Study: 90% of Business Owners and Consumers Trust Yelp ReviewsThe impact of claiming and optimizing Yelp listings reverberates from your local search optimization campaigns to your clients’ engagement with their target market. An infographic based on a study recently released by merchant payment solutions provider Merchant Warehouse shows that 90% of business owners and consumers using Yelp say positive reviews influence their purchasing decisions. The infographic also reveals other very interesting numbers about local market behavior online.

What does this mean for SEO? Simple – it’s time you pay attention to business listings. This is especially important for businesses that have a physical location – restaurant SEO strategies, for instance, leverages optimized business listings for those in the food and beverage industries.

Earning Market Trust through Yelp

Aside from revealing that Yelp reviews affect 90% of users’ decisions, the study also shows that Yelp reviews almost amount to personal recommendations. 72% of the respondents revealed they trust the reviews on the site as much as they trust word of mouth from people they know.

Study: 90% of Business Owners and Consumers Trust Yelp ReviewsThe study also reveals what elements of a brand’s Yelp listing influenced their decisions the most. 44% looked at the text reviews, and 26% at the Yelp ratings. 17% looked at the quantity of reviews received by a business, and 14% searched for establishments reviewed by friends or family.

Additionally, Yelp has helped many businesses improve their customer service approach. 77% of the respondents have benefitted from the free crowdsourcing Yelp offers, and have since modified their customer service approach.

Yelp and Conversions

Not only is optimizing your Yelp page going to help you gain the trust of your target businesses and clients, it also brings more conversions. The study reveals that 93% of people who look up establishments in review sites like Yelp end up purchasing something from the business they researched.

A separate study by Boston Consulting Group, which was published in Yelp’s official blog, shows that in 2012, businesses with a free Yelp business account increased their annual revenue by an average of $8,000. Paid Yelp advertisers, meanwhile, increased their annual revenue by an average of $23,000.

If you’re looking for something more to give to your clients, here’s something you can use: restaurants, beauty and spa, and food establishments lead the group of top business types regularly searched on Yelp. Restaurants top the list with 78% of respondents saying they use Yelp to search for restaurants; beauty and spa establishments follow at 65%; and other food establishments at 63%. Check out the image below for the other business types regularly searched on Yelp.

Study: 90% of Business Owners and Consumers Trust Yelp Reviews

While different industries have unequal results, this doesn’t discount the fact that optimizing business listings is an essential part of any SEO strategy. For instance, cosmetic surgeons often rely on reviews or referrals from patients. This can be an opportunity to refine their plastic surgery SEO strategy to include business listings optimization.

Applying to Local Search Campaigns

What’s surprising, though, is that even though the numbers are very promising, only a small percentage of small businesses use Yelp. 87% say they don’t actively use review sites, while 22% of those with Yelp pages don’t update, check, and optimize their pages. This presents a market opportunity for you.

If you have clients who have not yet claimed and optimized their Yelp listings, you can simply login to your account and integrate their Yelp listings with the Reputation Management Dashboard. Read more about it here. Yelp listing creation and optimization is part of our local SEO solution as well as our Reputation Management Dashboard. We’d be happy to talk you through the process and help your clients start getting the visibility they need on Yelp.

Remember to sign up and become our partner to get our complete SEO solutions. I hope you get something useful out of today’s discussion – keep coming back for more updates!

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