I get online and search for reviews for almost everything I think about spending money or time on; whether that is a new TV, a new car, a video game, a doctor, or simply trying a new restaurant. I want to know what other people think about these things before I use my hard earned money on something that has a 50-50 chance of being a bad decision.
The website has long been the forefront of online reviews for businesses, restaurants, and services. Having been around since 2004, Yelp has accumulated quite the collection of reviews and the reputation of being the “go-to” for opinions that go along with them.
From a marketing standpoint, here are the main reasons why Yelp reviews are still relevant:
1. Yelp gets around 86 million monthly visitors and showcases 36 million reviews (and counting), and those numbers don’t show any sign of slowing down.
2. Yelp reviews show up in search engines. Whether your customers love you to death or are eager to air your dirty laundry, your Yelp rating will get indexed by Google and may catch the eye of a prospective customer before some of your own content.
3. Yelp has helped pioneer the “consumer generated” movement, meaning consumers have the power to share their opinion in a highly trafficked public forum. If that doesn’t inspire the desire to provide excellent customer service, I don’t know what will.
Yelp tries to keep the reviews honest by not allowing paying advertisers or companies to delete, revise, or even reorder reviews about their brand, which may or may not influence the public’s impression of them.
This policy of not letting the businesses to edit or remove reviews is no doubt consumer-centric and business owners can find themselves in the uncomfortable position of having to defend against reviews that they don’t consider fair or accurate. This fact alone makes Yelp relevant and important for businesses to acknowledge as part of their digital marketing mix and online reputation management.
Between its accessibility, consumer voice, and search engine influence, Yelp will remain relevant for some time to come.