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Yelp is more important (and scary) than ever

Yelp has been around for a long time, but over the past few years it’s really been growing.  We recently showed you some ways to use Yelp to grow your business, but even in the few months since then things have changed quite a lot.

Yelp is now much more important

When Apple released iOS 6, maybe people were upset that they removed Google Maps for the seemingly inferior Apple Maps product.  Regardless of your opinion on the quality of the Apple Maps app, it is here to stay and will be used by millions of people every day.  If you search for a business on Apple Maps, the results are generated largely from Yelp.  If your Yelp listing is inaccurate or missing, then you’re missing out on potentially quite a bit of activity.

Cheating has become a death sentence

With the increased usage of Yelp listings, companies are likely to try even harder to generate positive reviews, often through shady tactics. Trying to cheat Yelp with paid or fake reviews has never been a good idea, but now Yelp has turned up the heat and they’re publicly shaming companies that are proven to have asked for paid reviews.

(image via Screenwerk)

Along with the awful image you see above, they link to the evidence to show the proof.  A potential concern is that a competitor could try to solicit reviews for your business and then get you in trouble, but it appears that Yelp is doing some pretty heavy digging to make sure that these are legitimate.

So what should I do?

There are a few best practices on Yelp you should always be working on:

  1. Make sure that all of your information is accurate and you have filled out your page as much as possible (photos, etc).
  2. Consistently solicit reviews from your customers when it’s appropriate.  If you email your contact list and have everyone send in a review on the same day, Yelp will see that and become quite suspicious.  Instead, be slow and steady with the reviews.  Mention it to customers when they come in, keep a placard up by the register, include a link to your Yelp page on your website, etc.  If you’re getting a couple of solid reviews each week, it’ll really pay off in the long run.

Beyond that, make sure that your Google Local listing is accurate and updated.  They’re rolling these into Google+, and it’s becoming more important for search engine optimization.  While many users will search for your info through Apple Maps (and subsequently Yelp), quite a few will simply do a Google search from their phone.  Having updated info on your Google Local page, along with a growing collection of reviews, will help you there as well.

About the Author

Mickey Mellen

Co-Founder and Technical Director

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