As consumers, we’re constantly searching for user reviews before we put our hard-earned money towards any restaurant, hotel, or online purchase. This is especially true when it comes to major remodeling, landscaping, or projects that can be expensive or time consuming. Of course, we all use Google and our favorite search engines to do our research. But should you optimize for Yelp, too? The answer is a resounding yes! We offered Yelp SEO that will help your business to rank on top. At MIG Digital Marketing, we try and let our clients speak for us. Take a look at our internet marketing reviews from current and former clients to hear straight from them why we are the best internet marketing company for your needs. The main reason you should choose us as your digital marketing service provider is that everything we do comes from the perspective of a business owner, and we treat your business like our own.
While many business owners know of Google and utilize it to drive in online leads, Yelp is usually underutilized even though it is very popular in many markets. In fact, it is possible to run your business off of Yelp leads alone, especially because Google likes to rank Yelp listings in their search results and Bing Places depends on Yelp reviews as their review source.
Similar to other search engines, Yelp ranks its listings off of several factors. Here are some Yelp SEO strategies that will help get you to the top of Yelp and that will help get you more leads:
1. Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research should be the backbone of your SEO strategy. The great part is that you can use the same keywords that you use for Google on Yelp. In a local context you mainly want to look for keywords that fall into the following two categories:
- Location based keywords: Cities, suburbs, zip codes, and other keywords that describe your service area.
- Service based keywords: Keywords that are based off of the services you provide.
2. Fill out Your Profiles Completely
While adding tons of images is helpful for users, they are only partially helpful for the algorithms that Google and Yelp use. To understand what your page is about, search engines primarily rely on text. Therefore, we recommend completely filling out your profiles using at least 1,000 total words of keywords optimized content for your specialties, business hours, service area, history, and meet the business owner sections. Although this is not required, try weaving your keywords into the content naturally rather than simply listing them out. We recommend including each keyword about 2 times on your listing, and no more than 8 times.
3. Be Responsive
Because Yelp wants its search results to be full of business owners that help their users out rather than ignore them, responsiveness is one of the ways the Yelp ranking algorithm determines who to rank higher. Not to mention that your customers will like appreciate this as well!
Be sure to respond to any reviews and quote requests that may come through your listing. In the case of negative reviews, you can put an apology and encourage them to reach out to you to resolve the problem. If they do not reach out, you could also try direct messaging them in an attempt to have them change or update their review to a positive one.
4. Optimize Your Images
Search engines mainly judge what a photo is about via text based signals like the filename, alt tag, and image description. Be sure that before you upload your image to Yelp that you change its filename from the default to something more descriptive. That being said, we recommend that you don’t over-optimize. Just describe what is happening in the picture without using too many words. For example, an image title for your tree service listing might be “employee trimming trees”.
5. Improve Your CTR
While the amount of reviews and your overall rating may be a direct ranking factor in and of themselves, they also affect a separate and much large ranking factor, CTR (click through rate). CTR is essentially the amount of times that people searched for a relevant keyword and engaged with your listing over the competition. If you have a lot of really high reviews on Yelp, it is more likely that people will click and stay on your listing and in turn it is more likely that you will climb the ranks in Yelp’s listings. It will also translate to higher reviews on other platforms, like on Bing which uses Yelp for their review data.
Another way to make sure that your listing gets clicked on is to optimize your listing’s featured image which shows up in the search results. We recommend using an image that has a promotional price on it to entice people to click on your listing over the competition.
In addition, consider opting into the “request a quote” feature where users can directly request a quote from within the Yelp dashboard. If you opt-in to this feature, an icon will show up next to your listing in the search results, attracting more people to click on your listing. Keep in mind though that this will display your average response time, so you will need be alert and respond relatively quickly.
6. Get Backlinks (Mainly for Google)
7. Check Your Categories
Yelp allows you to choose up to three categories for your listing, all of which you should try to fill. That being said, if you list your business under irrelevant categories you could get inquiries for the wrong products and services which can negatively affect your rankings. Therefore, make sure that you only fill in relevant categories and do not just choose categories to have all three selected. In order to find the categories that best fit your business; we recommend taking a look at your competitor’s listings and utilizing their categories.
8. Get More Check-Ins
Check-ins, like user reviews, is a ranking factor in the Yelp ranking algorithm. They also help create buzz and social proof amongst the Yelping community. We recommend creating a special offer to incentivize people to check in.
Ranking higher on Yelp can help you generate new leads and grow your business. It is very easy to get started and after following the steps above, you should see your listings improve over time.