Yelp can be great for business. An extra star rating leads to a 5-9% increase in sales. But a drop in ratings hurts just as much. What’s worse, good reviews may be filtered out by Yelp’s opaque algorithm, which screens reviews.
What’s a business owner to do? You probably don’t like to pander, and you probably don’t want to deal with the politics of Yelp. It may seem like the odds are stacked against you. The obvious solution seems to bite the bullet. Buying Yelp reviews will ramp up your business so you can focus on running it, right? Maybe if the world was flat.
Penalization and Scams
The first problem is obvious: third-party sites will try to scam you. But you anticipated that.
You probably saw this coming too: Yelp may penalize you.
Ultimately, it isn’t worth trying to buy reviews because you’ll waste money and may lose a lot by getting on Yelp’s bad side.
If Buying Yelp Reviews is a Bad Idea, What Can You Do?
Having Yelp on your good side helps, but you don’t need Yelp. If you’re getting unjustified or dishonest negative reviews and Yelp isn’t responding, you can outsmart the system. JackMyRep helps small businesses leverage the tools at hand to boost their reputation. These are a few techniques that help our clients.
Make sure you have a page on Google Places. And make sure it’s completed and accurate. As customers use smartphones and other mobile devices to search, local search is becoming more and more important. Google Places is integrated into Google Maps. The more the information is verified around the web (your business location, the services you provide) the more often you’ll show up in relevant searches. Make sure you’re cited on other pages, such as YellowPages.com and SuperPages.com, and that the information you provide is consistent. Google pools this information. If there are contradictions in the information you provide, you don’t show up as much. Customers can review you in Google Places much like they do in Yelp, and Google pulls reviews from third-party sources too.
It’s important to be on Yahoo Local and Bing as well. Neither are as powerful as Google, but both are valuable, free, and will help you gain credibility and exposure.
Optimize Your Website
You want to optimize your website for local search. Try to use geo-targeted keywords in your URL, page titles, meta descriptions, and throughout your site. That said, don’t stuff your site with keywords! Google uses tasteful algorithms.
Strong, Sharable, Social Content, and other Media Considerations
The more people who connect with you, the more credible you are to search engines. Participating with Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn communities will help you find you build and connect with relevant communities.
Any local groups you can think of—Chamber of Commerce or the Better Business Bureau, for instance—will link back to your site and boost your credibility in search engines. Reaching out to blogs and other local publications is also helpful. Comment with links is a good practice (as long as it isn’t spam). And a great way to gain get your name out in the web is to offer to guest post. Publications love free content.
In addition to the optimizing your website, eliciting authentic reviews about your company, and otherwise increasing your web presence, Jack My Rep uses surveys to channel and magnify customers’ positive sentiments about your company’s performance, and absorb some of the negative feedback that may otherwise end up on Yelp and elsewhere online. This customer feedback serves the dual purpose of helping you improve your service by seeing your business from the customer’s point-of-view and lets your customers know you care and listen. It plays a key role in expanding and creating a credential-and-achievement-focused web presence. Jack My Rep doesn’t distort the facts about your company. We help you reveal what is there.
Buying Yelp reviews is a bad idea, but you can nullify the effect of negative reviews by leveraging Google and other social media outlets. Be proactive and turn the tide! If you apply these techniques, your Yelp profile won’t show up when people search for you or your services.
Give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions. We’re glad to examine your media presence and offer consultation.