How Yelp Can Help (Improve Your Bottom Line)

You’ve probably heard of or even contributed to third-party review sites like Yelp, but did you know that having a business presence in these spaces can boost your brand awareness and deliver valuable customer insights?

Merchantwarehouse.com recently conducted a survey of 800 small business owners to find out how they are affected by Yelp. They found that 72% of consumers trust an online review as much as a personal recommendation and that an impressive 93% of people who conduct research on review sites typically make purchases at one of the businesses they look up.

Here are three ways review sites can bolster your SEO project:

1. Reputation – Reviews hosted by independent companies are viewed as more credible, because the reviews are verified as being from actual costumers of your business. Having user-generated reviews engenders trust, which can improve sales the same way a personal word-of-mouth endorsement does. Consumers are more likely to make a purchase if they discover a positive review. Reviews also encourage further engagement, which can help support and add to the “authority” of your website.

2. Confirmation – Gaining reviews that are generated on a regular basis is a great sign to users and search engines alike, that your business is open and thriving. A steady flux of new reviews conveys freshness to both users and search engines, and improves conversion rates. Stale reviews can make customers question the status of the business, and people prefer to support businesses that are doing well.

3. Improved Visibility in Organic Search – Third-party review sites can improve your visibility within SERPs in a variety of ways. One is that the reviews provide more links pointing back to your site. Links pointing to your site builds credibility in the eyes of the search engines, as it is essentially an indication that other sites feel your content is valuable.

Also, the repeated reference of your brand with related terms across review sites can help boost your site’s relevancy in searches. Let me explain that: as Google and the other search engines crawl and index these reviews they will begin to associate terms used frequently in the reviews with your brand.

Merchant Warehouse’s survey also found that the number of small businesses utilizing social media and review sites increased from the previous year. So to prevent your competition from claiming an advantage in this space, it’s time to do some strategic thinking about how Yelp and other third-party review sites can be used to build customer awareness, promote your brand and engage your customers.

You can view Merchant Warehouse’s complete findings here.