For small businesses,  online review sites like Yelp are a necessity. You may not be the biggest fan, but this channel should not be ignored since your potential clients are not ignoring it. Missing a Yelp page means missing many potential clients who are looking for a provider they know to be trustworthy. Consumers are using Yelp to find everything, then making decisions based on what others say about that business. Using Yelp helps you be aware of, and become part of, that conversation.

So… What is Yelp?

Yelp is a social media site that thrives off of user-generated content, primarily reviews. Its user-friendly format makes it easy for people to search for businesses (restaurants, florists, moving companies, veterinarians, groomers, etc) and leave feedback about their experiences. After claiming your business’ Yelp page you can edit the content of the page (but not the user reviews), and respond to all reviews. This site is a great way to gain visibility, credibility, and improve your ranking in search.

Easy Things You Can Do to Optimize Your Yelp Page

  1. Showcase up-to-date business information
  2. Respond to reviews, good and bad, with a client-centric approach
  3. Include a link to Yelp among other social media links on your website
  4. Include the link to your Yelp page in PetDesk Thank You surveys

Tips for a Business Just Starting on Yelp

  1. Find and claim your company’s page or, if none exists, create a new one!
  2. Fill out all fields in the “Add your Business” section. Add pictures (here is the perfect chance to use that new staff photo or adorable picture of the clinic cat), location, hours, etc. If you want examples, try looking at the pages for your competition to see what they are showcasing on their profile.
  3. From here just make sure your account is maintained and that somebody is responding to negative, and also some positive, reviews. When responding back to negative reviews be respectful, and offer to help or fix the problem. If a prospective client is viewing your page, seeing responses to reviews shows you pay attention to a client’s experience and take feedback seriously, this can incite those prospective clients to come to you!

>>Suggested Reading: Embracing Bad Online Reviews <<

Evading the Review Filter

Yelp’s review filtering algorithm can be a headache. This filter will stop spam reviews or attempts to alter the ratings, however, it can sometimes block real reviews from appearing too. A review may be blocked from appearing on your page for a number of reasons such as a very strong positive or negative stance, a reviewer with no profile content or previous reviews, or a reviewer with a location distant from the business location.

These reviews are never “deleted” and will appear on the user’s profile, but not on your business profile where they are seen by prospective clients. There are a couple things you can do to get legitimate reviews to appear on your page-

  1. Add the reviewer as a friend
  2. Mark their reviews as “cool” or “useful”
  3. Send the reviewer a message, explaining that the review has been filtered. You can ask this reviewer to complete their Yelp profile and update the review, or if you can use it as a testimonial (it could be posted on your website, blog, or other social media page).
  4. At the end of the day don’t worry about a filtered review too much. Forget it and simply focus on WOWing your current clients, helping to foster more positive reviews moving forward!