5 Things Every Business Owner Should Know About Yelp

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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.

Contrary 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.

Carley 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. Carley is a Findability Certified Consultant. 


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  1. If that’s your target demographic, please take some time to get familiar with Yelp and how to use it best. Although advertising on Yelp is expensive, if this is a make-or-break group for you to reach, it’s worth considering. Remember that people of all demographics do use review sites like

    1. Thanks Shamsheer. Advertising may not be for every company but having a Yelp business page helps with getting found in the local search results.

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