The Complete Guide to Yelp

Part 1: Creating and Optimizing Your Yelp Profile
Part 2: Yelp Ads, Deals, and Dashboard
Part 3: Responding to Yelp Reviews
Part 4: Updating Your Yelp Business Page

If it seems like everybody’s talking about Yelp these days, it’s because approximately 142 million visitors turn to Yelp each month to read up on local businesses. Considering that Yelp is now
home to about 100 million reviews, it’s no wonder so many people regard it as their own personal gospel when it comes to choosing everything from plumbers to dog groomers. And of course restaurants are no exception.

As a restaurant operator, you no doubt face competition, whether it’s the place down the street, around the corner, or across town. That’s why it’s important to make sure Yelp is working for you, not against you. The best way to do that is to take charge of your business’s Yelp profile.

Setting up your profile is only the first step to a successful experience with Yelp. Once your business page is complete with detailed information and nicely adorned with photos, you’ll need to follow your leads, track your revenue, and of course keep tabs on your reviews.

In our upcoming chapters, we’ll  explain the Yelp Dashboard and outline your options to promote your restaurant on Yelp. We’ll also talk about how you can maximize your customer reviews, whether they’re positive or negative, and lastly provide resources to help you make the most of your experience with Yelp. But first, let’s get started with your restaurant’s Yelp profile page.

Set Up Your Business Profile

Thankfully, Yelp makes it pretty easy to set up a page for your business. The first step in the process involves claiming or creating your business page. When you go to Yelp for Business Owners, you’ll be directed to a screen that allows you to search for and claim your business page.

Simply input the name of your restaurant and its address, and Yelp will spit back a bunch of search results. From there, you just scroll through the list, find your restaurant, and claim it. Once you do, you’ll be prompted to create a Yelp account with your contact info, email address, and password.

Don’t see your restaurant in Yelp’s results? It could be that a listing doesn’t exist for it yet. In that case, all you need to do is scroll to the bottom and click the link that says “Add your business to Yelp.”

Whether you’re claiming your listing or adding it from scratch, you’ll need to input some key information about your restaurant to get started.

You’ll start with the basics:

  • Your business name
  • Address and contact info
  • Your restaurant’s hours
  • The category your establishment falls under (diner, pizza, etc.)

Verify Your Business

Now that you’ve created or claimed your business page, Yelp will need to verify that you’re legit. If you’re claiming an existing page, you can have Yelp call you at the number associated with your listing to confirm a verification code.

Or, if you’re adding a new business page, the verification process takes a bit longer. Once you sign up, you’ll receive an email asking you to confirm your email address. From there, you’ll need to wait for Yelp to confirm that your business details are accurate. (Note: If you’re waiting on an email from Yelp, always check your spam filter to make sure it didn’t get lost along the way.)

Delete The Duplicates

The last and most important step in verifying your restaurant is to delete any duplicate business pages you came across while setting up your page. Since Yelp constantly receives different business information from different sources, such as external partners and Yelp users, duplicate listings are created when the information can’t be tied to the same business listing.The problem is that these duplicate pages appear in the search results and cause confusion when a user has to figure out which business page to review or check in, for example.

Your restaurant should only have one listing on Yelp. If you manage several locations, each location must have its individual page. There are exceptions to this rule for operators of food trucks and other mobile food businesses, but the key is to keep your Yelp listing(s) organized by location. If you happen to find multiple listing for the same location, use Yelp’s support site to report the problem.

Add Your Secret Sauce

Once you’ve claimed your Yelp page, it’s time to add personality to your profile. Use photos to make your Yelp page unique. Yelp itself says that people who use the site to search for local businesses spend 2.5 times as long on pages with photos than those without. Not only that, but businesses with 1 to 5 reviews and at least 10 photos get 200% more user views than businesses with the same number of reviews but no photos.

Communicate With Photos

Now you’ve probably heard the saying that people eat with their eyes. Well, now’s the time to take advantage of that by adding the most enticing, mouth-watering photos of your food you can find. Known for your killer chocolate cake? Plate it up and snap a picture. The same goes for that perfectly cooked steak your customers tend to rave about. When people like what they see, they’re more inclined to follow their appetites straight to your door.

Besides the food, you want your photos to communicate what users can expect. Is your restaurant known for its exclusive wine selection and knowledgeable sommeliers? Post a photo of your wine team holding your most popular bottles, and add a caption so users know just what they’re looking at. People want to know what choices they’ll have if they decide to eat at your restaurant.

Yelp searchers often look for business details in the photo gallery, even if this information can already be found on your Yelp profile or website. Some users may not even make it to your website, as it’s an extra step.

Use Detailed Business Info

Aside from adding photos, make sure you add detailed business information. Users want to know things like how much they’re likely to spend. Sometimes Yelp’s dollar sign price range doesn’t paint the clearest picture. To this end, you can differentiate your restaurant by telling people if you:

  • have gluten-free menu options
  • provide wi-fi
  • accept mobile payments
  • provide bicycle parking
  • have provide customer parking

And so forth. The more detail you provide, the better informed your users will be to make a decision. Remember, we live in an age where people expect individualized experiences. Don’t let a generalized profile be the reason Yelp users visit your competitors.