Yelp isn’t just for restaurants and Yelp reviews aren’t only for restaurants either. All types of businesses can benefit from building out a presence on the popular review site and from Yelp reviews. Having a strong presence on Yelp can increase credibility with consumers and help boost your standing on local and organic searches. Because of this, it is important to make sure your Yelp business listing is optimized to its full potential to take advantage of the many benefits Yelp and new Yelp reviews can bring.

Setting up your Yelp Listing

You can’t optimize your Yelp listing if it doesn’t exist yet. Here’s how to get things up and running.

Claiming your business on Yelp

  1. Go to Yelp for Business Owners.
  2. Enter your business name and address in the search bar, then click “Search.”
  3. If your business appears in the search results, click “Claim this Business” next to it.
  4. Create a free account with Yelp or sign in with Google or Facebook if you already have an account.
  5. Verify your business by entering the code sent to you via phone call or text message.
  6. Complete any additional steps required to verify ownership of your business, such as providing website URL or uploading a photo ID.
  7. After verifying ownership of your business, you can edit and update basic information like hours and services offered on your Yelp page so that customers can find the most accurate information about your business.

Creating a Yelp Business Page

Creating a Yelp business page is essential for any local business. It’s an effective way to showcase your services, attract new customers, and start conversations with existing ones. Potential customers can learn about your business by reading reviews, looking at photos, and discovering the unique features that set your business apart from others in the area.

Verifying Your Business on Yelp

Getting your business verified on Yelp is an important step in making sure customers can find accurate information about your business. If you followed the above steps to set up your listing, your business should be verified on Yelp and good to go.

Why can’t I claim my business on Yelp?

While getting set up on Yelp is generally a quick process, there are a few common reasons why people might not be able to verify their business on Yelp. The most common reasons include:

  • The business information is not entered correctly. To ensure your business can be verified, make sure the address and phone number you enter on Yelp matches the one officially listed by the government or other official websites.
  • You don’t have ownership of the business. To verify a business, you must prove that you own it. This usually requires uploading an official document such as a government-issued photo ID or a certificate of incorporation with your name on it.
  • Your account has been suspended. If your Yelp account has been suspended due to violating the terms of service, you will no longer be able to use Yelp’s verification services. If this is the case, contact customer service to find out how to resolve the problem.

Optimizing your Yelp business listing

1. Adding a business category to Yelp

If you want to ensure customers can find you, adding a business category to your Yelp profile is a must. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Sign in to the Yelp for Business Owners page and select the appropriate page from your listings.
  2. Scroll down until you see the “Categories” section and click on “add or remove categories”
  3. You will be presented with a list of all available business categories. Select the most relevant one for your business.
  4. Once you’ve selected the category, click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page and you’re all set.

2. Adding business hours to Yelp

People need to know when your business is open. Here’s how to add your hours to your Yelp profile.

  1. Sign in to the Yelp for Business Owners page and select the appropriate page from your listings.
  2. Scroll down until you see the “Hours” section and click on “Edit”
  3. You will then be presented with an interface allowing you to input your daily hours of operation; enter these in 24-hour format (e.g., 10 AM = 1000, 3 PM = 1500).
  4. Once you’ve entered all of your business hours, click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page and you’ll be good to go.

3. Managing your Yelp listing photos and videos

Having visual content on your Yelp listing is a great way entice potential buyers and show them what your business has to offer. Here’s how to manage your photos on Yelp:

  1. Sign in to the Yelp for Business Owners page and select the appropriate page from your listings.
  2. Scroll down until you see the “Photos & Videos” section and click on “Manage”
  3. You will then be presented with an interface allowing you to upload or delete existing photos and videos – simply drag-and-drop (for uploads) or select (for deletions).
  4. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page, and you’re done.

4. Call to Action

Often times, people won’t do something unless you tell them to do it. Having a call to action (CTA) on your Yelp page can be a great way to encourage customers to take the next step with your business. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind:

  • Make sure it is relevant. A good call to action direction relates to what your business does.  For example, a medical spa would probably use a CTA like “Book an appointment” rather than “Buy now.”
  • Keep it simple. Don’t put too much text in the call to action, or it could overwhelm readers.
  • Make it urgent. Phrases like “limited-time offer” or “book now” can help encourage customers to take immediate action.

5. Yelp Business messages

Yelp Business Messages is a feature that allows businesses to send targeted messages to existing and potential customers. By using this feature, businesses can reach out directly to people who are already interested in their services. This can be great for customer engagement, brand awareness, and promotional opportunities.

6. Updating other business information

Once you’ve done the above, your Yelp listing will be in great shape. Looking for more ways to optimize? Here are a couple of other ideas.

Manager/Owner Descriptions

Updating the Manager or Owner Descriptions section of your Yelp page is a great way to capture potential customers’ attention and establish your business as an authority in its field. This helps showcase the people who run your business and it can establish credibility for your brand.

Yelp Business Service Areas

Yelp offers businesses the ability to list service areas to better target their most relevant customers. Customers are able to search for services within their own neighborhood and be sure that what they’re looking for is offered in their area. This is especially useful for businesses that only offer services in a certain region or city.

Yelp Reviews

Now that you have your listing set up, the real work begins. You should take the time to interact with your customer reviews on a regular basis. You should respond to all types of Yelp reviews, not just negative ones. Yelp is a community and the members of that community will appreciate it if they know you are reading reviews and responding either with a quick thanks for their business or with a solution to a problem if there is one.

Best practices for Yelp reviews

Yelp recommends placing a badge to your Yelp listing on your website. Yelp will provide you with the code that you just need to paste into your website. You can also place ‘Find us on Yelp’ signage in your window or near your checkout area. This will make sure your Yelp presence is top of mind for customers when completing the transaction. Finally, Yelp suggests including a link to your listing with the words ‘Check us out on Yelp!’ in your email signature.

How to respond to negative Yelp reviews

As mentioned previously, businesses should respond to all types of Yelp reviews to build and improve relationships with members of the Yelp community. This is especially true when you receive a negative review. When negative reviews are left and no response is made, customers notice, and that inaction could cause as much damage to your reputation as the negative review itself. No business is immune to negative reviews, so how you respond matters. When responding to negative reviews, you should follow these steps:

  1. Apologize
  2. Stay calm
  3. Offer a solution
  4. Offer to speak privately

1. Apologize (you know it’s the right thing to do)

Even if you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, it’s important to acknowledge the customer’s complaint and offer a sincere apology. It’s amazing how far the words “I’m sorry” can go toward smoothing over a situation and making it better.

2. Stay calm about a negative Yelp review

No one likes to receive negative feedback, but one of the worst things you can do is let your emotions get in the way. Because of this, we suggest making sure the person responding to the negative Yelp review has some distance from the situation and a calm demeanor. This will ensure that cooler heads prevail and help keep everything in perspective.

3. Offer a solution to the negative Yelp review

Make sure that you aren’t just giving lip service with your apology. You should also offer the customer a proactive solution to their problem. This will show the customer you have put some thought into the response. When responding publicly, you should avoid using canned answers. They oftentimes come off as impersonal and inauthentic.

4. Offer to speak privately about their Yelp Review

Lastly, you provide the customer with the contact information of someone in customer support that they can contact directly to resolve the problem. Doing so doesn’t mean you don’t believe in transparency. It’s just easier to communicate via email or on the phone than going back and forth in the comment section of an online review. It will also ensure that the problem is solved as quickly as possible.

Can you Delete a Yelp Review?

Business owners cannot delete reviews people leave for their business, but they can flag reviews they find to be in violation of the company’s content guidelines and these will be reviewed by Yelp professionals. Keep in mind, flagged reviews are not guaranteed to be removed. Businesses also have the option to respond publicly or privately to reviews if needed.

Yelp Business Advertising

Yelp offers businesses the ability to advertise their services on the website and app. This gives businesses access to millions of users who can see their ads as they search for local services. Additionally, Yelp analytics allows business owners to track campaign performance over time so they can adjust their strategy accordingly.

Using Yelp Advertising

The good news is that using Yelp Advertising is pretty straightforward. To get started, you’ll need to create an account. Once the account is set up, you can choose from a variety of ad formats such as cost-per-click (CPC) ads, video ads and display ads.

Measuring Ad Performance

As any good marketer knows, measuring the results of your ads is crucial. Yelp analytics makes it easy to track the performance of your ads over time so you can make adjustments or adjust your strategy as necessary.

Optimizing Yelp Ads

Need a hand getting started? Here are some tips that will help you optimize your Yelp ads.

  • Utilize data from Yelp analytics. Data is your friend. Use Yelp’s analytics to track how your ads are performing over time, and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Take advantage of targeting options. Leverage the various targeting options such as location and interests that Yelp provides to ensure you reach the right people with your message.
  • Refresh your content regularly. Update your ads on a regular basis to keep them relevant and engaging for viewers.

What is Yelp Connect?

Yelp Connect is a free marketing tool offered by Yelp that allows businesses to engage and interact with customers. This tool allows you to post photos, message customers, promote special offers and highlight products and services. Additionally, Yelp Connect helps businesses gain insights about their customers and understand how they are engaging with their content.


 How does Yelp Business work?

Yelp Business makes it easy for businesses to keep their customers in the loop, reach a wider audience, and establish credibility online. Various kinds of businesses can benefit from building a presence on Yelp.

 How to merge a Business and Personal Account on Yelp

At this time, you cannot merge a business account with a personal Yelp account.

What are some Yelp alternatives?

Yelp is great, but it’s not the only review site out there. If you want a healthy online presence, you should try and show up on more than one review platform. We’d recommend trying Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau, and Facebook Reviews in addition to other niche-specific options.

Does Yelp help my business SEO?

Taking advantage of Yelp’s services can help you increase online visibility and traffic to your website, which will then lead to improved search engine rankings. The reviews and ratings that users provide for your business on Yelp can also help improve your business’s ranking in search results.

A Few Last Tips for Managing Your Yelp Account

How to edit Yelp page names

Need to change your business’s name on Yelp? Here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into your Yelp business profile.
  2. Go to the ‘Business Information’ tab, which is located on the left side of the screen.
  3. Underneath the ‘Business URL’ heading, you will find a field where you can enter in a new page name. Enter in your desired page name, and click ‘Save’.
  4. You will be notified when your page name has been successfully updated.

How to set up Yelp email notifications

Yelp email notifications make it easy to keep an eye on all the action. Here’s how to set them up:

  1. Log into your Yelp account and click on the ‘Account Settings’ tab at the top of the page.
  2. Click ‘Notifications’ on the left-hand side of the page.
  3. Then, you’ll be given the option to enable/disable various notification types, including: Weekly Business Updates, Special Offers from Yelp, Review Reminders for your customers, and more.
  4. Click ‘Save Changes.’

Download the Yelp for Business Owners app

We get it, you won’t always be sitting in front of your computer. Downloading the Yelp for Business Owners app makes it easy for you to manage your Yelp account on the go.

Matt Boyce
Matt Boyce Head of SMB Marketing

Matt Boyce is a marketing and business professional at Podium, the premiere messaging platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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