What is Yelp and How Does it Work?

If you haven’t come across Yelp before, first, where have you been living? Second, how do you find out what businesses are worth your custom or not right now? Yelp is an online business directory where enterprises can get listed and found online. Customers can find them, contact them and rate them. The combination of all these things makes Yelp very useful indeed.

Yelp combines traditional business listings in a directory like Yellow Pages with social elements. Customers can leave feedback on their experiences with that business which does two things. It informs future customers of what they might expect and it keeps standards high, or forces an improvement of those standards to prevent negative feedback.

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Using Yelp to find a business

When you land on Yelp’s home page, it should detect where you are unless your browser privacy settings prevent it. Manually select your city to search if it is different and then select a category from the menu left of center. You don’t need a login to search Yelp but you will need one to leave feedback.

  1. Navigate to com.
  2. Select the city you want to search in if it doesn’t appear.
  3. Select the category to the left of the center pane or use search at the top.
  4. Scroll through the results to find a local business.
  5. Click the link to get more detail.

On the business detail page, you have the name, address, phone number and website URL at the top with a small map showing you how to get there. Opening hours and other information are on the right side and reviews are lower on the page in the center. This format is repeated across the site for all businesses so you will always find the same information in the same place.

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The feedback mechanism

If you loved or hated a business, you can leave feedback to let others you. For this you will need an account which you can get for free by clicking Sign Up at the top. Reviews are marked in stars. The more stars a business has, the more positively they have been reviewed.

As you will likely know, reviews bring the power back to the consumer. They allow us a fair say in how that business treats us and forces businesses to maintain high standards of service to earn positive feedback. It is a powerful mechanism for both consumers and businesses.

However, the usual rules apply. People can and will say anything on the internet, so don’t take one person’s view of something as gospel. Compare reviews and make up your own mind on balance of the evidence you see. When you do see negative reviews, also look at how the business responded. If they tried to rectify the situation but were still marked down, that should be taken into account too.

Do you use Yelp? Have any stories to share? Tell us about them below!

Posted by Jamie on December 5, 2016

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