5 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Yelp


1: There’s no such thing as NOT being on Yelp.

Remember back in the early days of social media where you had to create an account to get started?

When it comes to Yelp, things are a little different. In an ideal world, you’ve already created your own account and claimed your business page.

But if you haven’t – someone else might have done this for you. And it’s not always someone with the most flattering things to say about your brand.

You can’t choose not to be on Yelp. If you’re ignoring Yelp, your business is either there already or will be soon.

What happens when you have a Yelp page you’re not proactively managing?

What happens when you have a Yelp page you’re not proactively managing?

  • Your business looks less than professional.
  • You lose the opportunity to connect with people who are looking for the products and services you offer.

You run the risk of having your reputation damaged by what’s being said there – and all the while you’re completely unaware of the damage being done to your hard earned reputation.

2: A stronger Yelp reputation can enhance your SEO efforts.

In mid-2014, Google made one of its regular algorithm changes, this one nicknamed Pigeon.

It completely revolutionized local search results within Google. Specifically, it greatly boosted the how directory sites are ranked in local search results.

Practically speaking, this often results in Yelp listings appearing above a company’s own website in search engine results pages (SERPS). Additionally, Google started including businesses’ Yelp star ratings embedded within search results.

This is a game changer for businesses. And it means that moving up in Google search depends not just on your SEO efforts, but on the effort you place on providing outstanding service to your customers as well.

3: The surprising places your Yelp rating now shows up.

If only your performance on Yelp were only about Yelp. But these days, it’s about so much more.

Let me explain.

I just mentioned that Yelp now impacts your ranking in Google search. But it also shows up in places like Apple Maps, Mercedes-Benz vehicles, and Trulia – just for starters.

In fact – over 100,000 developers have registered to use Yelp’s API to integrate ratings data into their products.

This means that your Yelp rating is of critical importance in helping you connect with people looking for great products and services like yours.

4: A bad review can actually help your business.

People-Hate-Us-On-YelpContrary to what you might think, most reasonable people aren’t looking for you to have only 5-star reviews on Yelp.

Most people can accept if you have an occasional bad day. Of course, if every review you have is negative, that’s another issue altogether. (Unless you’re like this restaurant that actually encourages bad reviews – but that’s an exception.)

One or two bad reviews isn’t the end of the world.

In fact – if you know how to respond, in some cases, you can actually get better publicity from a negative review handled correctly than a string of bland positive reviews.

A quick, professional response that seeks to resolve the customer’s issue is the key to turning a negative review into positive sentiment for your business.

5: You can learn how to proactively leverage Yelp to your advantage.

Too many business owners think you have to leave Yelp to chance. They think there’s nothing they can do to deal effectively with negative reviews, attract a regular flow of positive reviews, and actually use Yelp to build their businesses.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Over the past 10+ years, I’ve helped businesses with Yelp. From medium to large businesses, from single locations to multi-site locations across the country, time after time, I’ve experienced that with a systematic approach following proven methods, it’s entirely possible to ensure that a company’s hard earned offline reputation is accurately reflected in their overall Yelp ratings.

Like any other online network, it takes consistency and commitment.

But as my experience helping improve my clients’ online reputations have shown me, learning to proactively manage your online reputation – especially on Yelp – is a worthwhile strategy that yields a healthy, growing business.

Carely BakkerCarley Bakker is a Yelp expert across North America, as well as an online reputation speaker, Yelp help consultant and creator of the Yelp for Business Owners Series. She loves helping businesses of all sizes gain control of what is being said about them on Yelp to drive business growth. Follow her on Twitter at carleybakker. To get tips on how to leverage Yelp to grow your business, visit http://www.ckkinternetmarketing.com and sign up for our newsletter. Carley is a Findability Certified Consultant. 


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SEO Coaching Case Study: There Really Are Keywords for God!

SEO Coaching Case Study:
There Really Are Keywords for God!

Keywords for God - Facebook & Blog (Deb)

This is a very special client story. I want to introduce my newest Findability and SEO coaching clients who are truly lovely. Their website is  http://heartsofjesusandmary.com and they are the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary. This deeply religious group wants to evolve to serve a much wider audience. They are ready to reach out beyond their Catholic community to help anyone who is seeking support in the form of prayer.


This is a private order consisting of priests and nuns who pray for eight hours every day. You can submit a prayer request whether you are Catholic or not. It doesn’t matter to them. Either way they will keep you in their prayers. Site visitors can submit a prayer request and there is an optional donation of just $1 to support their efforts, but this is not required.

To make this shift to a non-secular appeal, we need to look at how people turn to search engines to get answers for their questions. For me, even as a long-time SEO consultant and expert, this was an eye-opening experience.

I was raised by a single mom who was no longer welcomed at the Catholic Church when she got her divorce. Obviously this was quite a few years ago. So she didn’t raise me with any particular religious affiliation. My mom was a “bootstrap” kind of gal. So, I admit I have a lot to learn about religion in general. This could explain why I minored in religious studies in college. I did feel a bit lacking when it came to understanding religion and wanted to familiarize myself with how people relate to God.

Working with a group of clients who have such a pure and deeply spiritual objective, I am really looking forward to digging deeper into their Findability to help their cause. The more people who can find their website, the greater the number of people they can support with prayer, from a religious or simply spiritual perspective.

Check out these surprising keywords that I have discovered during my first brush at their SEO coaching. This is monthly search volume for these phrases:

Prayer                               135,000
Prayers for Healing      45,000
Prayers for Strength    12,500
Pray For Me                      5,400
Prayer Requests             4,400
Prayers for Help             2,400

This is going to be one of the most interesting journeys in Findability I’ve ever conducted and I am very excited to improve their online presence. Indeed, there are keywords for God. No kidding around, helping these incredibly giving people to expand their Findability with SEO coaching really is a blessing.


Keyword Tools: Get Out Of Your Head and Into Your Business

By Heather Lutze, CEO 
Findability Consulting & Speaking


As a trainer in Search Marketing SEO–which I like to call Findability–I work with business leaders and teams that are stuck in their own time honored ways of marketing. This is no new news to me. I conduct half-day and full-day trainings helping businesses align with their online customers and adjust their Findability strategy. We have some great moments of learning, a-ha moments and oh sh*t conversations about the findings.

In an effort to help businesses hone in on their “ideal customers” online, I often facilitate keyword brainstorming sessions and instruct on clients on the keyword tools that work.Enlightenment via brainstorming sessions and use of keyword tools  is KEY to success. All businesses from solo-preneurs to multi-million dollar corporations stand to significantly increase the effectiveness of their online spend and related revenue.

Consider this:

  • As a business owner/ leader you’ve become very comfortable with your own, well-used keyword phrases.
  • You originally sourced your keywords from what you know of your business.
  • You search for these keywords every week or perhaps even every day to make sure you still rank.
  • You gave these keywords to the “geek” who manages your web site and you went back to work, comfortable in believing that you did a good  job to become findable online by new prospects.

But the words and phrases you came up with are not necessarily the unbiased keywords your customers are using. I can tell you that this is a huge problem, because after meeting with hundreds of companies over 13 years of Search Marketing execution, I’ve seen time and time again that the BUSINESS LEADERS GUESS WRONG! (Sorry for the gratuitous use of caps but this is so important.)

Guessing–and using–the wrong keywords can mean leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table!  Why not get some keyword brainstorming help from your own team?


Supplies You Need:

  • Large Flip Chart Sheets with the Post-It Sticky Backing
  • A pad of sticky notes for each participant
  • 8.5 x 11 sheets with the following phrases at top of sheet in 24 point Font
    • Competitors
    • Bitches, Moans & Complaints By Customers
    • Position/Titles You Sell To Primarily (Identify the difference between the researchers and the check signers)
    • Things You Do Not Do or Offer
    • Industries Served That Make You The Most Money
    • Keyword Modifiers i.e. Affordable, Luxury and Best

Now that you have your room set up, invite:

Anyone who touches the customer directly: Receptionist, Sales People, Web Person, PR Person, Key Executives and Marketing Executives. Explain the project. You’ll have different kinds of learners in the room, so follow these steps to get them all engaged:

IMG_0872 * Write down some keyword ideas in front of group, you can illustrate this on the white-board first.

* Give them all a minute to jot down their ideas in each of the Trigger Categories

* Then give them the post-it notes and markers, turn on your favorite ITunes playlist and get to work. Keep the music loud and encourage them to not think too hard, just get as many potential key phrases written down as possible.

* Give your team about 10-15 minutes to complete the exercise. Think of questions customers ask the search engine, kike, “How do I find…?”, “What is…?”.

* Have a volunteer to collect each of the sheets, remove duplicate ideas and match up similar post-it notes. Have the same person read off the findings–then talk about them as a team.

* You will be AMAZED at the different perspectives on how customers might be searching for you that will come to light?

 Now take these keywords, organize them by category in an Excel spreadsheet and use a keyword tool like Google Keyword ToolWordStream.com or KeywordDiscovery.com to see how frequently each of those phrases get searched each month.

NOTE: The Google Keyword Tool is changing to the Keyword Planner in the coming months and you will have to have an Google AdWords Account to see the search info. I highly suggest you set one up, so you can have access to this tool.


This was one of my most startling recent keyword breakthroughs:

 Train The Trainer= 60,500 US Searches Per Month
 Training The Trainer = 1,220,000 US Searches Per Month

Holy Mackerel! This company was using the standard reference as their keyword phrase, rather than determining what phrase is being searched most. Only three little letters of difference, and yet huge revenue is hidden between these words.

Please email me questions and comments about how to conduct this type of keyword brainstorming session. Remember, whether you’re a solopreneur or part of a large company, get your and your team’s heads into the game and connect with your “new” targeted customer online. Your bank account will thank you.


Becky Pluth, CEO and the marketing team at The Bob Pike Group. Thank you for a great day of brainstorming and Findability. We had a blast.