Here’s the thing about Yelp. Just like Google, you should always be at or near the top when people are searching for keywords related to your service.
And, just like Google, you have to make a conscious effort to get to that top spot.
In the marketing world, we call this SEO. Without it, you have no fighting chance to display at the top of the search results.
Zero. Zip. Zilch.
Yelp marketing on autopilot simply does not work.
Here are a few steps you can take to help you rank at the top of Yelp.
1. Choose the Right Service Category
It seems like a no-brainer, but so many businesses make the mistake of improperly classifying their business category.
Double-check your entry to ensure that it’s listed under the category appropriate to your industry. If it’s not, then it won’t matter if you have all the right keywords sprinkled throughout your listing. You’re going to face quite a fight when it comes to attracting new business.
For a complete list of categories, click HERE.
2. Make a List of Keywords You Want to Rank For
Here’s where the brainstorming begins. Come up with a list of keywords that you want to rank for in Yelp.
For example: if you’re running a dental practice, you might want to rank not just for “Dentist” (a very competitive keyword), but “Family Dentist,” “General Dentist,” “Sedation Dentist” etc.
Write down a long list keywords and then prioritize the ones that you think will give you the best chance of reeling in new customers.
Pro-tip: Be sure to include one or more longtail keywords (ie, Children’s Dentist in Los Angeles). They can be very valuable on Yelp.
3. Update Your Listing With Those Keywords
Once you’ve identified your keywords, use them throughout your listing — especially in the speciality section.
The Yelp search engine seems to pay particularly close attention to that section.
Going back to the dental practice example, you would want to use the Specialties section to list all the types of services that you provide in your office. That way, if somebody searches for, let’s say, porcelain veneers, it’s much more likely that you’ll appear near the top.
4. Get Reviews That Include Your Keywords
Here’s a trick that will put you ahead in Yelp. Acquire positive reviews about your business that includes keywords reflecting your core products or services.
Why? Because that gives your business the added boost of a keyword entry created by a third party. It is true, Yelp actually scans your reviews to look for keywords.
Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to get satisfied customers to rate you on Yelp, assuming that they’re already members.
Once you have a number of people leaving positive reviews with the same keyword, it will be much more likely that you’ll rank at the top of Yelp for that search term.
5. Fill out Your Profile Completely
Sadly, this happens all too often.
Be sure that your profile is completely filled out.
Like many other platforms (for example, LinkedIn), Yelp strongly favors a complete profile. That’s why you should go through every part of it and ensure that it’s as complete as possible.
Add photos, videos, directions, full text, address, etc.
6. Unfilter Positive Reviews
Yelp is always on the lookout for fraud. As a result, the system sometimes becomes too clever by half and filters out positive reviews that should be visible.
Usually, those reviews are filtered because the user hasn’t completed his or her profile (see Point #5). That’s a “trigger” to the system that somebody might be creating a fake review just to boost business.
Here’s what you can do: reach out to that reviewer on Yelp, thank the customer for the positive review, and then ask the person to complete the Profile section so the review will be visible to the whole world.
If you want to be successful with Yelp, you’ll have to make a conscious effort to do so. Or, better yet, hire the pros to do it for you.