My Business Is Now Listed On Google and Bing. What’s Left?
Now that your business is listed on Google and Bing, you are well on your way to reaching most of your customers and potential customers online through search engines. Now that you’re listed on these two prominent search engines and other Google properties, it is important to consider utilizing another popular service – Yelp.
What is Yelp?
Yelp is an online business directory that prominently features user reviews and social media features. Unlike Google and Bing Places for Business, Yelp emphasizes the reviews and ratings posted by users. Yelp is a popular service – it received 100 million unique visitors as of January 2013. Yet even while it has proven popular with users, some businesses are leery of Yelp and the legitimacy of its reviews and ratings. Before listing your business, it is important to be aware of how Yelp operates and what you should expect from their review system, including efforts to “filter” reviews.
Many businesses are not aware that Yelp users are leaving opinionated – and sometimes negative – reviews of their business on the site. While it is always the best policy to simply treat all of your customers with courtesy, attention and respect, it is possible that a Yelp user may leave a negative review of your business. Both positive and negative reviews will appear on your listing page and will count towards a 5-star rating that is always featured with your business name wherever it appears on the site. To combat the practice of both businesses and Yelp users leaving dishonest, fraudulent or vindictive reviews, Yelp has implemented a review filtering system – with mixed results.
As an owner or representative of a business or organization, it may be frustrating and difficult to engage a website and community of users when you are largely powerless to control how your business or organization is rated and presented. However, it may be wise for your business or organization to register with Yelp to ensure that your listing information is correct and to study the feedback that users are presenting on the site. Most importantly, engaging with Yelp will allow you to post responses to reviews as well, although it is important that your responses are courteous and professional. While unfair or vindictive reviews may be of little use, reviews with legitimate criticism may be helpful in improving your products and/or services. If you see a pattern of constructive criticism, Yelp may provide to be an invaluable resource in getting your company or organization back on track.
OK, I Think I’ll Sign Up For Yelp. Where Do I Start?
Yelp has a special page for businesses listed at http://biz.yelp.com/. It is important to sign up using this site rather than the main Yelp page because there you will be prompted to sign up for a user account.
Like many online directories, Yelp will prompt you to search for an existing listing before creating a new one. It is possible that a listing for your business or organization already exists, even if neither you nor any other employee created one. You’ll be then prompted to enter your name, contact information, and a password. Like other business directories, Yelp will require you to verify your identity with an automated phone call and PIN verification.
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