Yelp Reviews: Small Business Nightmare or Revenue Dream?

Some Dreamy Facts about Yelp Reviews:

  • 4 out of 5 people who visit Yelp listings intend to make a purchase (Nielsen). Every small business should want to get in front of a willing customer.
  • Yelp states that 67% of businesses still have a four or five star rating, and solid reviews to go with them. Your loyal customers are more than likely willing to give you a review.
  • Merchant Warehouse research show 72% of consumers trust Yelp as much as personal recommendations. With such significant influence, small business owners need to have a strategic plan to manage their online reputations.
  • A Harvard study reports that if a small business that can boost its star rating by one star they can see an increase in revenue of 5% to 9%. This will impact your bottom line!Reviews for Local SEO
  • Nielsen also found that Yelp users specifically are likely to make a purchase decision 93% of the time after reading reviews on a mobile device.
  • It is all about Google. Because users trust reviews, Google trusts them too. Google has incorporated review sentiments and ratings into their search algorithm.

So is Yelp a Dream or a Nightmare?

4 out of 5 people who visit Yelp intend to make a purchase. #marketing #tips Click To Tweet72% of consumers trust Yelp as much as personal recommendations. #digitalmarketing Click To TweetIncrease your Yelp rating by one star and a #smallbiz can see a lift in revenue of 5-9% Click To Tweet

Nightmare on Yelp Street:

Marketing NighmareThe biggest issue with Yelp is that it uses an algorithm to filter out false reviews and/or reviews that seem too good to be true. Yelp says, “the best word of mouth is organic and unsolicited,” which is what the algorithm aims to showcase.

Yelp’s terms of use actually discourage soliciting good reviews. Now it is one thing to have it in the term of use, and it is another to enforce compliance. Yelp’s algorithm is explicitly designed to filter out reviews that seem to be “solicited.” They seem to be targeting a user who only reviews a single business or incomplete profiles.

Yelp suggests the following ways to remind customers that you’re on Yelp without being pushy:

  1. Put a badge and link to your Yelp listing on your website using Yelp’s review badges – we provide the code, you just paste it into your website. The review averages and counts even update automatically as new reviews come in!
  2. Put a “Find us on Yelp” sign in your place of business, on the front counter or window. These have even been spotted on business-branded vehicles. You can make your own using our brand assets, or request one from Yelp using this form.
  3. Include a link to your Yelp business listing in your email signature with the words, “Check us out on Yelp!”

Marketing Solutions for Small Businesses

  1. One way to combat the filter issue is to seek out some elite Yelper users and have them try your business or service. They will more than likely post on your Yelp page. Elites are the lifeblood of Yelp and carry significantly more weight with their posts.
  2. Another way to draw attention to your Yelp presence is to have a thank you wall at your place of business which includes positive Yelp reviews. There is nothing wrong with showing a little appreciation to your loyal customers and it might even inspire some others to write a review of their positive experiences in dealing with your company.
  3. Lastly, you can always seek out alternative review sites like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, Foursquare, Tripadvisor, Merchantcircle, UrbanSpoon, Angie’s List, Alignable, Goodsnitch, Manta.Leverage Elite Yelp users as key influencers for your #socialmedia #smallbusiness Click To Tweet

Other Best Practices for Small Business to Follow:

  1. Small Business Best PracticesEncourage people to check-in on Yelp when they are at your business. While it is discouraged to solicit reviews, there are no policies against promoting check-ins. You can incentivize this by giving out check-in offers, a tactic encouraged by Yelp.
  2. Also, reviewing your dashboard find and respond to all of your reviews, regardless of whether they are filtered. This way, you can engage everyone who visits your Yelp page and reinforces that you are a business who cares about what their customers opinions, regardless of tone.


What would you do as a small business owner to get a 5% to 9% lift in revenue? That is a no brainer… whatever it takes, right. Well, a few simple steps to could move your Yelp experience from a nightmare to a revenue maker. With all decisions on digital marketing strategy, it comes down to a cost (time invested) compared to the potential revenue lift.

Revenue DreamsI encourage all of my clients to at a minimum pick one or two review sites to manage and engage your customers. You work extremely hard to provide a quality experience to your customers. There is nothing wrong with making easy for them to share their opinions. The long-term benefits can pay consistent dividends for your bottom line. If you need assistance with your digital marketing strategy, please contact me for a free consultation.

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