Yelp Me With My Reviews

My absolute favorite television show South Park covered Yelp in 2015. In “You’re Not Yelping” Cartman considers himself the top on-line restaurant reviewer in South Park. The entire town starts leaving reviews and in typical South Park fashion - goes to the extreme. This was my first time really thinking about Yelp and other ‘review’ sites.

South Park You're Not Yelping

Leaving Reviews

We all leave reviews - just not in the right space. We all know the person on Facebook that tells you about every bad experience they had during the day. Everyone has that friend that tells you at lunch the best sandwich they ever had. Some of these reviews do end up on websites, but most are word of mouth.

These reviews are important. Many individuals make their decisions on user reviews. Star ratings and recommendations on Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Yelp are becoming more important.

A small percentage of the population are leaving online reviews. In the past, you typically only heard from the ‘squeaky wheel’. Nowadays customers generally understand the importance of a positive review and you see more trickling in. Like most things, these reviews affect your search rank online.

Google Algorithm for Reviews

You can rate a business directly on Google. Business owners that have a Google My Business account can get notifications for each review on their business. Positive or negative, it’s good practice to respond to reviews. These reviews often show on your business knowledge panel and so can your reply.

The star ratings and review also can affect where you display on the search. Without knowing the exact algorithm, there is a definite relationship between positive ratings/reviews and rank in local search. the comments, length, and keywords used in your reviews also help/hurt your search visibility.

Yelp Reviews

Your rating and reviews on Google are only one element of your ranking. Ranking organically can be important - but it doesn’t have to be the domain you own. If the main objective is having your business front and center, review sites like Yelp can really help.

Try doing a search for “best restaurants in wheeling” and odds are you will get a Yelp article. How do you get yourself on the top of that list?

You got it - Yelp Reviews.

Yelp Screenshot

Much like Google My Business, claiming your business on Yelp and other popular directories can help your search visibility. Users are trusting these sources more and more. Some are using Yelp for their “Google” and completely bypassing the search engine.

Ask for the Review but Don’t Reward

I’ve been part of some major organizations and had many sales training in my day. All trainings recommended asking for the sale. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive it. The same can be said about reviews. You would be surprised how many people will fill out a review if you ask them.

The easier you make it to leave a review, the more likely they will come flying in. Leave a Yelp link on your website or social. Find a reputable company that can automate the process. Ask for the review - but don’t bribe.

It is against Yelp and Google's policies to give incentives for leaving positive reviews. Also, they are aware when you have twenty co-workers log in and leave glowing reviews all on the same day. This should be an organic process with truthful reviews.

Let’s Make it a Habit

A few years ago I started to leave recommendations and endorsements on LinkedIn for former co-workers. No one asked and maybe they didn’t need them - but I felt they deserved some positive reviews. Maybe in the future, my review will help them land a promotion or a new job. Maybe we can make a difference for a business we like.

I am a believer in what Thumper's parents used to say.

Thumper quote - If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.

If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.


I also believe that some constructive criticisms can help. I’m more likely to leave a 5-Star review when someone deserves it and choose not to review a company if they didn’t deserve it. I also like to give a company a second chance before I beat them down in a review.

I do, however, feel that the more reviews you leave, the better you make the Ohio Valley and local businesses.

Let’s make it a goal to leave some reviews in the next 30 days - but let’s not turn the Valley into South Park.

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