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Since being founded in San Francisco in 2004, Yelp has grown to become one of the most popular and influential customer review websites today. Covering various industries like restaurants and nightlife, dentists, automotive shops and mechanics, arts and entertainment, and hotels and travel, Yelp has also had a major contribution in increasing the business impact of online user-generated content.

That’s why it’s critical for every business owner to get listed on Yelp. (Don’t worry – it’s free to sign up.) Hopefully, with the facts and figures that we’re about to show you, you’ll be more convinced than ever that engaging with Yelp’s users (“Yelpers”) will positively impact your business

71 million: the number of unique visitors Yelp gets every month. Which means that – perhaps more than every other review website – Yelp has the potential to introduce your business to new prospects and potential customers. (That is, of course, if you have claimed your business listing on the site.)

12: the number of countries (outside of the US) where Yelp operates. The list includes Spain, France, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Australia. Running a business in one of the above countries? Then make sure you include Yelp in your list of online review sites to track and monitor.

Over 27 million: the number of reviews posted so far by Yelp users. It’s bound to increase, too. If you’re serious about listening to what your customers are saying about you, be sure to open your ears to “Yelpers”. Respond to every review, good or bad, as swiftly and as professionally as possible.

40% and 6.3 million: the approximate percentage of Yelp users who search for businesses using the Yelp mobile app and the number of unique mobile devices used on a monthly average basis (for Q1 2012), respectively. For businesses, this means that the local business directory has now evolved to capture not just the segment of the audience sitting at home in front of their desktops and laptops, but also the ones who are on the go, carrying their smartphones and tablets.

5 times: this, according to the Yelp business blog, is the number of times more likely your business will be to get a 5-star review instead of a 1-star review – if, that is, you happened to deliver good customer service to a Yelp user. On the other hand, if a Yelp user believed he or she experienced bad customer service, the business is 70% more likely to be given just one star. This just goes to show that, above all, creating great customer experiences is the key to successfully managing your online reputation – and to driving word-of-mouth marketing power.

$26.16: the value to which Yelp’s stock recently rose in New York. This marks a 5.8% increase in 3 weeks and a staggering 74% rise since Yelp’s initial public offering last March 1. Industry observers say that this is likely driven by the speculation that a smaller version of the Apple iPad will soon be made available (probably at the end of the year), and that the device will offer closer integration to Yelp’s mobile app.

What this means for your business? Your business page may soon be more easily located and “checked into” once hooked up with Apple’s Siri service, a voice-activated recommendation engine. In this case, you might want to post new Yelp check-in offers or create exclusive deals for Yelpers to entice Apple device owners to come to your establishment.

3: The number of car manufacturers that have so far decided to integrate Yelp with car navigation systems. These are BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes. (Check out BMW’s press release here.) That’s right: soon, Yelp will allow businesses to reach out and connect to customers through in-car systems – and not just mobile devices. So, if your establishment has plenty of parking space and/or a drive-through feature, don’t hesitate to say so for the benefit of rolling Yelpers. And don’t forget to double-check your business info and provide potential customers with the right directions to your place.

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.