Everything You Wanted to Know About Yelp Reviews for Business

Dhiraj Nallapaneni

6 min read Last Updated Aug 26, 2020

While Yelp might no longer the biggest review site on the Internet, it is still a major player in the review ecosystem. Let’s talk about what your business can do to look great to potential customers on Yelp. Here’s what you’ll find in this article. 

Yelp Fact Sheet

While Yelp was once the site that customers would go to see customer reviews, things have changed drastically in recent years. More customer reviews were posted on both Google and Facebook in 2018. Still, Yelp’s regularly-updated fact sheet showed a few reasons why the site still matters. 

  • Only 19% of businesses on Yelp are restaurants 
  • 37 Monthly Active Mobile Users 
  • 2.2 million ‘request a quote’ delivered every month 

It’s clear that contrary to popular belief, Yelp isn’t just for finding places to eat. Plus millions of customers are using Yelp to engage with business owners. So let’s talk about what your business can do to start attracting Yelp users to your business. 

Setting Up Your Yelp Listing 

The first step to getting more Yelp reviews is setting up a Yelp listing. Here’s how you can do that.

  1. Search for your business’s name and address and biz.yelp.com 

    search for a yelp listing

  2. Create a Yelp account or sign-in with Google or Facebook. 

  3. Take some time to fill out your business’s information like your name, address and phone number. 

Now that you’ve got your Yelp business profile set up, let’s talk about what you can do to make sure that you’re optimizing your Yelp listing. 

Best Practices for Yelp Reviews

While most review sites like Google and Facebook encourage customers to solicit reviews, Yelp is one of the few companies that do not encourage review solicitation. 

In November 2017, Yelp started penalizing businesses that solicited reviews. This was a controversial decision. After all, collecting reviews has been proven to be a great way to get well-balanced reviews from businesses’ entire customer base. Still, Yelp does not allow businesses to request reviews from customers, in-person or through text and email. Why?

Don’t ever ask your customers for Yelp reviews. Unlike other review sites, Yelp believes that asking customers for reviews leads to bias. 

When Yelp’s algorithms spot a violation of their policies, they send your business a strongly worded penalty letter. The letter mentions that they have “…activated a search ranking penalty, demoting your business’s rank in Yelp search results”. They also ask the business to submit a ‘Compliance Verification Form’ once they have fixed the issue on their end. After the business has submitted the form, it may take over 45 days for the Yelp to respond with their verdict.

While you can’t ask your customers to write reviews on Yelp, there are a few things that you can do to look good on Yelp. 

Add Accurate Information 

Search engines like Google trust your business more when you have your business listing on authoritative sites like Yelp. A listing is defined as three things at a minimum- your business’s name, address, and phone number. When you add accurate information, you’ll make your business easier to find for customers and provide one more citation for Google’s algorithm. 

Add Photos 

Potential customers on your Yelp listing will stay 2.5x longer if you include a picture. So be sure to take some high-definition photos that really show off your business’s services. 

Enable Yelp Features 

Yelp offers a few different features that allow customers to better interact with your business. Features like “request a quote” allow customers to send you a direct message asking for pricing. “Yelp deals” allow you to offer your customers special discounts that they can redeem through the Yelp apps. Taking advantage of these features is a great way to interact with customers who discover your business through the Yelp app. 

Display Yelp Signage 

When your customers visit your physical location, you can encourage them to find you on Yelp with free signage. All businesses are eligible to receive free stickers that say “Find Us on Yelp!” Qualifying businesses are eligible to receive a “People Love Us on Yelp” 

Flag Fake Reviews 

If you suspect that a review is fake or might violate one of Yelp’s policies, make sure to report it. However, there’s no guarantee that Yelp will actually take one of these reviews down. 

Responding to Yelp Reviews 

Be sure that you’re responding to all of your customer reviews on Yelp whether they’re positive and negative. After all, customers value review responses. 

Yelp gives you two options to respond to customer reviews: with a public comment or a direct message. Always start off with a public comment. Remember, potential customers are looking at reading your reviews. Leaving a public response doesn’t just help your business’s reputation with reviewers, it also helps with your future customers. 

When responding to a positive review, be sure to thank the customer for their feedback and encourage them to come back for more. It’s an easy way of engaging your happy customers. 

Responding to negative reviews is trickier. Here’s what you should keep in mind. 

Take a Deep Breath 

When you spend so much time and effort trying to make sure that every one of your customers has a great experience, a bad review can feel terrible. So before you respond to a bad review, take a deep breath. Remember, potential customers are paying attention to the kind of service you provide. No matter how unfair a review might seem, remember to be polite. 

Start with a “Thank You” 

A “thank you” doesn’t have to be reserved for a positive review. Thank customers for bad reviews as well. After all, a negative review can be an opportunity to get feedback that can help you improve your business. 

Take the conversation private 

You definitely want to leave a public comment to show your potential customers that you want to get to the bottom of every issue, Of course, to actually resolve the issue, the best move is to take the discussion offline. That means that you can take the time to understand the customer and make a real effort to solve whatever problem that they experienced. 

Want to see some templates that work for positive, negative, and neutral reviews? Check out our free eBook, “Review Response Templates”. 

How BirdEye Can Help 

Start using customer feedback to improve your business. More than 50,000 businesses use BirdEye to improve customer experience and manage online reputation.