yelp
A claimed Yelp business page is one that has been claimed by the owner or representative of the business through Yelp’s verification process. Claiming is free, and a claimed page does not mean that the business is an advertiser with Yelp.
By claiming business pages, business owners gain access to a suite of free tools to showcase their businesses on Yelp.
With claimed business pages, they can:
- Respond to reviews with a direct message or public comment
- Reply to messages or quote requests from potential customers
- Track User Views and Customer Leads Yelp generates for their businesses
- Upload and manage Yelp business photos
- Update business information like address, phone number, opening hours, website, and other critical business information
- Add further information to the page, like a business owner biography, specialties, and more
Before you create a Yelp business page, make sure that another user hasn’t already added your business.
- Visit the Yelp for Business Owners page.
- Yelp will prompt you to enter the name of the business and its geographical location. For added accuracy, or if the business is part of a chain, enter the specific street address.
- Yelp will conduct a query and will show you a list of businesses with similar names to help you see if a listing already exists.
- If a listing exists, click on it and you will be prompted to follow additional steps to claim it and to validate the claim.
- If the listing is not available, then you will see a query that asks you to add the business to Yelp. Click on it, and enter basic business information.
- Yelp validates the business entry through email. This reduces the number of fake profiles created by malicious individuals. Once you receive your verification email, you will be able to access your full Yelp profile.
To verify that you are the owner of your business, Yelp may call the number listed on your business page and prompt you to enter a verification code. Please ensure you are at your place of business to answer this phone call.
Your business may already be on Yelp
If you have been open for business for a while, and you are finally getting around to setting up your presence on Yelp, chances are someone may have already beaten you to the punch. Your business may be already listed as well as reviewed on Yelp (as well as other review sites).
If this is the case, then consider it good news. Once you claim and verify your Yelp business page, you can begin managing your business information and engaging with your reviewers (as well as those using Yelp to find businesses in their local communities).
Ensure accuracy of information on your Yelp page
If your business is listed already, it would be sensible to review the accuracy of the information associated with the listing, since user-generated profiles often have limited or inaccurate details.
Be proactive! The earlier you take control of your Yelp business page, the sooner you will be able to get Yelp reviews that fully reflect all that your business has to offer.
Managing Your Yelp Business Page
Get your website ready.
Prior to taking over your Yelp business page, you may want to have your business website ready. Even if your website is very simple, it will help by providing Yelpers expanded information about your business that is framed in a look and feel that best conveys what you have to offer.
Add your complete, comprehensive, and up-to-date business information.
While Yelp’s success is driven by user-generated content (specifically, customer reviews of local businesses), it doesn’t mean you have to relinquish full control of your Yelp business page to the temperaments of your customers and reviewers.
Yelp business owners can supercharge their listings by generating their own content and filling their business Yelp page with all relevant information, as completely and comprehensively as possible. Here’s a checklist to help you get started:
- Business name
- Business category
- Address, neighborhood, ZIP code, and map location
- Operating hours
- Phone number
- Website and contact e-mail
- Price range
- Menu (for restaurants, bars, and food and beverage establishments)
- Delivery and take-out information
It’s also useful to indicate if your business:
- Is good for kids
- Accepts credit cards
- Has parking slots (and how many)
- Takes reservations
- Has a strict dress code
- Has Wi-Fi
Optimize the “About This Business” section.
Next to the tab that displays your Yelp reviews, you’ll notice an “About This Business” section, which you can also fill out and edit in order to provide more information about what you do and what you can offer.
Feel free to share your business or company’s history, list down your specialties and recommendations, and add a short bio about the business owner.
Here’s a bonus tip (that doesn’t require you to have an SEO rock star on your team): Conduct a little bit of keyword research to find out what potential customers are typing into their search boxes in order to find you (or your competitors).
The results of this research should help you tweak the content of your “About This Business” section in ways that, hopefully, will have your keyword-rich (but not keyword-stuffed) listing pop at the top of both Yelp and Google search results.
Add Yelp Business Photos.
In addition to having your website ready, make sure you upload high-quality Yelp business photos. Most shoppers are visual, and great pictures can persuade potential customers to pick you over a business with similar qualities but less appealing multimedia.
- Lead with a great exterior photo. Your Yelp business page provides you with superior online real estate that should not go to waste. Uploading a great exterior photo of your business serves a dual purpose: first, it reinforces branding and speaks to the quality of your facility; second, it provides potential customers with a visual that may be helpful for navigational purposes the first time they visit your venue.
- Be as creative as you can with the photography, and go beyond taking pictures of your storefront. If you’re not sure what else you can take pictures of in order to optimize your Yelp for business page, try snapping shots of:
- Your products, specialties, and recommendations – complete with descriptions and pricing
- Your employees and staff members
- Your reception or welcome area (this works especially well for restaurant and hotel review sites)
- Images of your flyers, special promotions, and deals
- Events you’ve hosted in your business location
Check the accuracy of your map location.
Existing and potential customers who search for local businesses using Yelp and Google will typically see a map as part of their search results.
As a business owner, you want to be seen on that map – and be part of the top results – in order to get more people to click and visit your website or business’ Yelp listing.
Work on making your business information and map location as accurate as possible. Having great reviews on Yelp is one thing; having great reviews on Yelp that actually show up in maps and search results is another.
Customize your Yelp business URL.
We recommend this great tip to owners with lengthy or hard-to-remember business names, as well as to those who have not yet customized their Yelp for business URLs.
By creating shortened custom links that lead to your Yelp listing, you make it easier for people to find you, remember you, and give you a review.
An excellent tool is bit.ly, which, apart from creating custom URLs (bit.ly/HoraciosTacosChicago, for example), also lets you analyze link stats like number of clicks, social media referrals, and geographic information.
Another bonus tip: apart from sharing your custom Yelp business page URL across your website, blogs, and social media profiles, you can also have it printed on your advertising and promotional materials: posters, flyers, brochures, business cards, press kits, what-have-you.
It goes without saying that lots of people are already carrying their smartphones and tablets wherever they go. Cater to these people by making it easy for them to find, remember, and visit your Yelp listing.
Understand your Yelp metrics.
To support your Yelp review management and monitoring efforts, visit the Yelp for Business Owners center and check out the data being tracked by the review site for you.
Stats and charts measure several kinds of information about your business page (like traffic, mobile check-ins, number of calls, number of bookmarks created and deals sold, etc.), and from these you can gain insights on how to improve your local search performance.
Download the Yelp for Business App.
Developed for Yelp-listed, on-the-go business owners, the mobile app can help bolster businesses’ review management and customer experience strategy.
It offers real-time mobile notifications of new Yelp reviews and messages, the ability to respond to reviews, and access to important data on a business owner’s Yelp business page activity, like number of user views and customer leads generated over the past 30 days.
You can also use the app to flag Yelp reviews, messages, and photos. Sometimes, other people abuse Yelp and use the site to post fake or spammy reviews, messages, photos, and other forms of content that are in violation of the site’s terms of service and content guidelines.
With the updated “Yelp for Business Owners” app, you can ping Yelp’s support team with a flag option and request for the evaluation and removal of the review, message, or photo in question. So stay on top of your reputation on Yelp and keep an eye out for spammers and trolls!
If you are already active on social media, such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, and Twitter, then consider doing a social search of your new Yelp page. Keep in mind that you are not to solicit or request Yelp reviews from your customers. The purpose of your share is to showcase your new Yelp business page and make your followers aware that you are now active on Yelp.
If you already have reviews, engage with your reviewers.
Be a smart reputation manager and take time to engage with reviewers. Provide review responses that address negative issues, expand on positive feedback by providing additional information to empower the reviewer for future visits, and educate other Yelp users about your business in a way that may influence them to make you their next selection.