How to Create a Strong Yelp Profile that Boosts Sales

These easy steps will build a strong Yelp profile for your business and take your sales to the next level. Get more clicks, reviews, and visits on your Yelp page today!

Yelp boasts some astounding numbers: 162 million reported monthly visitors and over 121 million customer reviews, for starters. And, while some of Yelp’s policies leave a bit to be desired, the platform actively helps small businesses compete against larger companies.

That brings us to the question of the day: how do you create a strong Yelp profile that ultimately boosts sales? With so many millions heading to Yelp every day, it’s only logical to conclude that consumers trust the information they find there. Trust leads to decisions, and decisions lead to sales.

In this step-by-step guide, we’ll make it easy for you to build a strong Yelp profile that boosts your sales:

1) Claim or create your Yelp profile
2) Review your business’ basic information
3) Create a compelling business bio
4) Upload good photos
5) Get good reviews from customers
6) Respond to reviewers
7) Report any fake reviews to Yelp
8) Consider adding a Yelp deal

1) Claim or create your Yelp profile

Before you can make any changes to your business’ Yelp profile, you have to claim ownership of it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to claiming your Yelp profile:

  1. Head to the Yelp for Business Owners page.
  2. Select “Manage my free listing,” and enter the name and address of your business to check if it has already been added to Yelp. (If not, you’ll need to create a new listing for it).
  3. If it is listed and hasn’t already been claimed, select the red “Claim your business” button to the right of your listing. You’ll be asked for your email address, and then Yelp will call your business’ listing phone number to verify your ownership. If the listed number is incorrect, you’ll need to request it be changed before you can continue.  
  4. Once Yelp calls and verifies you, you can add all the information you need to create a strong Yelp profile for your business.

Don’t see your business listed on Yelp already? Here’s how you can create a new listing for it:

  1. Go to Yelp for Business Owners page and select “Manage my free listing.”
  2. Type in the zip code and the name of your business. Click “Continue,” and you’ll be directed to add your business:

3. Fill in all of the fields, including category. Be specific and as accurate as possible when selecting categories and subcategories.
4. Click “Add business.”

2) Review your business’ basic information

Yelp, at its most basic, is a source for local business information. If your information is incorrect, it can lead to a lot of unhappy customers who – you guessed it – leave poor Yelp reviews.

Start by reviewing your NAP: name, address and phone number. This is what’s going to link your Yelp page to all the other online information about your business, like your Google My Business profile. 

Your business’ name, address and phone number should be exactly the same across all platforms, down to the formatting of your phone number (if you used parentheses in one, you need to use them every time) and whether you abbreviate “Street” to “St.” 

By making your NAP information exactly the same everywhere you list it, you make it easier for Google to recognize your business, which improves your local SEO. Improving your local SEO increases your visibility to customers, which establishes brand recognition and – over time – can help boost your sales.

From there, you can continue building up a strong Yelp profile by including all the information Yelp allows you to, like:

This may vary depending on the category your business falls under. Regardless, the more information you put out there, the better Yelp will be able to serve those using its search engine. And Yelp wants to serve its customers well, too.

3) Create a compelling business bio

Yelp allows businesses to add their own information in three separate categories: specialties, business history, and an owner or manager bio.

This space is unique because it isn’t generated by reviews or Yelp based on a few facts – you actually get to write this out for yourself. And, you get 3,000 characters to do so. That roughly translates to 150-300 words per section. 

This is a big deal for a couple of reasons:

  1. You have a chance to connect with customers. Sure, you’ve got your hours and services listed already – but what will really make a strong Yelp profile is your ability to connect and build trust with customers before they even walk through your doors. Take this opportunity to teach them the “why” behind your business.
  2. You get an added SEO boost, if you write it well. This space allows you to optimize for keywords. Pick a few, like the city you’re located in and the main service or services you offer, but don’t overdo it. Yelp profiles often show up early in Google search results pages because Yelp has such a high domain ranking, and you can help it by including some of those top keywords customers may be searching for (like “car dealership in Birmingham”).

This content must be original – do not just copy from your website’s “About Us” page. That will only hurt your business’ SEO rankings.

4) Upload good photos

The keyword in this step is “good.” Good images speak highly of you because they portray you as a professional, top-quality business. Plus, they help differentiate you from your competitors, and they let your customers know what they can expect when visiting.

Good photos aren’t just about looking sharp, either. According to Yelp, business listings with 10 or more photos get 12 times the number of customer leads every month

That’s because adding photos can help you reach your ideal customers. Let’s say you’re a DJ specializing in weddings. Pictures and even a few videos of you while you’re working give clients an idea of the kinds of weddings you are great at and whether you might be a good fit for them.

So, if you want to get the full benefits of a Yelp business listing, snag a nice camera or hire a pro, and go to town taking photos of your business.

Here are some best practices to follow when uploading images to Yelp:

  • Include images of your interior and exterior. This is what’s going to help customers get a feel for your business and imagine themselves there.
  • Include images that show off what you do best. Perhaps this means photos of your best-selling entree, or you performing your most popular service.
  • Add at least 10 high-quality, striking photos. We can’t stress quality enough, as it can make the difference between a customer choosing you or your competitor.
  • Ensure all images are smaller than 5000px x 5000px. Anything too large will not upload to Yelp properly.

5) Get good reviews from customers

Unfortunately, many local business owners have a love-hate relationship with Yelp business reviews, and it’s not without reason. Yelp has been accused of filtering out or withholding positive reviews to business accounts that do not advertise with them. It’s also very difficult to remove negative reviews from Yelp, even if they are fake.

Regardless of Yelp’s unpopular policies and questionable tactics, consumers still trust it as a resource for reviews. That’s why good Yelp reviews matter.

They’re also more difficult to get. Yelp’s Don’t Ask policy claims you are not allowed to directly ask customers for reviews, which means you’re more likely to get negative reviews on Yelp.

Why? Because unhappy customers are far more likely to leave an unsolicited review than happy customers. Yelp does permit indirect methods of asking for reviews, however; like adding a “Find us on Yelp” sticker or sign somewhere in your brick-and-mortar. 

A strong Yelp profile needs a lot of good reviews. So, at the end of the day, you need to decide how much risk you’re willing to take when it comes to Yelp reviews, and make decisions based on that. 

Whether you choose to act in compliance (or not) with Yelp’s policies, the dangers of Yelp business reviews are important to understand as a business owner.

6) Respond to reviewers

Yelp’s search algorithm favors businesses that are active in managing their profiles. When you respond to Yelp reviews – positive or negative – you’re giving Yelp a good reason to bump your business up in searches. 

Responding isn’t just good for your Yelp search rankings, either. A recent study from Harvard Business Review concluded that businesses who respond to reviews tend to receive more positive ratings than those that don’t respond.

By taking an extra few minutes to respond to reviews, you build up a strong Yelp profile in multiple ways: Yelp favors you, and customers are eager to interact with you.

While it sounds good, we understand that responding to reviews isn’t always sunshine and butterflies. You’ll get negative reviews and you may struggle with how to respond without hurting your business along the way.

Here are some best practices to follow when responding to bad Yelp reviews:

  1. Start from a place of humility. It won’t help your business if you come off as angry or resentful in your review response. Take a couple hours to process a bad review before responding so you’re in the right mindset for it.
  2. Apologize. Even if it was a misunderstanding or you were in the right, it is always good to apologize in your response. Often, customers with negative experiences just want to be acknowledged, and an apology can go a long way.
  3. State what you’re doing to make it better. Whether you’re changing a policy, training employees, or offering this customer a refund for their trouble, let the customer know in the response. You’ll also be telling anyone who reads your review response, ultimately showing you care about the experiences had at your business.
  4. Take it offline. Give the customer an email address and phone number to claim the refund, discount, or just to offer you further feedback. Don’t miss this step to avoid potential online harassment.

You should also respond to positive reviews, which aren’t usually as complicated. Simply thank the customer for their feedback, mention you’re glad they liked your (fill in the blank), and invite them to come back and see you again soon.

7) Report any fake reviews to Yelp

You can’t remove just any bad review from Yelp. The review has to have violated one of Yelp’s guidelines to be eligible for removal:

  • The review involves a conflict of interest. This includes anything from a competitor or former employee, someone who was paid for their opinion, the review is promoting someone else, or the review is affiliated with your business in some way.
  • The review does not involve an experience had at your business. This could be anything plagiarized from another source, references someone else’s experience with your business, is a response to anything in the news, or is just arguing with another reviewer.
  • The review is inappropriate. Anything with explicit content, hate speech, threats, or private information about another individual can be reported for inappropriate content.

If there is a Yelp review on your business’ profile that falls into one of these categories, here’s how you can remove it:

  1. If you haven’t already, follow the instructions above to claim your Yelp business account.
  2. Login to Yelp for business owners and go the “Reviews” section.
  3. Locate the review you want to report.
  4. Select the three dots to the right of the review, and click “Report review.”
  5. Yelp will look into it and determine whether it violates its policies. You’ll receive an email, usually after several days, with their decision.

8) Consider adding a Yelp Deal

Yelp deals work similarly to Groupon, where a customer can purchase a voucher at a discount, like:

By choosing to post a Yelp deal, you reap a few benefits. First, it could be a selling point between choosing you or a competitor, who may not have a deal listed. Second, it helps you see how many of your customers are actually finding you through Yelp.

Finally, they appeal to those checking their smartphones for local business information – which make up 61 percent of Yelp’s users. 

There’s also no cost to list a Yelp deal. Yelp takes a percentage of every purchase, while the rest is paid directly to you each month.