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Alternative SEO: Establishing A Business Presence on

When it comes to their business and search engine ranking, most business owners have one word in mind: Google. Although Google has its place, it's equally important not to discount the numerous alternative sites that can help you cultivate new leads.

First up:

What it is: a website that allows users to post reviews of businesses in cities all over the world.

Many business owners either love or seriously love to hate The controversies are well documented across the internet, but frankly, those are irrelevant for the purpose of this article. Why? Yelp is widely used, respected, and trusted among consumers.

Making the most of Yelp

Love it or hate it, small business owners in particular cannot afford to ignore the yelp community. By learning about the ranking system used by Yelp, as well as a few additional factors, small businesses owner can begin to help their business achieve a strong ranking in the community's internal search results.

Tip #1: Fill out your profile in its entirety.

The more information you provide the better. Unlike a personal page, Yelp for Business Owners is asking for information that is likely already available on your website, making it easy to gather and fill out. Because Yelp's internal algorithm values those businesses that provide the most information, it's certainly worth the extra 5 minutes it takes to fill in your company info.

Tip #2: Ask your customers for reviews.

There is nothing wrong with asking your customers to take a few minutes to share their thoughts/experience on your company's Yelp profile. With that in mind, never, ever agree to pay someone for a positive review, nor should you agree to trade reviews with another company. It goes against the terms of service and in the end, may hurt your business far more than help.

Tip #3: Be responsive...

Yelp gives business owners the ability to respond to reviews and it is a tool of which you should take advantage. Not only does responding show that you care about what people have to say, it also shows Yelp that you actively manage your company's page.

Tip #3.2: ...but don't use a canned reply.

Canned verbiage makes you appear insincere. If you're going to respond to a review, take a couple minutes to leave a customized response to the person who took the time to write a review for you.

Tip #4: Consider utilizing Yelp's 'Deals' feature.

Chances are you're familiar with Groupon; this is the same premise. You offer a deal or discount and in turn, Yelp will promote your profile to a wider audience. Although there is not a fee to create a deal, Yelp does retain a percentage of the profit you make from the promotion.

Tip #5: A Yelp Deal is not necessary to up search rank.

Don't feel pressured to utilize the 'Deal' feature if you don't have one that is conducive to your business model or industry. By taking the time to learn more about Yelp and encouraging your customers to leave feedback, there is a good chance that you'll organically help your company climb the ranks of Yelp's search results.

Need help with the set up of your business' Yelp page? Contact one of our social media experts for a free quote.

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