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review management


There are thousands of sites and even books dedicated to teaching businesses of all sizes how to manage their online reviews and brand reputation – specifically, how to deal with Yelp, the online review website.

Yelp is a big player in the area of customer-generated, unsolicited opinion. The popularity of the site is such that oftentimes it has the potential of making or breaking a business.

Which is exactly why it’s so important to take good care of your Yelp presence through sound review management. In this article, we’ll check out where businesses are frequently dropping the ball when it comes to optimizing and taking advantage of all the lead-generating opportunities available through Yelp.

(Did you know that almost 70% of Yelp reviews are four stars or more?)

Mistake #1: Not Using Yelp as an Active Feedback Loop

Because there is so much focus placed on lead generation and brand reputation development as the central function of Yelp, many businesses tend to forget how essential reviews are.

Yelp, by its very nature, mainly attracts two types of reviewers: the ultimate fan, and the dissatisfied and disappointed. The reviews from these two groups are a key factor in shaping your brand reputation.

Indeed, your Yelp profile often paints a clear picture of the sentiment of your detractors and promoters. Because of the site’s relevance and popularity, it makes sense to use it as a barometer of consumer sentiment.

If you are failing to identify actionable insights and make operational changes based on these insights, you are short-changing your customers and ultimately affecting your ability to grow in size and profitability.

Mistake #2: Caring Only About Yelp Elite

It is easy and tempting to become fixated with Yelp Elite. But you shouldn’t be excluding other reviewers in your strategy.

True: the Yelp Elite squad can be incredibly helpful as advocates, and highly destructive when providing negative customer feedback. But the world of the reviews does not end or start with influencers. The reality is that every review counts equally toward your cumulative score, and every customer has the potential of being an advocate online and offline.

Furthermore, purchasing power and likelihood to engage does not have a direct correlation to a reviewer’s Yelp status. If, so far, your approach to review management and review responses on Yelp have been all about catering to Yelp Elite members, you need to correct your path now and engage with every reviewer, with consistency and commitment. Your level and quality of engagement will speak volumes to reviewers and consumers looking for a high-quality vendor in your industry.

Mistake #3: Not Tracking Yelp Metrics 

You can only make intelligent business decisions if you have the metrics to support them. We frequently see businesses of all sizes working on their Yelp strategy, without ever considering how to measure their success or failure.

If you don’t know how much or how little business is originating from Yelp, you can’t implement changes aimed at growing your engagement level or number of viable leads.

There are two key ways to understand how much business you are getting from Yelp. The first is by using Yelp’s own dashboard. Their dashboard gives you metrics relevant to the level of engagement that takes place on your Yelp profile.

The second way to understand how Yelp is impacting your business is by tracking social referrals using your Google Analytics. Your Google Analytics will tell you the number of users that visited your homepage, referred directly from Yelp.

Keep in mind, however, that many of your customers will not necessarily visit your homepage before engaging with your business. It is entirely possible for a customer to secure sufficient information on your Yelp profile to head directly to your shop and engage in purchasing your products or services. 

Mistake #4: Not Being Willing to Explore Beyond Your Own Yelp Profile

Don’t manage your Yelp by wearing blinders! Yelp is an invaluable source of information that will help you draft sound, competitive analysis. As a smart business leader, take time to identify who your competitors are and what they are doing right, while learning from their mistakes.

When it comes to Yelp domination, ignorance is not bliss. The most successful review management strategists are those that are willing to see the bigger picture. Don’t dismiss the moves of your competitors.

Mistake #5: Not Engaging Real-Time 

We live in a culture where immediate gratification is the norm. One of the most common and damaging mistakes when it comes to taking care of your Yelp profile relates to the poor habit of asynchronous responses.

Positive and negative reviewers alike deserve the respect of a quick response. If your organization has not yet implemented principles of rapid response strategy, you’re probably dropping the ball and leaving many customers hanging.

An advocate who has plenty of good things to say about you may interpret your tardiness as disrespectful. A detractor who has used Yelp to rant about your business may just be upset enough to trigger a chain of events conducive to virality if they fail to hear from you. So take your Yelp profile to the next level by making sure your customer engagement happens almost in real time.

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.


  1. LucyW

    I absolutely love my Yelp profile! When I first ventured out, obviously didn’t have a lot of money….but with a good customer base and many returning, once my Yelp got activated, I gained even more business. And as long as you have a good business and customer service, there should be no problems. And if there are an unhappy customer or two, definitely don’t get into a war with them online.

  2. Robin Sterling

    Would agree with you LucyW, do not start a war online, you tend to lose more then to gain. You can’t make everybody happy, few of them will always find something to complain about. Only thing you can do is try to best of your abilities to rectify what ever went wrong. Sometimes you can even recognize they are complaining just in order to get something for free, for those… well I wouldn’t comment..

  3. georgeblanco

    Great article and very helpful. Not only that I have not responded on reviews on time, but actually there were times when I have not responded at all. Also I never used Google analytics to check how many visits my Yelp page had in the past. I will start focusing my Yelp page and reviews a lot more starting from today. Once again thanks for posting such a nice and helpful article.

  4. Mary Rose

    I’ve never considered significance of not engaging real time. This was like Epiphany to me. I’ve started to give responses to reviews and realized that by engaging you can turn dissatisfied customer into satisfied one. Really helpful article. Thanks.

  5. Michael

    Great article. I would just like to ask how you deal with fake negative reviews. When you know that the review is fake and you fail to delete it. How to respond to such reviews? Responding to positive reviews is natural and you can easily thank the reviewer, but I stay wordless when it comes to responding a fake review.

  6. FirenzeZ

    i would like to ask if there is anything else that can be improved about Yelp? I am using Yelp for 2 years now and I have no received as many reviews as I hoped. Even if I run a small family restaurant, I have plenty customers, but they are not reviewing my business. I have a Yelp, Google+ and TripAdvisor profile, but nothing worth mentioning came from them. How can I improve my profiles?

    • Janet Krakowski

      You could display a Yelp sticker in visible location in your place of business along with including the Yelp seal on your menus, if possible. This puts the idea of reviewing their experience at the forefront of your customer’s minds.
      You could also simply ask your customers before they leave to please go online and review there experience because it helps you to make sure that your business is meeting its customer’s expectations.