Yelp is the modern day telephone book. It is where people go to search for local businesses, as well as to read and write reviews. Yelp is particularly popular in the US, Canada, UK, and parts of Europe, and its popularity continues to grow. Why? Because it is the leading online word-of-mouth local guide. As of September 2017 there are 188 million visitors per month.
Apart from the large amount of traffic to the Yelp site, 30 million unique mobile devices use the Yelp app. This means people are searching for local businesses on the go, which can be helpful for local restaurants. Having a Yelp listing also gives you better search engine optimization (SEO) for your business. A listing on Yelp is free, and you can link both your restaurant’s website and menu to it. When a customer searches for a restaurant, you want to make sure all of your information is accurate and up to date. You may already have a Yelp listing online, where customers have begun rating and writing comments. Be sure to take ownership of this listing, to monitor what is being said, and to make sure the information is correct.
How to get started
First, claim your listing by clicking on the ‘work here’ link. This will allow you to make changes to the listing. Or, if your business is not yet listed, you can sign up. Either way, like with other social media profiles, fill in as much detail as possible. The more information you give, the better your listing will perform in a search. Make sure that your business name and address match up with your listing on Google+. Search engines love consistency, and recently Google Maps teamed up with Yelp. When you search for a local restaurant, the Yelp listing and rating will appear under the restaurant name.
Pictures say more than words
Your business listing also allows you to upload photos. This gives customers an idea of what your restaurant looks like and what style of food you serve. But most importantly, good food photos are a way to advertise your restaurant without saying much. Like we said in a previous post, a photo of chocolate cake is more appealing than the words ‘chocolate cake’.
Keep in touch
Yelp is a social media site, and its main purpose is to generate reviews about local business. Respond to reviews – good or bad – quickly, as this helps your business maintain a reliable image, both online and in the real world.
Promote your page
Tell the world you are on Yelp. This encourages people to go and review your restaurant, but also to read what others have said. You can promote your page by putting a sticker on your door or menu. Yelp provides free stickers by filling out a form for the ‘Find us on Yelp’ sticker. If you receive a certain number of positive reviews, you may also be sent a ‘People Love Us On Yelp’ sticker. You can also promote your Yelp listing in your newsletter.
As we mentioned earlier, Yelp business listings are optimized for SEO. Try searching for ‘best (type of cuisine) in (your city).’ This will almost always turn up a Yelp result. Keep your Yelp listing up to date, and encourage customers to leave reviews regularly.