Q&A: Yelp's Morgan Remmers on Going Local

By Niklas Nordlof on Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tell me about yourself and Yelp.

Of course. My name is Morgan Remmers and I'm the Manager of Local Business Outreach at Yelp. I oversee our business outreach efforts on the West Coast and across Canada. Yelp is a website and mobile application that connects people with great local businesses and was founded in San Francisco in 2004.

Since then, we've grown quite a bit. Yelp is available in 29 countries around the world, more than 67 million reviews have been contributed to the site, and we have 139 million unique visitors turning to Yelp each month when preparing to spend money on a product or service (as of Q3, 2014).

How is Yelp valuable to a business that already has a website?

I think the two biggest value-adds that Yelp brings businesses who already have a website are the reviews Yelp users are contributing to our site about their experiences at local businesses and the various API partners we work with.

For starters, third-party validation for any business is huge these days. In fact, according to a 2014 Nielsen survey, 78% of consumers turn to review sites-like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Angie's List-to find local businesses.

To my second point, Yelp is the de facto choice for local search, and as a result, we've partnered with several companies to power their local search results, including Siri, Apple Maps, Bing, Yahoo, as well as GPS navigation systems in luxury cars-like BMW and Mercedes.

What this means for business owners is that, in addition to having a website, it's important to claim and set-up your free business page on Yelp to ensure you're appearing in relevant search results on our site and app, as well as on the other platforms we've partnered with.

What kind of businesses are a good fit for Yelp?

Our mission is to connect people with great local businesses, so you'll see everything from restaurants to dental offices, bars, spas, dog groomers, mechanics, and roofing companies. Our primary focus is to help consumers find great businesses that are right in their own backyard.

If I start a brand-new listing, what should I do to make it more effective?

To make the most of your business page on Yelp, every business owner should follow the five steps below:
  1. Claim your free Yelp Business Page.Start by going to Yelp for Business Owners at biz.yelp.com if you haven't already.
  2. Update your business information.Confirm that your address and phone number are correct, add your business website, and don't forget to update your hours for the holidays!
  3. Add photos.Business owners can upload unlimited photos on Yelp, and we know that consumers spend 2.5 times longer on Yelp Business Pages with photos.
  4. Tell people about your business.Make your business relevant in more search results by adding content in the "From The Business" section to let customers know your specialties.
  5. Create exciting promotions.Consider creating a Check-in Offer for your mobile audience, or a Yelp Deal to entice new customers to try your business for the first time.

How do I make sure people can find my business on Yelp?

Beyond following the tips outlined in my answer above, it's always a good idea to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for your customers as to where they can find you online, but stop short of asking for a review.

Here are a few easy ways business owners can increase their Yelper engagement without being overly solicitous:

Use Yelp signage.You can post a "Find us on Yelp" image on your website and/or print it out for your front counter or window. Stickers can be requested by filling out this form.

Update your email signature.Include a link to your Yelp business page in your email signature with the words "Find us on Yelp."

Post a Yelp Badge on your website.When logged in at Yelp for Business Owners, you can find several pre-created Yelp widgets by clicking "review badges."

What if someone already created an entry for my business, but it's wrong?

You'll want to make sure you claim your business page biz.yelp.com. Once you do this, you'll be granted access to the back-end of your business page, which will allow you to update your information as the business owner/manager of the page.

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