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Should I pay for Yelp 2


In this week's episode, we discuss one of the most common questions we hear from business owners,

"Should I pay for Yelp? 

Our answers may surprise you!

Jaime:  All right, Adam, here we go. Another episode of local SEO intent. Woo. I'm ready. I'm ready. All right. Boy, do we have a good topic for you this week?

Adam:  Oh wait, you're deciding the topics now. Okay.

Jaime:  Yes. All right. Well, because you're the expert and boy, this week, last three weeks, the Yelp calls to advertise on Yelp have just skyrocketed. So every business owner I talked to is just like, what the heck is going on? And why in the world is Yelp bombarding us with requests, demands, threats to advertise with them?

Adam:  Well, that's a, that's how they make money first. Of course, you know that, right? They only

Jaime:  Bombard my customers like that anyway. Go ahead.

Adam:  Well, did you also, I mean, I know we've gotten calls from clients saying they have seen a big drop in leads through their organic Yelp presence for sure. And that has because a, actually Yelp looks like anyway, they, they changed their layout. It used to be that they would include more organic results in that first page on the desktop, especially. But now they are filling that up with sponsored results. So businesses that pay for ads. And so if you're in a competitive industry many times now you're having to go to the second page for businesses with organically great Yelp profiles. So that has definitely affected the businesses that don't pay for Yelp.

Jaime:  Well then I guess that begs the question, does it make sense to pay for Yelp advertising?

Adam:  That's a great question. And that's what I've wanted to get into. So this is something that, that's a question we always hear from new clients is should I pay for y'all? And that is a great question. We'll try and go through it right now. So does it make sense for you? So if you answer yes to, if you're in a competitive, hyper competitive market, so you're in a, in a bigger city, you're a lawyer, you're an electrician, a solar company, home services, restaurants, even those businesses tend to advertise on Yelp heavily. And so as a, if you're in one of those, yeah, we probably, you should think about seriously considering paying for Yelp advertisements. Now, if you're just starting out though, so if you have another business and you're just starting out, you know, you're going to create your Yelp page, and then within how many minutes, 10 minutes, they're going to call you and say, Hey, thanks for creating your profile. Now let's let's get busy advertising. What do you think, Jamie?

Jaime:  Oh, yeah, it's it is crazy. You know an exam here. Exactly right. You know, if do a search for, let's just say electrician with Yelp only the first, the first entire first page is nothing but sponsored results. So if I'm a Yelp user, I'm like, what? That, why would I review a business if they're only gonna have sponsored results?

Adam:  Yeah. So this is we're definitely never going to fix Yelp's business plan. All the complaining in the world and asking their reps, Hey, why do you guys do this? Or why don't you do this? Or, I know I've, I've tried and I know, I think you've tried to it's nothing that they will change from.

Jaime:  It's like talking to my teenager. He never gets a good answer. You can ask the great, the greatest question, but you'll never get a good answer. Okay.

Adam:  Why don't you get up earlier? There would be so much easier. Nope, not going to happen. So if you're just starting out, you're in a business. What we recommend is get reviews first. So Yelp, before you start paying for any kind of Yelp or thinking about paying Yelp get as many reviews for your business as you can. So think about it. If you ask, Hey your Yelp rep but I don't have any reviews, their answer is going to be always lead back to pay us and you'll get more customers calling you and you'll get more reviews that way. I, in practice, I don't think that really matters. That really works. People choose a business to do business with. By that, you know, their star, how, how they rate. And if you only have one review and your competitor has, you know, 85 who, who's gonna risk going with you? So you have to build up your online reputation. You have to have some kind of a review system in place that will generate or actually reach out to your customers either face to face or online. Any way that you can get reviews, it's always going to be worth it anyway. Okay.

Jaime:  Yeah, yeah. It's a, it's a, it's hard as a business owner, but you know, what I relate it back to is, you know, I know there's businesses out there that spend thousands of dollars on you know, on Google ads and then they get upset about how much it is with a Yelp.

Adam:  Yeah. It's, it's interesting if, if you're, so if you have to imagine if I'm using that Yelp app, but people who are using it, their age range, you have to think about that. You know, is it your grandma looking if you have a, if you're, you know, an estate planning attorney or something like that advertising on Yelp, it could make sense. It depends on your demographic and it depends on your, you know, how much you, you're budgeting for that marketing. We kind of we kind of push our clients to really consider Google ads just cause the reach is far superior to Yelp. People, you know, the numbers using Google is just worse. Yelp, however Yelp is is definitely part of your online reputation strategy. So one other thing we wanted to get to. So you shouldn't be paying if you don't have any reviews and if you don't want more customers so you're already satisfied so you haven't, your business is growing, you know, you have a comfortable amount of customer finding you different ways, so they're kept finding you through Google or through your social presence.

Adam:  So Facebook or Instagram or something like that, then don't, you don't have to pay for Yelp. Now what this does kind of what I also wanted to mention is as Google grows and as they have grown to make sure that, so Google results or Google or the Google results are all about keeping you on Google. So the more you stay on Google, Google knows that eventually you're going to click on one of their ads. So that's why you have the you have Google ads at the top, you probably have Google home services at the top if you're looking for an some kind of home service. And so it goes Google home services, then ads, and then you have the map three pack. And then under that, if that those results weren't good enough for you, Google has the organic listings.

Adam:  It used to be that Google would also include you know, one of Yelp's one, a few businesses that hooked directly into their Yelp page. So listings for a, your Yelp page basically. Now Google has taken that away for most most competitive industries and they just have a Yelp listing of, you know, top 10 businesses in that sector. So that has definitely had an effect on Yelp's incoming links or incoming clicks through Google. So Yelp has to fight back. And how they do that is definitely with that the search their search results turning into more and more sponsored results cause they need, they need to maximize those that those ad dollars. So it's interesting to see this kind of battle behind the scenes that they're both doing and who will win. I don't know. But in the meantime, yeah, businesses like ours and are my clients, they gotta they gotta be flexible.

Adam:  They've gotta decide if this is worth it for them. Well, it sounds like they have to plan on doing both. And it's just the way that if you're in a highly competitive industry you gotta think about doing it. One thing you want to remember is that if you're a service area business, you're gonna have, when you advertise on Yelp, you're going to have a 10 15 or 25 mile radius around your business, around that area. You won't be able to choose your keywords, which you can with Google. So you'll be able to teach, choose, you know, your industry, your category, and that's when your ad will come up. If you're a business with a brick and mortar, you'll have a five, 10 and 15 mile radius around you. So if you're a franchisee, that might be something you should think about because if you have another franchisee who's closer or within those radiuses or ADI, then you might want to think about how far out you're going to be advertising. So it is weird that they don't let you do keywords yet eventually, I can't see a Yelp succeeding without having adding keywords.

Adam:  Makes sense.

Jaime:  It does. And I think that's a really good, really good advice for all the small business owners out there.

Adam:  Yeah, I agree. Well, this is, I know for my business and for for your business. Should I pay for Yelp? This is a, it's a good, it's a good, good question to ask and you have to look at your market and then you have to see what your competitors are doing. You have to get reviews, reviews, reviews, because if you don't, no matter how much you spend, you're still gonna lose out to the, you know, your competitors who have a lot more reviews than you. So that's, that's a, that's big. So get reviews, get reviews listen to a podcast we did previously on how to get reviews. And as we find out more ideas that work, we'll definitely let our listeners know.

Jaime:  All right, well that sounds great. A good point to wrap it up at

Adam:  All right. Thank you very much everybody.

Jaime:  All right, well, make sure to rate and review if you know any small business owners that would benefit from this, make sure to share this out to them. But it's really important to review us on wherever you are listening to this podcast and we really appreciate it. People, we can get out there. The more people we help.

Adam:  That's all right. All right. Thanks a lot, Jamie.