If Nobody in Your Area Cares about Yelp, Should You Still Bother Getting Reviews There?

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“My customers don’t care about Yelp.  Nobody around here cares about Yelp.  Why should I even try to get reviews there?”

That’s a valid concern of business owners in most of the US – and in most of the world.  Yelp, the Billion Dollar Bully, makes itself hard to avoid and even harder to like.  The site is only powerful because of all the reviews.  They’re its lifeblood.  So why on earth would you want to ask your hard-earned customers to review you there – when they probably don’t value it any more than you do?

A few reasons to hold your nose and work to get at least a few good reviews on Yelp:

1. Even people who don’t give a rip about Yelp still see your average rating in the search results when they Google you by name. They can tell that it’s a review site, even though they may not care that the review site is Yelp.  If nothing else, it’s a voice in the chorus.

2.  Yelp feeds reviews to Apple Maps, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local. So if you have a 1-star or a 5-star average on Yelp, that’s what people who check out your listings on those 3 local search engines will see.

3.  It’s worth having a couple positive reviews on Yelp just in case someone does a hatchet job on you there. It’s a defensive move, at the very least.  The time to start trying to get good reviews is not when you’re in a hole.

4.  Even though most people in the great State of _____ have the good sense not to care much about Yelp, some small segment of the population may pay attention to it. Throw them a bone.

5.  Maybe Yelp will broaden its appeal one day.

6.  It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition. Yelp doesn’t need to become your main squeeze, or a major time-commitment.  The goal is to get at least a couple good reviews on the board.

7.  It’s great practice for you, in the name of getting dialed-in on your review strategy. You’ll get a little better at knowing whom to ask, when to ask, how to ask, etc.  If it proves too tough to get a given customer to review you on Yelp, ask him or her to review you somewhere else instead.

How to get at least a few reviews on Yelp?  These posts may help:

How to Bulk-Identify Prime Yelp Reviewers with Yelp’s “Find Friends” Feature in 7 Easy Steps – me

20+ Depressing Observations about Yelp Reviews – me

8 Reasons Why Your Business Should Use Yelp’s Check-In Offers – Joy Hawkins

3 Next-Level Yelp Tricks for Business Owners – Brian Patterson

Do people in your area give a hoot about Yelp?  How do you approach it?

Leave a comment!

P.S.  Thanks to Lisa Moon of Paper Moon Painting for asking me a thought-provoking question last year that made me want to write about this.


  1. Totally agree! And while I can’t point to any conclusive research on this, it seems to me that as your number of quality Yelp reviews go up, your local rankings in Google go up with it. This is speculation, and you know, correlation is not causation and all that. 🙂

  2. Thanks Phil for pointing all of these out so I have another source to cite besides myself. I stress at many a speaking event and LocalU events that no matter your business type, you need to complete your Yelp profile and care about it to some level. It continues to rank and provide other benefits past if your prospects are Yelpers that might read the reviews. Love it or hate it, it’s a local search ecosystem all it’s own.

    • Well-said, Aaron. The “no matter your business type” point is a great one. Even if your business isn’t listed there and you don’t want it to be, an angry customer can create a listing for you specifically to give you a bad review. The damn thing is unavoidable.

  3. Good article, Phil, and I can add one more major point to your list:

    Even if people in your local area aren’t heavy Yelp users, most local businesses (retail, grocery, hotels, restaurants, medical, entertainment, auto rentals, etc.) serve 2 user bases: locals and travelers.

    So, if your restaurant is located in Omaha, NE and there aren’t a ton of Yelp users there, this doesn’t mean you should ignore Yelp, because any visitors to your town from California, NY, etc., are going to be using it when making their travel plans and while in town. Makes sense, eh?

    • Excellent point, Miriam. I didn’t think of that, but it sure is true. I’d even add that it’s true of businesses that “transplants” tend to deal with. I’m thinking of my realtor, mortgage broker, and home inspector clients, for example. Private schools also come to mind.

  4. Absolutely, Phil – new neighbors need to know the local landscape, and if they hail from Yelp-aware areas, they’ll be looking to Yelp for guideposts to their new town. Housing, churches, schools, home services … the whole enchilada!

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