Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

Do Yelp Reviews Help?

Positive Yelp reviews can help your small business.Do Yelp business reviews really help?

We’re all pretty aware that bad reviews online hurt. But do good ones really help? And is the risk of a bad review worth encouraging customers to write reviews?

We’ll try to answer those questions here.

Yelp is perhaps the most prominent online review site, so we’ll be focusing on that here. Understand that most of what follows is generalizable to other review sites as well. Don’t dismiss the value of reviews at  Google My Business, Facebook, SuperPages, Merchant Circle, EZlocal and more.

People trust online reviews

The first thing to understand is that, as Search Engine Land has found, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from family and friends. Positive reviews do drive business your way.

What about bad reviews?

Oops! I got a bad Yelp review. Now what?Obviously, that’s a double-edged sword because bad reviews can hurt. But good reviews can help a lot, so is it worth ricking an occasional bad review by asking customers to review you? Absolutely! For one thing, if all your reviews are 5-star reviews, people may view them with some suspicion. But if you’ve got one or two mediocre reviews, they lend credibility to your good ones. Beyond that, there are ways to turn a bad review into positive feelings about your company. We explain in a post entitled How to Handle Bad Online Reviews.

Do good reviews help enough?

Well, that was answered in a recent study at Harvard, which found that a one-star bump in your Yelp reviews yields a big revenue boost. The study was of restaurants, but applies generally to other businesses as well.

And there’s even more good news about Yelp customer reviews.

The benefit of good Yelp business reviews helps small individual businesses but doesn’t make much difference for chains. In the case of restaurants, an improvement in Yelp business reviews helped independent restaurants but made little or no difference to chains like Subway or Applebee’s.

Most small businesses struggle to compete with larger competitors. It’s good to know that Yelp reviews can help level the playing field. Online customer reviews are valuable, but we now have evidence of  the impact Yelp reviews, in particular, can have on your small business.

Need help getting positive online reviews from your customers? We have a program to help you do exactly that. Call us to find out how that works.

We value your perspective. Tell us about your own experience with Yelp reviews in the comments below.

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