#QandAwesome Episode 10 Should I Care About YELP?

Awesome offline experiences create awesome online reviews. In this weeks episode of #QandAwesome, I answer a question about YELP, by far one of the most controversial online referral platforms. Love it or hate it, it can work. If you choose it to. And yes, it still matters. Thanks so much for watching.

The Customer Experience (online)

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon.com


Are You Discoverable
Here is the audio version of this post. Thanks so much for listening. Enjoy.

Today is Cyber Monday, another made up shopping holiday to drive traffic to websites to consume goods and services. I’m sure you know this by the gazillion emails that are waiting for you to click on in your inbox. That fact is, we are all online. Whether we are socially networking on Facebook and Instagram or shopping for the holidays.

We are all in e-commerce today, one way or another. And we all need to think hard about the customer experience (online), if we want to be a relevant business in 2014 that is.

Here is a simple checklist for you to see if you are a discoverable business and for you to audit the customer experience (online).


Search Engines
1. Google terms that relate to your business. If you are a hair salon, Google “best hair salons”, “best colorist”.
2. Take a look at what results come up. Are you there?
3. Click on the links. Are they your business pages? What do they look and feel like?


1. Visit your website.
2. Is it easy to find your location? Contact info? Hours of operation?
3. Are there pictures of your business and your work?
4. Can I make a reservation or at least contact you?
5. Is the copy reader friendly and relevant to your business?
6. Can I easily see where to find you on Facebook, YELP, etc?
7. Is it mobile friendly?




YELP (being active on YELP is one of the best ways to rank higher in search engines. Fact.)
1. Have you claimed your page? If not, click here to learn how.
2. Have you added images of your business and work?
3. Have you filled in the “About this business” section?
4. Are there recent reviews?

Google Places

 Google Places
1. Have you claimed your business?
2. Have you added images, contact info, hours of operation and a business description?


1. Do you have a business page?
2. Have you claimed your unique URL? This is the best way to show up in Graph Search, the “Google” of Facebook. Click here to learn how to claim your name.
3. Is your about us section filled out?
4. Are the hours of operation there?
5. Is your website, phone number and an email address available?


1. Have you written a short about message?
2. Is there a link to your website?
3. Do you have your phone number or email listed?


1. Can I easily find where to sign up for your emails?
2. Do you have a subscribe area on your website?
3. Do you have a subscribe tab on your Facebook page?

While this is not even close to a complete list, it’s an awesome start if you are in a service business. When was the last time you took a look at your online presence? Today may be an awesome day to start.

(shared with LOVE from Nina)

Rave Reviews Infographic from Milo

Raving Fans

“More contact means more sharing of information, gossiping, exchanging, engaging – in short more word of mouth.”


Gary Vaynerchuk

There is no denying the facts. In today’s world, it is so important for local businesses to be engaged on review platforms such as YELP, Google Places, Citysearch and the like. People are talking about you, people are looking for you, your job is to know what they are saying and to be discoverable on the web.

Check out this super cool infographic that shows the facts about how potential new clients use review sites. Powerful stuff, and even more powerful for your business if you pay attention and use these platforms to help generate word of mouth and attract new clients.

Rave Reviews Infographic from Milo(infographic discovered on Google courtesy of Milo)

To learn more about how to claim your YELP page, click here to view our webinar.

If you are looking to engage more deeply in the social + digital web in 2013, we offer one-on-one mentoring to help you craft a plan and learn how to use these platforms to help you achieve your dreams. Click here for more information. We look forward to hearing from you.

(shared with LOVE from your passionistas Nina + Gordon)


The Truth About YELP

“We’re living in an era where word-of-mouth is on steroids. People aren’t just talking to their neighbors and the folks they run into around town; they’re talking to the world via social media.”

Gary Vaynerchuk



I have seen so much lately on the web about small businesses being mad at YELP.  Rants on Facebook and other pages, and quite frankly, many of them are just small business owners who do not understand how YELP or social review and referral platforms work.

Is YELP perfect? NO! Is any social platform perfect? NO. But these platforms can be used for good, and my suggestion is to learn more about them, and to realize they are here to stay, whether you “like” them or not.

So here is my attempt to clear up any misunderstandings and hopefully inspire you to take the energy you are using to hate on YELP and turn it towards understanding YELP and how it can empower and gorw your business.

The Facts
1. YELP has more than 15 million reviews and over 40 million visits to its site every month.

2. Five star reviews lead in terms of percentage of reviews given.

3. YELP uses a formula called an “algorithm” to catch fake reviews or pages that get several reviews in a short period of time from new YELPERS, and filters them in an attempt to keep the site as authentic as possible.

4. Most frequent YELPERS know about filtered reviews and check them out.

5.  YELP is one of the number one new traffic drivers to small business, both online and offline.

6. You DO NOT need to advertise on YELP to make it work for you, just like Google or Facebook, you have the choice of PAID discovery and/or ORGANIC discovery.

Here is a graphic that shows the average number of reviews by star.
YELP ratings My friends Pilates Studio in Los Angeles, Whole Body Method, who I have the pleasure to work with has received over 1500 visits to their website this year alone directly from YELP.

  • Over 60% of those visits were first time visits.

  • They stayed on the website over 2 minutes and viewed 2.5 pages, more than any other social or digital referral visit.

  • Many of those visits have turned into new clients, as in hundreds of new clients.

  • In fact, besides existing client referrals and traditional word of mouth, YELP is their number one referral tool.

  • One of the keys to this is they also offer online booking and the ability to purchase packages online.

  • Their business is up over 50% from last year. While there are several factors that made this happen, their choice to embrace the social + digital web is a significant part of their success.

My tattoo shop here in LA, Velvet Grip Family, attributes over 90% of new client traffic to YELP.  How do they know?  It’s the first question they ask when you walk in. “How did you hear about us?” Nine times out of ten the answer is YELP.

So here’s the deal. You can choose to NOT do business with YELP, whatever that means. But you must understand your business will remain on YELP, Citysearch, Google Places and all over the Internet.  That is the reality of social business, and it’s not going away.

So you have a choice, bury your head in the sand, or take advantage of these powerful platforms, begin paying attention to what people are saying about your business on the web, and use them to grow.  Your choice.

If you want to learn more about YELP and the other social referral platforms on the web, click here to see if our one-on-one mentoring program is right for you. You can also visit our YouTube channel PassionSquaredTV to view a webinar on YELP we did several months ago.

(shared with LOVE from your passionista Nina)