The Truth About Yelp – Why It’s Marketing And Not SEO

The Truth About Yelp - Why It's Marketing And Not SEO

Are you confused about Yelp?

If so, you’re in the right place! Hurrah!

We’ll be explaining what Yelp is and how it’s useful.

No…you’re unexcited by this.

But seriously. Yelp is a thing.

In fact, if it’s not already, Yelp should be part of your marketing plan. 

Needing help with Yelp isn’t uncommon, and we want to clear things up. Like a helpful crime scene cleaner. 

It can be slightly confusing knowing whether to incorporate Yelp into your business plan, and we’re here to spill the proverbial tea. 

Yelp can be your best friend, or your worst enemy, depending on how you use and interact with it. 

Before we jump into the online etiquette involved with review sites, let’s start with the basics…

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Help! What Is Yelp?

Quite simply, Yelp is a review service for services and products. 

Doctors, dentists, bars, restaurants, beauty salons, shops, cinemas; you name it, and there’s a Yelp review for it.

No business is above Yelp, and nor should it be. It’s a place for customers to make suggestions and give feedback. 

Customers can leave a review out of 5 stars and a (hopefully helpful) comment to go alongside. 

It might seem like a simple reviewing service, but it’s also the perfect place to find potential improvements and recommendations for your service. 

Although Yelp started in the USA, it’s now worldwide across many countries – including the United Kingdom. 

Yelp for business is a way for you to access your reviews, respond accordingly, and engage with your online community. 

Beware if you’re new to online reviews; not everyone leaves a particularly positive or even helpful review.

For every helpful review, you’ll be labored with commentless reviews giving you no real information about why the person enjoyed (or didn’t) your service. 

Yelp isn’t the be all and end all, however it does have a bearing on your E-A-T (expertise, authority and trustworthiness).  

Poor reviews might seem negative, but ultimately they’re the greatest form of feedback to enact on and improve. 

Yelp: SEO Or Marketing? 

Yelp: SEO Or Marketing? 

To the untrained eye, there may seem like a lot of overlap between SEO and marketing, however they’re quite different. 

Marketing revolves around the active process of advertising and producing content like videos to influence people to purchase your service/product. 

Digital marketing strategies involve influencing audiences through media forms, an example being the ads that appear before Youtube videos. 

On the other hand, SEO is about increasing your rankings on search engines like Google and Bing. 

When someone searches for a topic via Google. The SEO element would be how high the service is listed on the page. (The golden ranking being 1st place at the very top of Google.)

SEO involves a production of content geared towards pleasing search engine algorithms to increase the reach of your site. 

The advantage of SEO is that the content reaches a much more specialized audience due to the results being based on search queries.

Digital marketing is a more unsubtle form of marketing which may reach a wide audience, but it isn’t geared to reaching your perfect customer. 

Good digital marketing should be based on a well thought out marketing plan, and Yelp should be part of this. 

Yelp doesn’t really influence your SEO and vice versa, so we would recommend including it as part of a thought-out marketing plan. 

This doesn’t mean that your SEO and marketing plans shouldn’t align, however it’s best to make sure the strategy you’re using for marketing aligns with Yelp. 

What If I Receive A Bad Review? 

What If I Receive A Bad Review? 

Bad reviews happen, and that’s ok. 

It might seem like the end of the world but it definitely isn’t. 

Usually these reviews include a comment that can help your business head in the right direction. 

Stop. Think. Review. Reframe. 

If you do receive a low rating, the best thing to do is step away from your screen, stop screaming, and reframe how you think about feedback. 

A bad review isn’t usually intended to slander your business, these reviews should be looked at as hints for improvement. 

If multiple people are commenting on the same thing then maybe it is time for a change. 

Trust us, you don’t need to rely on these reviews wholeheartedly.

Yelp reviews should be a guide but shouldn’t dictate everything that you do, for example don’t change your carpets just because Frederica (aged 47) is offended by the colour green.

As a side note, it’s important to be able to recognize a fake review. However, it’s very rare you would receive a fake negative review on Yelp. 

On the other hand, good reviews can also provide feedback on how to keep your business running in a positive way. 

Positive reviews are great exposure for your site, showing the business to be trustworthy and to have a good reputation. 

Can I Pay For Reviews? 

Can I Pay For Reviews? 

You can pay for reviews, but you really shouldn’t!

Paying for fake reviews isn’t only a black hat SEO tactic, they are extremely damaging to your SEO, search rankings and your online presence in general. 

For customers, fake reviews are off putting and are a red flag for businesses that should be avoided.

Aside from the damage that these reviews will do, if you’re doing everything right you won’t need to pay for reviews. 

Reviews should naturally roll in by sticking to good business practices and managing to uphold professional standards.

On top of this you can prompt customers to leave feedback after they’ve used your service to promote more reviews. 

If you’re following these tips you’ll have enough reviews to keep you going. 

If you’re having a dry spell in terms of Yelp reviews, it can be tempting to seek out purchasing fake reviews or a service which provides this. 

Don’t be tempted! If it seems too good to be true, it’s because it usually is. 

This is a black hat tactic and search engines won’t take kindly to it. 

Using black hat tactics is a surefire way to have your website penalized by Search Engines like Google or Bing.

At first these fake reviews will go under the radar, however, after a while Google (or Bing) will pick up on these and will take action. 

Losing these fake reviews is the least of your worries, Google will punish your rankings for adopting black hat tactics and will undo a lot of your SEO that you’ve worked so hard on. 

There’s no reason to let a couple of fake reviews bring down your whole marketing plan. 

Yes, good reviews are a great way to show how well your business is doing, but the consequences for paying for these positive reviews is a lot worse than having no reviews at all.

Fake reviews are relatively easy to identify, and if you’re using a fake review service you can easily spot these “bot” accounts. 

The same applies to services like Google My Business, no publicity is better than the potential consequences of fake reviews. 

Fake reviews can also be difficult to remove, and with it only being a matter of time before Google/Bing recognises these it’s paramount that you do. 

Removing one fake review can trigger a scanning of all reviews for your site. And if they are not ‘correct’, then a world of pain awaits you. 

When trying to remove fake reviews, it’s always best to consult a specialist due to how delicate the virtual ecosystem is. 

Responding To Yelp Reviews

Responding To Yelp Reviews

An important part of the reviewing process is engagement. 

This means making sure you’re up to date with all reviews about your business. 

Replying to reviews is a great way to show search engines that you’re active, and a great way to show your audience that you care. 

Whether good or bad, it’s important to make sure you’re reaching out when your audience is leaving feedback. 

Just remember your response matters. 

If somebody has had a negative experience with your service and left feedback, the best way to handle this is to keep an authoritative and professional tone.

Use this authoritative tone while apologising for the individual’s negative experience to demonstrate that you listen to feedback and care about your customer base.

It might seem difficult to respond kindly to a negative review, however it will pay off in the long run. 

Maintaining a trustworthy and authoritative approach will uphold your business’s online integrity. 

Most importantly, after receiving negative feedback see if you can action any improvements that your customers are suggesting. 

Good reviews are relatively easy to respond to, but make sure you’re still using a professional tone. 

Showing that you engage with your customers is important, and maintaining professionalism, can save you from a lot of negative or personal reviews. 

Help Is Only A Phone Call Away


Help Is Only A Phone Call AwayAlthough Yelp isn’t part of SEO we are more than happy to discuss how we can help with your online presence. 

We’re only a phone call away and know that SEO can give you the traffic that you’re looking for. 

Why not pick up the phone now and see how we can help you?


Johnathan Elliott

Johnathan Elliott

Johnathan joined the DRPT family in 2021, having gained his Masters Degree in English studies with Manchester University (yes, Manchester has a University). Besides bringing excellent writing, research, and communication skills to our team, Johnathan is a keen film fan. When asked what he would do if he won the lottery, Johnathan replied: "I would make the world's worst horror film". Yes. We worry for him, too.

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About The Author

Johnathan Elliott

Johnathan joined the DRPT family in 2021, having gained his Masters Degree in English studies with Manchester University (yes, Manchester has a University). Besides bringing excellent writing, research, and communication skills to our team, Johnathan is a keen film fan. When asked what he would do if he won the lottery, Johnathan replied: "I would make the world's worst horror film". Yes. We worry for him, too.