If you own or operate a business (car dealership, cleaner, restaurant, etc.), then you know, or should know, how important online reviews are to your business. It’s been reported that as many as 67% of all online shoppers use reviews to shape a buying decision. With over 70% of all customers using the internet to research, it’s easy to assume that approximately 50% of your entire business may be influenced by online reviews.

Recently, Google took control over how it displays reviews. Instead of aggregating third party data from sources such as Citysearch, Inside Pages, Merchant Circle, Judy’s Book, Yelp, and much more, Google decided to just showcase the Google Places reviews. This decision had a big impact on many businesses, particularly the auto industry, who relied heavily on reviews from Dealer Rater, an automotive specific third party review website. Many businesses concentrated on getting reviews from many third party sources knowing they would be included in Google’s “star rating.” When Google flipped the switch many businesses went from having a hundred to thousands of reviews or more to as little as one or two.

Here’s a great example of what happens when Google changes their mind:

Google Reviews

Image is from the Wall Street Journal which was featured on SEO Moz

Why did this have such an impact?
The math is pretty simple to figure out. The more reviews a business has, the better it’s arming itself against a negative review. One negative review out of three may be very detrimental, whereas 1 out of 100 wouldn’t have the same impact (not to say that all reviews aren’t important…you get it.)

So what about Yelp?
Yelp is a place typically where people go and complain. I know some may argue that point, but that’s my experience and many others. In fact, if you look at Yelp reviews compared to other rating websites, you can see immediately that “Yelpers” tend to be more negative. In addition, Yelp tends to flush out positive comments, as those who may leave this type of review aren’t regular “Yelpers.” When speaking with a representative from Yelp,  he stated that reviews may indeed “fall off” based on their algorithm to fight spam. It just so happens that “spam” is positive reviews.

Can you blame them?
Think about when you look at a review. Do you look at the positive reviews first or the negative reviews? For some reason, I lean toward the latter. Why? I think it’s human nature to find what’s wrong with something before you want to find out the positives. After all, when researching reviews, I have already made the decision that I MAY purchase the product or visit the location. The review just adds justification needed to commit. When glancing at search results, are you drawn to the 5 stars or to a business that has, let’s say, 3 out of 5 stars? I rest my case.

So why use YELP?
Much like Google has the market on Google for reviews (surprise), Yelp now has the iPhone market thanks to Siri, the new Apple personal assistant. (If you want a good laugh at some of the intricacies of Siri, click here, but beware that some of the images may be offensive (but humorous).)

Here’s how Siri utlizies Yelp:

  1. You speak into the microphone on the Apple 4S like this:
    Siri Screen
  2. You speak an inquiry, like “Car Dealer Chicago Illinois”
    Siri showing Yelp reviews
  3. Then a list of car dealers populates with Yelp Reviews. That’s IT! Just Yelp reviews.
    Yelp reviews on Apple iPhone

Wow, talk about a game changer. As you can see, the rating’s don’t look too good. Looks like 3/5 stars is rock star status, whereas on other third party sites those ratings would look dismal.

According to ComScore, Apple’s iOS system has ~43% of the mobile market share. Though Siri was just released in the new 4S, it’s just the beginning of what I’m sure others will mimic to influence the future of mobile communication. Consequently, millions of people will depend on Yelp reviews delivered through Siri.

What’s your game plan to increase Yelp reviews for your business? For more news and tips, sign up via RSS by clicking HERE.

credit to SEO MOZ for their article which you can view here


Meet Joe Chura

Joe began his career on the Ford assembly line at age 20, reading his college textbooks seconds at a time in between building cars. Over the next decade Joe gained experience at many different levels in the automotive industry, including running Ford’s regional sales team and a stint as General Manager of two dealerships, where he increased internet sales by 300%. Combining his passion for computer programming and innovation, Joe co-founded Launch Digital Marketing (LDM) and Dealer Inspire (DI) to bring new retail technology and better online experiences to both car dealers and shoppers.