Yelp has been all over the news lately after the company’s IPO surged 64%.  Local business use Yelp to list information about their location, hours, and services online.  But the most useful part of Yelp is the review section that allows customers to leave reviews for others to read.

yelp customer review
  by  Yelp.com 

Kind of like an Angie’s List gone viral, Yelp has become one of the premiere websites to offer user-generated reviews and it’s getting a lot of press.  But how can businesses use Yelp to help get more business?  Here are some ways that Yelp can be beneficial.

Online rankings in the search engines

Even if your website already ranks on page one of Google for your local search terms, wouldn’t it be nice to have more than one listing on that page?  Yelp ranks very well for local search terms, and often business’ pages on Yelp are showing up on the first page of the search results as well.  This will give you two ways for a searcher to find your business and it will give your website more traffic.

Customer interaction

yelp badgeA lot of businesses are upset with Yelp because of so many bad reviwes they have received, and the truth of the matter is someone who had a bad experience with your business is more likely to leave a review than someone who had a great experience.  It’s not Yelp that is leaving the reviews but regular people.  Always rememeber that before you replay to any comments.

You should ask your customers if they are already on Yelp, and if they are ask them to leave a review for your business.  This is a great way to receive feedback from your customers.  Don’t be afraid of negative feedback either.  Always reply to anything negative and try to correct the problem.  This is a great way to better your business and your relations with your customers as well.

Use Yelp to engage with your customer base and also with potential customers as well.  Remember that if people are leaving reviews on Yelp about your business then they are also talking about your business with their family and friends as well, so if you don’t address their concerns it will only hurt your business.

Free advertising

It doesn’t cost anything to list your business on Yelp, but you want to make sure you fill out your entire profile.  Besides listing your business hours and location make sure you put a lot of photographs on there as well.  Pictures don’t just help visitors on the website to see more about your business but it also helps your search engine rankings as well.

Your business may be on Yelp without you even realizing it, so it is vitally important to claim your business and start interacting with people who are leaving comments and reviews.  Showing that you are actively participating in the community will help give your business credibility and will go a long way in convincing potential customers that your business will treat them well.

About the Author: Jon is a writer for Safe Identity Protection where he compares the top id theft companies like Lifelock, Trusted ID, and Identity Guard.