Is Yelp Worth it?

This post is not about Yelp’s crazy filtering process, yelling about how they filter out perfectly legitimate reviews.  This article is not about how Yelp’s sales reps will continue to call you until you advertise with them.  This is about the question Is Yelp Worth it? If it is worth it, when should one pay for Yelp?

What is Yelp?

Yelp is probably the top peer review website around.  You can find practically any service anywhere and read peoples experiences using them. Yelp  offers an advertising service that will basically enhance your Yelp presence without altering reviews for you.

In this case, the widget they are paying for works against them, leading to reduction in sales and inquiries with the same amount of traffic.  Literally, the client was paying for less sales

What do you get when you pay Yelp?

  • “Enhanced Listing” Meaning you will show up with a different background color to stand out as well as show up on pages of reviews for similar company’s.
  • On page widget, meaning on your website
  • Guaranteed clicks, depending on how much you are willing to spend (this is on Yelp not on Google)
  • Add images and deals to your Yelp page
  • View stats on how your Yelp page is doing

Is Yelp Worth it?

Let’s take a look at what you will be getting and my client’s experience using it.

Let’s start with the clicks you are paying for and the enhanced listing. The way they do this is through showing your ad on other Yelp reviews that are similar product offering and location.  When I investigated the type of clicks the client was getting I found the relevance was so far off, the clicks were borderline inappropriate.  This is what happens if your field does not get enough clicks and Yelp is not able to get you the clicks they committed to…. You get clicks that are worthless.

Example: I found my client’s ad showing up on a plumbers site… and no, my client was not a Plummer.  This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and with this trick, Yelp is not worth it.

Next is the on page widget.  This is designed to show visitors how many 5 star reviews you have in real time.  This seems like a great idea, but what good is the widget if Yelp continually filters out five star legitimate reviews.

Example: I have actually seen clients go from fifteen 5 star reviews (with a least the same amount filtered out), to three 5 star reviews.  In this case, the widget they are paying for works against them, leading to reduction in sales and inquiries with the same amount of site traffic.  Literally, the client was paying for fewer sales.  Is Yelp worth it… not in this case.

Finally, there is no way to know if a referral from Yelp had anything to do with a paid click or just an organic search. “What is a Yelp advertising click and what is a regular yelp search click?”  This was my question and I never got a good answer.  What this means is in the analytics, I could not tell if Yelp ads were driving traffic or was it simply people searching for the service, finding the review and clicking on the URL on the Yelp review page.

When should I use Yelp?

  • You have a lot of 5 star reviews… I would start at 20
  • You live in a competitive area
  • Your offering is in a competitive area, meaning that your service or product is searched alot
  • Your website will really use the widget to its maximum potential
  • When you are actively seeking out reviews from real customers and clients.

Yelp is an awesome resource to large and small companies.  You should embrace the fact that they will be around and figure out how to best use them for your online company.  Is Yelp worth it?  This depends on your company, but know that for many small companies you will be throwing your money away.

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