As the dust settles from Google’s mobile friendly update there’s been much ado in the tallying of the so-called winners and losers of the Mobilegeddon event. The April 21 algorithm change made it clear that mobile friendliness was no longer a nice-to-have but rather a need-to-have. While many search engine marketers may have found the rush to enhance a site’s mobile abilities anything but friendly, the necessity for acts of online friendliness have been evident for more than a decade on Yelp.
As a result we’ve grown reliant on online searches for reviews of service providers, restaurants and consumer goods, but prior to 2004 many recommendations were not accessible in one area. This began to change when Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman was in the market for a new doctor. Realizing the limitations of traditional word-of-mouth interactions, Stoppelman sought a more efficient way of getting the word out, resulting in the creation of Yelp. Today the site for online reviews is home to 67 million reviews and hosts visits from 139 million unique users each month.
Earn the Ratings
Similar to Google rewarding sites in terms of mobile friendliness, Yelp rewards its users with the best and worst user experiences in the areas of shopping and retail, restaurants and home services. Applying a ranking scale of 1 to 5 stars, users can let the online world know if a service, food or experience was great (5 stars), so-so (2-4 stars) or downright awful (1 star).
While individual consumers continue to embrace their love of the online review, there exists some hesitation of its use by local businesses. This is despite a 2013 study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group that found businesses using a free business owner’s account on the site saw an $8,000 increase in annual revenue from consumers online. Coupled with the Nielsen stat of 4 out of 5 surveyed Yelp users visiting a site when preparing to spend money, there’s mounting evidence it might be time to explore the next level of word-of-mouth advertising.
Reasons to Take the Yelp Plunge
Experience – The most positive Yelp reviews center on an experience such as a wonderful meal, courteous service or an above-and-beyond level of experience. Events that miss the mark in some way show up on the site as lower-ranked. Rather than seeing the customer experience as a one-and-done function, instead think of it as an opportunity with the potential for wide-spread social media amplification.
Local Awareness – A national chain prides itself on providing a repeatable and consistent experience. Local businesses win fans by providing a unique experience that users will want to share with others. These local-based reviews then become the catalyst for subsequent visits, calls and purchases for the business.
Linked with Apple – After passing on a proposed Google acquisition, Yelp linked itself to Apple as a third-party provider. Information from Yelp reviews is incorporated into Apple Maps and Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, shares Yelp information. In the near future, automobiles featuring Apple Infotainment Systems could also use Yelp info.
Need help incorporating a Yelp strategy into your search engine marketing plan? Talk to the search engine marketing specialists at Rank Fuse Interactive about creating an optimized marketing plan that includes Paid Search Advertising (PPC), Content Marketing, and Search Engine Friendly Web Design.