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Wondering how to get your business to rank higher on Yelp?  If not you should be, many of your prospects in Colorado go to the Yelp business directory every day when looking for local companies and services like yours.

Yelp offers a free listing to businesses called “Yelp for Business.” If you want to increase the likelihood of your prospects finding you on Yelp then you need to optimize this free listing.

Beyond just more searchers finding you, Yelp is famous for customer reviews and is therefore an important part of managing your company’s reputation.  Many Colorado business owners actually hate Yelp because Yelp users tend to leave negative reviews. But it is because of the reviews that most business owners should take the steps in the post to claim and manage their Yelp business listing.

Yelp is usually a key part of the SEO strategy for local businesses in Colorado.  Here are some tips on how to optimize this page to rank higher on Yelp and increase leads and sales from Yelp.

How to Rank Higher on Yelp for Business

yelp for businessFirst, let’s quickly answer the question of how does the Yelp for business work?

Yelp is an immensely popular business directory in the form of a website and mobile app that Colorado users love to use to find and review business. In particular, Yelp is used to find brick-and-mortar shops, stores and businesses.

The term “Yelp for business” refers to the listing of your company on Yelp. The listing, aka profile, contains your business name, address, phone, hours, descriptions, photos and customer reviews.

This Yelp profile can be created by you, by Yelp itself or by anyone with a Yelp account.  However, your Yelp business profile can only be claimed and managed by the business owner. More on that later.

How Does Yelp Help Small Local Businesses?

Yelp can help your business in two key ways: leads and reputation management.

Leads

When your prospects go to Yelp to search for goods and services your Yelp profile page will appear on the search results page. Like Google search, the higher your business ranks on the Yelp search results the more traffic, leads, and sales you will get from Yelp.

Reputation Management

Yelp users love to read and leave reviews.  If a Yelp user is your customer there is a good chance they will leave you a review. If a Yelp user needs your services there is a good chance they will open the Yelp app and search using the keywords for your business. The more great reviews you have the more new customers you will get.  Vice-versa if you have lots of bad reviews.

Is a Yelp for Business Account Free?

Yelp for business offers a basic listing that is free.  This listing is fine for most business categories.  Yelp is very popular in the hospitality industry where the competition is fierce.

Tourism is a big industry in Colorado.  If your business is a restaurant, lodging, travel service, bar, coffee shop, tourist-related, travel-related, etc. then you might want to explore the paid options Yelp offers with more features to increase visibility and engagement with your business.

In this post, we are going to focus on the Yelp for business free profile.

Claim Your Yelp for Business Page

You need to claim your Yelp for business page so you can update the info, add photos, reply to reviews and see visitor traffic to your Yelp profile.

If you’ve been in operation for a while, there is a good chance Yelp already has a listing for your business.  If your business is new, then you may need to create your Yelp listing from scratch.

Claiming involves several steps that essentially verify you are the owner of the business.  Go to the Claiming Your Business page on Yelp for instructions.  Once claimed, come back here for tips on optimizing your listing.

Choose the Best Category

Choosing the best category for your business listing may be the most important tactic to rank higher on Yelp and get found by your most qualified prospects.  Take some time to do this right.

Yelp offers a large list of categories for you to choose from to describe your business. Each business is allowed to multiple categories.  You don’t have to choose a bunch of categories, in-fact sometimes it is better to choose only one or two categories. Unrelated categories may hurt your visibility.

Some categories unlock additional features for your profile page.  For example, restaurant categories allow you to enter menus, delivery services and the like.

Upload Photos and Videos

Photos and videos improve the overall content of your Yelp listings.  In addition, more quality photos and videos help with visibility.  I definitely see that adding photos regularly helps businesses rank higher on Yelp.

Try to get your customers to post photos when they review your business.

Choose Amenities

Yelp lets businesses provide information common to many businesses such as a military discount, women-owned, and pandemic related features like social distancing enforced and the like.  Click all that apply.

Hours of Operation

Enter the hours your business is open for walk-ins and phone answering. I don’t recommend saying your open 24/7 as many plumbers and lawyers do as this can give a negative experience to potential customers.

From This Business

This is the most important area of content optimization on Yelp and is where you provide textual information about your business and this is where you want to spend some time crafting keyword-rich descriptions.

The Yelp profile includes three sections where you can include text about your business. Write content for each section. Below are tips for what to write about in each section.  For even more guidance visit Yelp’s official guidelines for the “From the Business” sections.

Specialties

Focus this section on what you do and how you are better than your competitors. Include your keywords here to rank higher on Yelp but don’t stuff keywords into your content, rather make your business descriptions naturally include those keywords. Think about your audience. The words you write should appeal to the emotions of your primary audience. Use language that your audience can relate to, so they’ll feel a natural connection to you. Character limit: 1,000.

History

Enter the year you established the business in the box.  Then in the history box go into storytelling mode and describe the history of the business, including 2 or 3 of the major milestones. Character limit: 1,000.

Meet the Business Owner

This is where you put a face on the business by connecting the business specialties and history with the business owner. Share why you started the business and your overall mission or purpose.  You can include one or two personal details that you’re comfortable sharing. Character limit: 1,000.

You’re Done with the Profile, But Not the Work

Once you’ve completed the three sections above you are essentially done with the free components of your Yelp for Business profile and you’ve started the journey to rank higher on Yelp.  But don’t stop here, at this point you need to start using Yelp to engage with your customers.

Below are four Yelp optimization tactics you can implement to help convince Yelp that you should rank at the top of the search result pages.

Encourage Customer Check-Ins

Your Yelp business listing has a button for customers to check-in.  Businesses are allowed to encourage people who are physically visiting the business to check-in.

Businesses can create and post a check-in offer as a way to receive loyalty rewards.  This is a Yelp paid service, visit Yelp to learn more.

Encouraging Reviews

The most important fact to understand about increasing the number of Yelp reviews for your business is that you need to get reviews from people that use Yelp regularly.  Don’t waste your time trying to get non-Yelper’s to leave a review.  This is because Yelp will often remove reviews from people that create a Yelp account, log in once to leave you a review and then never log in again.  Yelp views these types of reviews as fake.

Find out if your happy customers are regular Yelp users. By regular I mean they actually log into Yelp to find and review businesses they use.  If you have a happy customer that is a regular Yelp user then you need to take action and let them know you are on Yelp.

Don’t ask your customers directly to review you on Yelp.  That’s because Yelp policy forbids businesses to directly ask or reward a customer to leave a positive review.  Instead, make it obvious to your customers that you are on Yelp.  Get a Yelp sticker and put it on the door of your brick-and-mortar business.  Put a Yelp badge on your website that links to your Yelp listing.  You can also put a Yelp link in your email signature to remind people to visit your Yelp page.

Reply to All Reviews

Be sure to reply to all reviews, good and bad.  Responding to reviews shows the prospects viewing your page that you care about the opinions of your customers.

Keep Yelp Listing Fresh

Yelp favors businesses that are active on their Yelp business listing.  Log into your Yelp page at least once a month and make an update if possible. Great updates are posting more photos, responding to reviews and refreshing details about your business.

Conclusion

Optimizing your Yelp for Business page so that you rank higher on Yelp is not hard, it just requires a little effort.  Follow the steps above and log into your Yelp profile on a regular basis and you may soon find phone and front doorbell ringing with new customers from Yelp.

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