With 145 million monthly users, Yelp is a force business owners can’t afford to ignore. Along with Google, user-generated Yelp reviews are often the first place people look for information about a small business. Yelp is also the first place people go to voice their opinion about the service they receive — good or bad.

Here are 3 things small business owners need to know now about Yelp reviews, plus a checklist to make sure you’re managing your business page correctly.

1. Every star matters.

How much does a Yelp review impact your bottom line? A Harvard Business School study showed a 1-star increase in Yelp rating increased revenue by 5-9% for independent restaurants alone. Today, most people use online consumer reviews as a substitute for other, more traditional forms of research (word of mouth, endorsement by the Better Business Bureau, etc.). If you’re not monitoring and responding to your Yelp reviews, you’re risking your reputation. 

2. Yelp users may be more likely to take action than Google users.

In the U.S.:

  • Yelp users span all age brackets
  • 64% have some college education, and 
  • Most make at least $60,000. 

That means Yelp review writers are more likely to have disposable income and be ready to pull the trigger on lifestyle purchases such as entertainment, dining and vacations. Where Google is mainly used to search for a business at the top of the sales funnel, Yelp users typically have a specific intent to buy a product, sign up for a service or make a reservation.  

3. Yelp reviews can get stuck in purgatory.

Some Yelp reviews get stuck in the “not recommended” section because Yelp’s algorithm doesn’t think the reviewer is experienced enough. The less active users are, the more likely their reviews are to get caught there. What can you do? If you have positive reviews from new users that are stuck in that section, reach out. Thank them for their business and tack on the fact that if they review a couple more businesses, their reviews will show up.

Your Yelp Checklist

Want to make sure you’re on the right track? Here’s a checklist to get you started.

  1. Claim your business.
    Upload photos, add links to your website and social media, and verify key information like phone number, hours, menus, etc. 
  2. Fill in the About section.
    Be straightforward and use relevant keywords customers might search to find you.
  3. Respond privately and publicly to Yelp reviews.
    For positive reviews, a simple “thank you” should suffice. For negative reviews, feel free to respond privately first. 
    • If a problem is valid, say so and let the person know how you plan to change things. 
    • If it’s not, explain why as succinctly as possible and remember that the goal is not to change someone’s mind; It’s to show you care about what they’re saying. If you reach a point where they feel satisfied and heard, consider asking them to revise their review. 
    • If someone is simply angry and not truly seeking a resolution, respond as calmly as possible, apologize if necessary and let it go. Engaging in a long online battle with one angry person isn’t a good look for any business owner.
  4. Report errors.
    If someone posts something that’s incorrect about your business, ask them to change it. If they won’t, report it to Yelp.
  5. Review and refresh your page every month or so.
    Set a reminder so you don’t forget, and be sure to consider timely updates. For example, in the current COVID-19 climate, people are searching for terms like “social distancing” and “no-contact delivery” for the first time. You’ll want to update your profile to include those search terms where they apply.
  6. Get ahead of Yelp reviews with Mentor.
    Better Yelp reviews come from better customer experiences, and those start with interactions. Mentor was designed with that goal in mind. Our one-on-one customer feedback platform collects, tracks and analyzes customer feedback in real time so you can address customer concerns directly and immediately. 

Contact us to learn how Mentor can help you get in front of your Yelp reviews today.