When people think “SEO” they most often think “Google” because Google is controls nearly 68 percent of the search market However, it’s important to remember that SEO can also refer to other search engines such as YouTube, Yahoo, Bing, and then social search engines like Facebook and Twitter. One network where you can really use your SEO skills is Yelp—you just have to know where to start.
Yelp has 139 million monthly unique visitors with 86,000 active business accounts according to Yelp, so it’s an excellent option if you have a physical location (restaurant, beauty salon, shoe store, etc.). Even if you’re not an Ecommerce company or you do most of your work online, it still helps to have a Yelp profile for those who want another way to review your company. Google ranks Yelp high for many search queries, so it’s a good way to gain more visibility online.
How to Claim Your Yelp Listing
Before you can get into the SEO of Yelp, you have to actually claim your account. All you need to do is visit Yelp for Business Owners and click “claim my business.” You can then look for your business, and if you see it then you can unlock it by clicking the “Claim” button. If it says “Already Claimed” then that means someone else in your company has already claimed your business, and if your business isn’t listed then you simply click “Add your business to Yelp.” You can see all of this in the screenshot below:
If you found that your business wasn’t listed and you had to create a new business, you will be taken through the steps of filling out business information—type of business, email address, hours, web address, etc.—and then waiting for a confirmation email. Once your business is confirmed through that email you have to wait for Yelp to approve your account. Once approved, you can edit your account and start really optimizing.
Note: You can always go back and edit and add information, but you can think about optimization as you’re going through the setup process, so I recommend taking a quick look at the next section and getting everything done at once!
Top Ways to Optimize Your Yelp Listing
Below are some of the ways that you can optimize your Yelp account:
Fill out all information.
This is pretty self-explanatory but it’s important to mention. Make sure that you fill out all of the information possible and nothing is left blank. You have a lot of choices when it comes to Yelp, so take the time to go through them and include information such as your Wifi situation, if your store is good for children, if you accept credit cards, if you have outdoor seating, and more. It may not seem like filling out everything is too crucial, but Yelp takes this into account when it comes time to rank businesses.
You can edit your information by clicking the “Edit Business Info” link on the bottom of the page. Simply click that link and fill out as much information as you can.
Again, this is an obvious one that is incredibly important. Yelp likes to see photos, so make sure you’re uploading quality photos that will help readers get a feel for your business. This is also a great place to include customer photos, which you may be able to find by holding a Facebook contest or some sort of other engaging activity, so it’s a win-win all around.
You can add photos by simply visiting your listing and clicking “Add Photos.”
Yelp algorithms and bots also use keywords to make assumptions about your account, so keep a few of your top keywords in mind when writing your description or when sharing your page on social media (especially now thanks to the Twitter/ Google partnership). Yelp does not have its own keyword research tool, so go with some of the keywords you’re using for your other social accounts and for Google.
Yelp also offers a few social features for users who might be trying to find their friends on Yelp, and while this may not seem like a feature that will help you as a business, it’s a good place to type in keywords and check out your competition and what people in your area are saying. To find this feature, all you have to do is click “Find Friends” at the top of the Yelp page.
It’s also important to have reviews in the first place because Yelp takes the number of reviews seriously when ranking, which brings me to my next point, deserving of its own section!
Tips to Gaining More Reviews on Yelp
Optimizing your Yelp account will help give you visibility which should help lead to more reviews (which is also something that should help your rankings), but there are a few extra things you can do to gain more reviews and get the ball rolling:
- Put a link to your Yelp page on your website and email signature. This will help prompt people to click and leave a review when they may have otherwise forgotten. The easier you can make it, the better.
- Encourage check-ins by offering deals and making it known around your store. You are not supposed to offer special gifts to those who leave you a review, but you can offer promotions and deals to those who check-in.
- You may also want to hand out flyers or put the Yelp logo around your store to remind people to go and comment.
- Promote your business on Yelp. Yelp also has paid options where you can place special deals on the network and hopefully lure people to your Yelp page.
- Try an earn backlinks for your page. Just as with any SEO, backlinks will help your page rank. This isn’t as important as it may be with the Google search engine, but it’s something to consider if you need that extra push.
For more information and more tips on fostering more reviews, I highly recommend visiting this article that I published on Search Engine Watch last year. In the meantime, do you have any ideas for Yelp optimization? Let us know in the comments below.