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Yelp for Business Owners review

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Its free features are functional but paid advertising is costly — and poorly reviewed.

Yelp for Business Owners has plenty to offer merchants who want to manage their Yelp listing for free. But its paid features may not be worth the investment. Here’s why.

What is Yelp for Business Owners?

Yelp for Business Owners is an online platform merchants can use to manage their Yelp business listing. It offers free and paid tools that can be used to increase search visibility and streamline business-to-customer communications.

It’s free to sign up and merchants can pick and choose which paid features they’d like to try. Features are available month-to-month and can be canceled at any time.

What features does Yelp for Business Owners offer?

There are plenty of ways to augment your Yelp business listing:

Manage your listing

When you sign up for Yelp, you’ll be offered the opportunity to claim your business, respond to reviews, verify your location, report abusive comments and display Yelp approved branding.

Paid Page Upgrades

Bundle paid page upgrades into a single monthly payment or add features à la carte to your Yelp business profile. Features include adding a call-to-action button, hiding competitor ads, creating slideshows and highlighting your business’ features with Yelp’s pool of 30+ page highlight badges.

Yelp Connect

Customize your listing with a newsfeed and create your own posts to promote events, discounts or special offers. Yelp promotes your posts to local followers and adds customers who interact with your page to help you connect with the right audience.

Yelp Ads

Create a Yelp ad campaign for targeted ads that appear at the top of relevant search results and on your competitors’ business pages. You only pay for clicks received and can set a monthly budget to control what you spend.

Can I remove negative reviews from my listing?

It depends. While Yelp encourages business owners to report reviews that violate its Content Guidelines, it states that reporting a review doesn’t guarantee its removal.

Yelp’s three primary Content Guideline violations include:

  1. Conflict of interest. Reviews from current or former employees or competing businesses could qualify as a conflict of interest.
  2. Not a personal consumer experience. Yelp reviews must reflect a first-person consumer experience, so reviews describing someone else’s experience or targeting the wrong business may be removed.
  3. Inappropriate material. Reviews that include threats, hate speech, crude or offensive statements violate Yelp’s Content Guidelines.

How much does it cost?

FeatureCostIncluded
Free listing
  • Free
  • Claim your business
  • Verify address
  • Respond to reviews
  • Request-A-Quote
  • Check-In Offers
  • Yelp branding
  • Report abusive content
Page upgrades
  • $2/day
  • $1/day
  • $2/day
  • $2/day
  • Add listing highlights
  • Edit listing slideshow photos
  • Hide competitor ads
  • Add a call-to-action button
Page upgrades bundle
  • $4/day
  • All four page upgrades
Yelp Connect
  • $99/month
  • Create posts, customize your listing’s newsfeed and connect with potential customers.
Yelp Ads
  • $150–$750/month
  • Create targeted ads that appear in relevant Yelp search results. Set your monthly budget and only pay for the clicks you receive.

Are Yelp ads worth it?

It depends. Yelp ads have the potential to increase your page views and customer engagement, but the efficacy of the Yelp ads depends on the size of your business.

A 2017 study conducted by a pair of assistant professors out of Harvard Business School and Lehigh University investigated the effects of Yelp ads on almost 20,000 restaurants and 24 million advertising exposures in Yelp.

They discovered that restaurants that ran ads saw a 24.6% increase in page views, a 5% increase in customer reviews and a 13% increase in restaurant calls. Ads were most profitable for smaller businesses with less brand awareness. Big businesses also benefited but only when targeting keywords their consumers didn’t typically associate with their brands.

The downside? The study found that there were few long-term residual effects from the ads — when the ads stopped, so did the increased customer engagement.

For small businesses looking to spread the word about their product or service, Yelp ads may boost visibility and engagement. But investing in Yelp ads long-term could be an expensive endeavor.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Free features. Simply creating a Yelp business account comes with an array of helpful free features.
  • No cancellation fee. All of Yelp’s paid features are available month-to-month with no cancellation fee for quitting the service.
  • Control what you spend. Yelp Ads allow you to set a monthly maximum so you can stay on budget.

Cons

  • Expensive. While Yelp offers a number of free features, its premium amenities come at a cost. Yelp Ads start at $150 monthly and a number of merchant reviews suggest prices of at least $20 per click.
  • Lack of control. You can set a listing photo and specify your business’ special features but you won’t be able to set keywords or location controls for the ads you pay for.
  • Poorly reviewed. Yelp has a disappointing reputation on TrustPilot with many of its merchant features receiving poor reviews from business owners.

Yelp reviews and complaints

As of October 2020, Yelp has a TrustScore of 1.5 out of 5 based on 2,061 reviews — a worrisome track record. A majority of business owner complaints are about Yelp Ads, with many criticizing high prices and meager results. A number of reviews cite high cost-per-click prices and ongoing billing issues after the Yelp Ad service has been canceled.

How do I contact Yelp if I’m a business owner?

You can get in touch with Yelp customer support in the following ways:

  • Phone. Call 877-767-9357 weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., and weekends from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., EST.
  • Email. Send an email to customersuccess@yelp.com for a response from Yelp support within one business day.

Bottom line

Yelp for Business Owners offers a number of free features for merchants looking to manage their Yelp business listing. But paid services, like Yelp Ads, are poorly reviewed and costly.

Review your business marketing options with additional providers to find the service that fits your business needs.

Frequently asked questions

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