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TripAdvisor and Yelp are two of the most powerful local search and review sites online. According to consumer survey data from Burke, review sites drive more immediate actions (i.e., phone call, store visit, website visit, email) than social media or search.
This consumer behavior is because of review site content and because they’re often consulted lower in the funnel. That’s why it’s important for local marketers to take full advantage of these sites — for multiple reasons, including SEO purposes.
TripAdvisor just released a diner engagement study. Yelp also has data on what drives engagement and conversions on its site. Below I’ve distilled findings from the two sources.
Claim and complete profiles
TripAdvisor found that “Restaurants with hours of operation on their TripAdvisor listing see 36 percent more engagement than those without them.” And Yelp says that “Businesses who complete their profiles see, on average, 5x the customer leads each month.”
Add at least 10 photos
TripAdivsor explained that “restaurants with 11 – 20 photos see double the amount of diner interaction over others with no photos at all,” and those “with at least one Management Photo see 44 more engagement over those with no photos.”
Yelp data show that “a business with 1-5 reviews and at least 10 photos sees 200 percent more user views than a business with the same number of reviews and no photos.”
Respond to reviews
As indicated above, businesses with reviews on their profiles see much more consumer engagement than those without. That’s because consumers are on TripAdvisor and Yelp specifically to read reviews.
TripAdvisor reports, “restaurants with over 20 reviews see twice as much engagement as those with no reviews,” and those with “over 40 recent reviews [see] 3x the engagement.” When managers or local business owners respond to reviews, there’s also more engagement: “Managers who respond to at least 1 percent of reviews see twice as much diner engagement with their TripAdvisor listings.”
Yelp echoes this in a more general way, saying that when business owners respond to reviews, it also encourages more reviews. Thus, the findings of the two sites are broadly consistent.
Here are the simple takeaways:
Claim and complete business profiles.
Add lots of photos to give consumers a sense of the place or examples of past work (more than 10).
Respond to reviews to show that business owners care and are engaged with the community.
About The Author
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.