Do Yelp Reviews Boost Search Rankings?

When it comes to local SEO ranking, there’s a LOT of information online about what’s going to make it better and what’s going to make it worse. So much so that it can be hard to know what’s true.

Today, we’re going to look at what Yelp reviews do you your local SEO ranking and definitely answer the question: do they help, hurt, or totally ignore your bottom line?

Local SEO ranking and reviews

Before we get specifically to Yelp, we need to address the role of reviews in general to local SEO ranking.

In short, yes – rankings DO actually improve your ranking. By some counts, they account for almost 10% of your overall search engine ranking. And with all the other auxiliary benefits to your SEO that reviews drive (e.g. more content on site, more inbound links from high authority sites), it’s pretty clear reviews have a positive impact.

What review characteristics search engine’s look for?

Again, it’s hard to say exactly what search engines look for and what they prioritize when they’re looking at business review sites like Yelp.

But looking again at Moz’s list of ranking factors, we can surmise a few things.

First, review quality is important. Simply put, it’s better to have positive reviews than negative reviews because Google takes that into account when they return search engine page results.

Second, review relevancy. The reviews on sites like Yelp need to be relevant to your business. If you run a restaurant, a detailed review of the Ford Focus is of no use to you.

Third, primacy. Your reviews need to be recent and up to date, so that Google recognizes that they’re accurate and that people are actually going to your business.

How Yelp can help your bottom line

Now we get to Yelp, and how it (and others like it) can help your bottom line. In a nutshell, the reason that it’s beneficial to be on sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and whatever industry-specific review aggregation sites your industry has (e.g. Zomato for restaurants) is that their SEO power is almost invariably going to be more powerful than yours.

They have thousands of inbound links, new content every single day, extremely dense content pages, and quite simply a mammoth amount of authority.

The result is that unless someone is looking for your business SPECIFICALLY, it’s likely that MOST Google searches will return a search where page one is just a slew of reviews sites.

For example, imagine you run a Thai restaurant called Bangkok Thai. You’ll get some customers Googling your name specifically (e.g. Bangkok Thai phone number) which is where all your other local SEO comes in handy (e.g. NAP).

But that’s not what most people are going to Google. Most people are going to Google ‘Good Thai near me’ or ‘Best Thai food’.

And THOSE search results are dominated by sites like Yelp.

Wrap up

At the end of the day, the fact is that a site like Yelp will help your local SEO by improving the review aspect of your website. But the additional value if that you get exposure to extremely valuable page 1 real estate for free by piggybacking their SEO success.

And that’s how it helps your bottom line – when you have a Yelp listing, your SEO gets easier for free.

Want more local SEO tips? Get in touch and see how we can help you get on page 1 of Google in no time!


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