One of the most valuable online resources for consumers searching for local businesses is Yelp. It's also an effective tool for marketing agencies to manage online web presences for their clients. Not only does the site provide comprehensive business listings for specific cities and towns, it gives users customer reviews, which can help the public make decisions for visiting establishments. Here are ways that you can use Yelp to promote your business.
Local Directory Benefits
- free exposure that connects with interested consumers
- gives visitors instant feedback with reviews
- helps promote your business to tourists and new residents
- creates a professional impression
- easy to update changes
Gaining Online Visibility
Most website traffic originates with search engines, directories and links from referring sites. So it makes sense to sign up with authoritative sites to create awareness about your site. Keep in mind that the quality of sites linking to your site matters to Google. Yelp is considered authoritative to search engines, since it involves a signup process for owners to enter their business information into the system. From your profile on the site you can link to your website, which is considered legitimate by search engines. Not all local directories are given this level of high authority by Google, however, and some of the more obscure local directories might be considered redundant web spam.
Yelp is one of the top fifty websites in America, according to Alexa, reaching over 145 million monthly users. Nielsen says it's the top review site for local business searches. In some ways it plays the same role that Google does in connecting web surfers with destinations that match their interests. As with search engines, getting a top listing in a local directory for your keywords takes SEO knowledge. Using experienced marketers to list your business in Yelp can save you time and money, as well as increase lead generation opportunities.
How Agencies Help Clients with Local Search
Many businesses simply do not have the time to manage their own online profiles, so they hire digital marketing experts to handle online promotional activities. Marketing agencies that partner with Yelp to manage profiles for their clients may display an official Yelp badge on their websites. Partners get the benefit of collaborating with Yelp on case studies and marketing opportunities. A marketing agency can audit a client's profile and update call-to-action statements, as well as respond to customer reviews in real time. It's important to respond to criticism professionally so that it doesn't ignite a firestorm of negativity. Experienced marketers can help counter negative reviews by explaining the company's improvements.
An important way that your marketing consultant can stay up-to-date on Yelp reviews is to monitor Yelp alerts that are sent out when new reviews appear on the site. These reviews include ratings of one to five stars, with five being the highest quality. Knowing what the latest reviews are about your business is helpful in case the review calls for a response to clear up misunderstandings. Partnering with Yelp is particularly helpful for businesses that serve food, as nearly a third of all searches on the site are for restaurants.
Upgrading your profile periodically is crucial in order for it to effectively promote your business. Your marketing consultant should consider using modern features such as a call-to-action button that helps generate sales conversions. You can provide plenty of details about your business, particularly directions and contact information. The fact that you can upload as many photos as you like allows you to keep your profile evolving with fresh content. It's possible for your business to still appear on the site with a message in red text saying "claim this business." But the profiles that attract the most engagement are the ones that businesses have claimed for themselves.
Successful local SEO techniques that give your business high rankings come down to how well you can carve out a niche for followers that can identify with your brand. If there are already hundreds of generic coffee shops in your geographic area, for example, it will be hard to compete on "coffee" as a keyword. But if your business has rare coffee that stands out from all competitors, it's possible to get a top ranking for your unique keywords.
Expanding Your Target with Yelp
Not only can local search directories be used for free, they can also be useful as advertising platforms that allow you to reach a location-targeted audience through ads on search results pages. Many times customers on the go with smartphones are ready to purchase, as local search ads can help them speed up those decisions. Yelp partners have access to training and certification for using the site's advertising products and services. They can study a wide set of metrics on a dashboard that tracks customer engagement with your profile. Using analytics about visitors to your profile, marketers can learn about user views, map clicks for directions and clicks for deeper information.
The two types of Yelp advertising models are cost-per-click and enhanced profiles. While cost-per-click ads are paid only when users click them, an enhanced profile allows you to add a call-to-action button, photo slideshows and other visual content to showcase your business. These displays help generate more reviews to your profile, in which any user can contribute. Your promotion team can then select positive reviews to share on social media. One of the best ways to stand out from competitors on a local directory is to offer discount coupons in your ads. The platform also allows you to remove competitor ads from your listings.
Your business can attract local leads by getting listed in local directories such as Yelp. Like Google, it's a tool for consumers to help them speed up their searches for local businesses. By keeping your listings updated in local directories, you can reach more of the audience you're looking for. To maximize your local search marketing efforts, consider setting up a consultation with an inbound marketing company with experience in Yelp marketing.