Hey there, business owner! Today you’re going to learn how to optimize your Yelp business page to improve your Yelp rankings in just 5 easy steps. This will help you get on the first page of Yelp. Yes, even Yelp has their own ranking algorithm, and you can do a bit of “Yelp SEO” by playing with some of their ranking factors. So here’s how you can take advantage of it and come up higher to the top when people search for businesses like yours in your area.
Before you start ranking your business on Yelp, you need to make sure you have a claimed business page already. We’re assuming you do since you didn’t land here looking to create a page.. you landed here looking to improve its rankings. SO If you do, YAY! Log in here: https://biz.yelp.com/login If not, go set one up here: https://biz.yelp.com/
Three takeaways before you start optimizing your Yelp page are:
- You should already have a consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) listed here and across your other local citation properties
- You should already have some reviews (if not, work on getting more!)
- Your profile should be fully filled out with a profile photo and everything.
Now we can get started!
5 Steps To Rank Higher on Yelp (for Free)
1. Find your keywords + locations
Put together a list of valuable service keywords and locations that you want to come up for in Yelp. For example, if you’re a roofer near Seattle, you’ll want to come up for things like “roof repair” when people are searching in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellevue, etc
2. Optimize your business description
Sprinkle in your keywords and variations of your keywords in your business description. Following the example above, we would add phrases like “for roof repairs in Tacoma, XYZ company is the place to call..” etc etc. Review your competitor’s business descriptions who are already ranking highly, and see how lengthy their content is. In this context, emulation without exact imitation will help you succeed!
3. Optimize your specialty section
This is where you get to add all of your specific services & products! List every service and product you provide here. The ones that are most important to you should be listed first.
4. Fill out all of your service cities
Many business owners don’t realize there is more than one location option in your Yelp settings. You can add multiple service cities! Be sureness to add the closest neighborhoods that you want to rank for in addition to your main city.
5. Ask for service-specific Yelp reviews
When discussing Yelp with your customers, be sure to request that any reviews specify WHAT was done WHERE. This will automatically result in reviews with keywords for your services and locations!
That’s it! Once you have your Yelp page set up, all it takes are these 5 simple steps to optimize your profile and rank higher in Yelp.
What should your ongoing Yelp SEO Strategy be?
Once you’ve got the basic optimization down, there are still a few things you should do on a regular basis.
Upload keyword-friendly pictures regularly.
Make sure you’re keeping your business page updated with regular photo uploads of all of your products and services. The key here is to make sure the photo files have a keyword friendly name, rather than something generic like IMG_012.png. A better name would be “tile-roofing-seattle-home.png” which allows you to target both the keyword and the area again.
Do what you can to unlock “hidden” reviews.
Sometimes, a person’s glowing, optimization-friendly review will be hidden if they don’t have an active enough profile or Yelp thinks anything else about it looks fishy. Interact with this person, add them as a Yelp friend, or send them a message thanking them for their review and possibly encouraging them to review your other favorite local businesses. This will make their profile more active, increasing the likelihood that Yelp will unlock their review.
Respond to reviews regularly.
As for the other Yelp reviews that come through just fine on your business profile, be sure to respond to them when appropriate – especially if they’re negative. Don’t forget that you can use keywords in your responses, too.. for example “Thank you for the kind words John, we really appreciated being able to help you with your roof!”
Stay on top of your response times.
Although not confirmed, it’s likely that business message response times are part of Yelp’s ranking algorithm. Either way, if you show up *near* the top of Yelp results but not *at* the top, and you have a quick response time indicator while other businesses don’t, you’re likely to get that additional lead anyways!
Create a Yelp deal
If there is a specific service you really want to push, try creating a Yelp deal for your page. This might help you rank higher for that service, and in the long run may earn you more reviews for that service which we already know is helpful. 🙂
Why is Yelp important for small businesses anyways?
Not sure if improving your Yelp page’s rankings is even worth it? When you consider that most people are influenced by social proof (reviews), prefer to receive recommendations from friends, and mobile search is finally taking over desktop search, it’s easy to see that Yelp is a must-have for any small business. Whether you love or hate it, for now it’s here to stay!
Check Out Our Yelp SEO Slideshare Presentation
Questions about Yelp SEO? Concerns? Success stories? Let us know in the comments!