Okay, hear me out here.
If you’re a business owner and you hate Yelp, you’re in good company. Their sales staff has the rabid tenacity of a pit bull on bath salts. Their rules for filtering reviews make less sense than the worst permit department imaginable. Oh, and their CEO is, well, charming.
But even if businesses hate Yelp, it’s hard to ignore how much customers love it. After all, the platform is up to 127 million reviews and it isn’t done yet.
If you’re late to the Yelp game, there are plenty of good (and bad) ways you can try getting more reviews. One way you probably haven’t considered, however, is putting a link to your Yelp profile in your email signature.
It may sound like a horrible idea, but think again. Here’s why:
Your Customers Never Have To Hunt Around For Your Profile
If you run a service area business, your customers may not always know where your business is headquartered. That can make it much harder for them to find you on Yelp, especially if you don’t have a lot of reviews.
But your customers can always find your Yelp page through your website, right? That is, unless your website is hard to find too. Maybe you weren’t able to get the exact domain you wanted and had to use a .net address, maybe a cheap SEO company ruined your rankings, or maybe you don’t even have a website. Either way, putting that link in your email signature makes it a nonissue.
It’s Easier than Asking For Reviews
Sending your customers a link to your Yelp profile at the end of every job is a pain in the butt. Asking for a review without linking them directly to your Yelp page is a great way to not get a review.
Every time you send an email, you give your customer another easy opportunity to leave a review, without being too pushy. It’s just that simple.
One Bad Review Isn’t Going to Kill You
We have a saying around the office: “10% of everyone is crazy.”
If you’ve ever gotten a terrible, unreasonable review from a customer who doesn’t make much sense and can’t be pleased, you’re not alone. Pretty much everyone has gotten a review like that. That’s the point.
If you get nine good reviews and one bad review that says you replaced their water heater with an evil cylindrical alien from the planet Galifianakis who is telepathically working with dolphins to destroy the Belgian economy, don’t sweat it. If a potential customer can’t tell that they’re reading a crazy person’s rant, you probably don’t want them as a customer either.
If you get a bad review that’s a little more reasonable than that, you can always reach out to the customer and try to make things right. If you said one price and they heard another, split the difference and ask if they’ll update their review.
Potential customers want to see how you’ve treated past customers, especially when they weren’t satisfied. Think of it as an opportunity to show how you really do business.
If You Do Good Work, Your Reviews Should Reflect That
If you do right by your customers and don’t play games with pricing, appointment times, and the quality of your work, then your reviews will naturally reflect that over time. You just have to make sure your good customers can find your Yelp page in the first place.
For SEO, Review Quantity Beats Review Quality
Customers would generally pick a company with a few great reviews over a lot of mediocre ones, but Google is a different story.
If you search for a plumber in a big city, there’s a good chance you’ll find one huge company that’s dominating the competition. If you search for that company’s Yelp page, there’s also a great chance you’ll find that they have a ton of Yelp reviews that average 3 stars or lower.
This is not a coincidence.
Google is built to take whatever information they can find about a company, weight it by how much they can trust it, and factor that into their search results. Google typically trusts reviews on Yelp, Facebook, and other sites more than it trusts the information it finds on a company’s own website, because it’s harder for the company to manipulate that information. Since they can trust an okay review just as much as they can trust a good review, it’s the total number of reviews, not the overall average, that seems to play a bigger role in SEO.
That being said, it’s sometimes hard to tell which factors influence better rankings, and which factors are because of better rankings. After all, top-ranking companies should naturally attract more customers, and therefore more reviews.
But even then, reviews (or more specifically, reviews on Google local listings) are more strongly correlated with high rankings on Google local listings than any other factor. So just get some more of them, okay?