More threads by mattstephenskc

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This is two questions in one, but the itch I'm scratching with both is the same. First, I'll repeat the question so I don't bury the lede: Just how important are Yelp reviews for local SEO and brand reputation? In my particular case, I'm interested in their importance for professional service businesses, like law firms.

The reason I'm asking is, Yelp makes it nigh impossible to solicit (and show) reviews from clients. To have even a chance of increasing our (approved) positive reviews even a smidge requires a fair amount of effort. With limited time and budget, I'm just trying to decide if encouraging clients to leave Yelp reviews is at all worth the time, space, etc. Nearly all the reviews for all five of our Yelp profiles are hidden (have been for years). It seems like the ROI is close to zero, so why bother?

I only question this because of iPhones' ubiquity and Apple Maps' reliance on Yelp for reviews. I'm sure Yelp will be less relevant once Apple gets its native rating system working robustly enough to ditch Yelp. But Yelp remains a player in the game.

What do you all think? Is there enough available data to roughly quantify Yelp reviews' significance for businesses like ours?

Thanks in advance.
 
I have found that very same issue. A business I manage has 589 yelp reviews with an additional 649 hidden reviews. The business is seasonal so this exacerbates the problem by receiving nearly all reviews into a few month season. (screenshots to illustrate) However as you said over the past few years the yelp reviews are more and more relevant with their deals and relationships with Bing search, and amazon Alexa devices display yelp results when every you prompt them for "ice cream near me" or "phone repair near me" this could even become more relevant in the future with the integration of smart services into electric car operating systems and infotainment integrations to locate services near the vehicle. Lastly if you type into a incognito browser "top lawyers 'city name'" you will see Yelp is now quite often the first result below any paid advertising. Many other times a "top lawyers of 'city name'" is the top article due to yelps massive backlink and ranking ability. For any clients I have had paid accounts on Yelp I have found they miraculously make it into these articles. Yelp claims upgrading the account has no impact on this feature, however I am 4 for 4 with this hypothesis in personal experience. (Screenshots included to illustrate my point.) On the devils advocate side of this discussion, for any google analytics account I have had access to it has been my experience that Yelp will never be the lions share of referring traffic to the site. A service such as accountant or lawyer will certainly benefit more from 10 positive google reviews over the life of their existence vs 10 yelp reviews. I am not certain what your experience has been but I have never had a google review 'hidden' or 'not recommended' on a Google business profile. Google also has significantly higher daily search volume for any given term than Yelp.
So in conclusion to this highly personal and completely irrelevant rant I believe search and seo require a wholistic approach and no pillar should be left weak if it can be strengthened. But a man with limited ammunition should aim for the bulk of the pack not strays if he wants to eat.

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Screenshot 2024-04-11 165756.jpg
 
I have found that very same issue. A business I manage has 589 yelp reviews with an additional 649 hidden reviews. The business is seasonal so this exacerbates the problem by receiving nearly all reviews into a few month season. (screenshots to illustrate) However as you said over the past few years the yelp reviews are more and more relevant with their deals and relationships with Bing search, and amazon Alexa devices display yelp results when every you prompt them for "ice cream near me" or "phone repair near me" this could even become more relevant in the future with the integration of smart services into electric car operating systems and infotainment integrations to locate services near the vehicle. Lastly if you type into a incognito browser "top lawyers 'city name'" you will see Yelp is now quite often the first result below any paid advertising. Many other times a "top lawyers of 'city name'" is the top article due to yelps massive backlink and ranking ability. For any clients I have had paid accounts on Yelp I have found they miraculously make it into these articles. Yelp claims upgrading the account has no impact on this feature, however I am 4 for 4 with this hypothesis in personal experience. (Screenshots included to illustrate my point.) On the devils advocate side of this discussion, for any google analytics account I have had access to it has been my experience that Yelp will never be the lions share of referring traffic to the site. A service such as accountant or lawyer will certainly benefit more from 10 positive google reviews over the life of their existence vs 10 yelp reviews. I am not certain what your experience has been but I have never had a google review 'hidden' or 'not recommended' on a Google business profile. Google also has significantly higher daily search volume for any given term than Yelp.
So in conclusion to this highly personal and completely irrelevant rant I believe search and seo require a wholistic approach and no pillar should be left weak if it can be strengthened. But a man with limited ammunition should aim for the bulk of the pack not strays if he wants to eat.

Screenshot 2024-04-11 170052.png


Screenshot 2024-04-11 170107.jpg


Screenshot 2024-04-11 165756.jpg

I appreciate the thoughtful response. We’ve just barely cracked the surface with Yelp despite some of our offices being around for 20 years. None of them have even 10 (visible) reviews. Some have 0. People rarely leave positive reviews for attorneys/law firms unprompted. You always get the crazy, disgruntled ones with unreasonable expectations (despite your best efforts to set those expectations from the start) or who just can’t tolerate being told, “No.” They can be cruel and punishing. Sometimes they’re not even clients—they just called and demanded we book them a consultation with an attorney, immediately and pro bono, but we don’t handle their type of matter, are very busy helping existing clients, and can’t run a profitable/viable business giving away our services for free. (Yes, we’d be swamped with free consultations if we offered them liberally.) It’s maddening that platforms like Yelp empower trolls to unjustifiably trash a business’ reputation while hamstringing that business’ efforts to efficiently encourage a proportionate number of positive reviews.

So, I’m angry at Yelp. I’m not giving them any of our money, and I’m not spending any more time or energy than necessary on their platform that’s so heavily biased against us. If they were a dominant player—capturing 10% or more of the search traffic—then I’d be more inclined to pay the piper. I’d like to see a comparison of Yelp’s and Google’s review visibility for our keywords and markets, but haven’t figured out how to find or produce one.
 
Maybe this is a unique situation to law firms (at least small to medium sized ones), but I’m surprised Yelp has gotten so little critical attention on this and similar forums. All I can find are people spouting common knowledge and general wisdom, which don’t really address my particular circumstances and concerns.
 

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