Yelp is part social network/part review website. People connect on Yelp to find local businesses and share their opinions with other Yelp members from their community. People look to Yelp to find new places to eat, shop, drink or unwind and to share their opinions of local businesses – good or bad. Yelp is gaining popularity and is already a standout in the world of online review sites, with millions of members, who even have the option to post their reviews directly to Facebook or Twitter. Yelp had over 66 million visitors in the last quarter of 2011, most of them coming to the site to decide where to spend their money.
Yelp gathers business information from public records and its own users, and businesses do not have the option of having their information or negative reviews removed. The good news is that you are able to create a business profile free of charge and respond directly to negative remarks about your establishment. This can greatly improve your rating and become a great source of free advertisement.
You can also pay for Yelp Ads to have your business appear at the top of Yelp searches and create Yelp Deals that users can purchase directly. Yelp also offers analytics so you can see statistics and charts that show you how your business compares with local competitors.
If you’re a business owner, it’s it highly likely there is already information about your business on sites like Yelp – even if you have never been on a review site or don’t even have a website. Your business has an online presence with or without your effort.