The majority of people turn to online reviews when looking for a new restaurant, shopping for a product, or considering a service provider. Specifically, the impact of reviews on Yelp.com can make or break a local business, with more than 150 million people visiting Yelp each month to research businesses. Of those people, 98% purchased from a business they found on the site.
With such a large reach, it’s more important than ever to improve Yelp reviews and make a positive impression on potential clients and customers.
Yelp is Not Just for Restaurants
One Harvard Business School study found that independent restaurants can increase revenue 5-9% when their Yelp score goes up one star. But it isn’t just restaurants that can benefit from positive reviews on the platform. Cafes and eateries represent 19% of businesses reviewed on Yelp, followed by Shopping and Home and Local Services at 17% each.
Because of the potential impact, it’s crucial for all businesses claim and maintain their Yelp profiles. Here are five simple steps to help you get better Yelp reviews and boost your business.
The Power of Positive (and Negative) Yelp Reviews
How to Improve Yelp Reviews (Step by Step)
Fill Your Yelp Profile With Accurate Information
“1 Star: Was closed when I got there, even though their website said they were open.”
Of course, you want your address, phone number, operation hours, and website to be correct. It assures customers can visit or contact you. But more information also means your profile is optimized for Yelp’s search engine and filtering features, which can help you increase the number of Yelp reviews for your business.
The more data on your Yelp profile, the more likely customers will find you when they search and use that information to choose you over your competitors. Adding “rich data” — like if you’re kid friendly or offer free WiFi — also help you attract customers that are looking for exactly what you offer (and means there’s a better chance they’ll leave you positive reviews).
Give a Clean, Odor-Free Guest Experience
“2 Stars: Food was great, but restrooms were disgusting.”
The key to any business staying in business is making customers feel happy, satisfied, and with exceeded expectations. The same is true for improving Yelp reviews.
A clean, odor-free location is one important factor that can be easy for you to control. In fact, something as simple as cleaning your restrooms and surfaces and maintaining your facility can make a big difference in customer satisfaction. Almost 93% of patrons would not return to a retailer if they experienced an issue, including bad odor (78%), dirty restrooms (66%), and dirty surfaces (65%). According to another study, nearly 60% of people decide to visit a specific business because they know it has nice restrooms.
Use Reviews as Valuable Feedback
“3 Stars: Way too cold inside.”
“3 Stars: Indoor temperature is freezing.”
“2 Stars: I complained about the temperature, but they ignored my request to turn down the AC.”
A bad strategy for how to get better Yelp reviews? Ignore low-star reviews. You should comb through every customer review for valuable feedback. See a pattern in the problems customers mention? Use them to actively fix things that are making customers unsatisfied.
Genuine, warm responses from businesses can make a big difference to potential customers. In fact, 89% of people read businesses’ responses to reviews. They can also encourage visitors who had a bad experience to come back. Almost 95% of unsatisfied customers will return to a company if it manages to solve the issue quickly and efficiently.
How to Respond to a Poor Review
- Thank them for visiting
- Apologize for their bad experience
- Share a plan for correcting what’s broken
- Ask them to give you another chance
Take Advantage of Yelp Deals
Like other coupons or promotions, Yelp Deals can help drive more eyeballs to your profile and visitors to your business. These prepaid vouchers appear when potential customers are searching on Yelp, which means they are more likely to visit after buying a deal. It also may make them more likely to leave a review and improve your Yelp review ratings.
According to Yelp, it only takes a minute to set up. And there are no up-front costs.
Know the Rules for Reviews
To make sure reviews are genuine and in good faith, Yelp has a strict code of content guidelines — for both reviewers and businesses. Owners should stay informed as to what you and your customers can and cannot post. It can keep you from getting punished by Yelp and help you control malicious reviews. You can improve your Yelp review ratings considerably just by removing reviews that violate guidelines.
Key Content Guidelines
- Do not pay, incentivize, or reward customers for reviews
- Do not directly ask for reviews
- Do not post reviews on behalf of real customers
- Do not make up posts to increase your Yelp reviews
There are many other ways to get better Yelp reviews. The savvy business-owner understands, however, that the best way to succeed is to listen to your customers and keep them happy. Do that, and the rest will take care of itself.