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  • Writer's pictureRay Cheselka

Leveraging Yelp As A Local Business [Mar 2023]

Over the years many business owners have expressed skepticism or frustration with Yelp.

I've heard:

It seems like only people with something bad to say go on there

I ran ads on there once and didn't get anything out of it

Isn't it only for restaurants?

Are the right users going there?

I can assure you the Yelp critics are fair, Yelp has really developed its ad platform, and it's expanded well-beyond restaurants.

To top it off, their users are younger and making a good income.

Yelp has the data to prove it.

A great target for many local businesses. Not only for a single sale but potentially a long-term customer.

As a newer homeowner, I often use Yelp to explore nearby businesses, check quality reviews, and request quotes. In just 1.5 years, I've leveraged Yelp to find HVAC, Plumbing, Hot Tub, and Irrigation contractors that I'll use for years to come.

In this post, I'll walk through your Yelp listing and how you can update it, and utilize ads to drive quality leads, and potentially long-term customers.

Note: I'll be using my friend's business, Columbus, OH-based Winston's Coffee and Waffles as an example throughout their post. They've had success with Yelp/Yelp Ads. Columbus friends, and anyone in the area, you've got to try this place!!! So good!

Yelp Listing Features and Updates

Once you've created and/or claimed your business listing, Yelp offers a variety of ways to enhance your profile.

  • Business Information-Name, categories, website URL, etc.

  • Photos-These show at the top of the profile for prospective customers to explore, can also be used in ads. User images will populate here too

  • Website and Phone information

  • Hours and Location

  • Amenities

  • About-Allows businesses to give some background, and what people can expect

  • Reviews-Critical! On Yelp and anywhere you can have a star rating. Conveys trustworthiness

  • Check-in offer-drive sales by giving an offer when users "check-in". EX: Check in at the business for 10% off

  • Paid listing features: CTA's, no competitor ads, updates, featured photos, highlights, you pick a logo, more

It's important to make sure everything is as detailed and accurate as possible, and that it's kept up to date. This will help drive the highest quality leads. Even so, you might get an inquiry for something you don't do every now and then.

For example, when I was requesting quotes for a water heater replacement, Yelp gathered my info and sent out the request for quotes to companies. Some of those companies didn't work on water heaters. In one instance, an irrigation company came up. The system isn't perfect, but if your information is accurate, your leads will more often than not be good.

Once you've got your listing fully utilized and up to date, you'll be ready to test out some Yelp Ads.

Yelp Ads

If you're new on Yelp, it's likely you can get a free $300 in ad spend. That's a lot of free testing. Yelp often prompts the offer when you log in or will send it via email. I can also get it by reaching out to Yelp.

Building a Yelp ad is straightforward. These are the components:


You can elect to let Yelp optimize the image shown. They'll rotate the images on your profile and optimize them based on their performance.

Alternatively, you can select one image to show with the ad at all times.

Reviews, categories, location

These will all be displayed in the ad, automatically pulling from the associated Yelp profile.

Short bit of ad copy

recommend doing with a goal in mind-ex: more people to certain location, promote a membership, etc.


You choose the target area(s). You can do specific locations or a radius around the business.

Along with this, you can target search phrases relevant to your business. To enhance targeting, you can exclude phrases irrelevant to your business


Budgets are set with a daily average and monthly max, and it's much lower than Google ads (for search ads-minimum of $20 for any businesses), social ads (~$10/day needed). I've run very successful Yelp ad campaigns at $8/day. That cost could be even less.

The bigger your target area and number of targeted keywords, the higher the search volume will be. That will require more budget to accommodate the increased exposure.

From there you can test, make minor adjustments as the data comes in, and your business should see benefits!

Yelp gives great reporting on what leads were generated (map views, calls, website visits), They also provide click and appearance activity, with breakdowns on organic vs paid ads.

You get the option to set up call forwarding/tracking too.

Want to test Yelp Ads for your local business?

I'd love to help.

Shoot me an email and we'll discuss!

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