Last week I met with a client who runs a non-profit organization that feeds the needy here in the Bay Area. The client mentioned in passing that she was approached by Yelp to “help” her advertise for a significant monthly payment. In researching the “money” keyword for this organization I noticed that Yelp completely owned the SERP above the fold.
I’ve also been noticing Yelp pages taking position one in the SERPs of a lot of business verticals. In addition to that, the non-Yelp websites that are advancing seem to be the ones that have Yelp reviews of the business.
It certainly seems that Google has recently handed over a lot of SERPs to Yelp. That gives Yelp a huge amount of leverage with which to market their services to businesses that they now outrank, or push down below the fold (as in the case of my client).
Small businesses should be thinking about 1) completing their Yelp profile, 2) asking clients to post favorable reviews and 3) those with poor reviews need to start responding to those in a positive and constructive way, and brainstorming ideas on how to improve the aspects of their business that are generating the poor reviews.
Whether Google is getting some kind of kickback by boosting Yelp in their search engine rankings is hard to say. It’s not the kind of information that is available to me, nor could I do anything about it if it were. However unfair, unethical, or downright evil Yelp may be, the reality is you are compelled to play ball, or at least address the 3 items I listed previously.