Are Google or Yelp Reviews Better for Your Restaurant?
Google and Yelp, alike are considered to be review “Powerhouses” for local business and restaurant reviews. Both are highly recommended, and free marketing tools for businesses. But if you really had to choose just one to focus your time and efforts on, which would it be?
To help you decide, we have outlined and weighed in on the pros and cons of both Google and Yelp reviews, from the perspective of a restaurant business.
Yelp has been a trusted source of authority for local restaurant reviews for over a decade. While they feature reviews local businesses in nearly every industry, they are originally known for the restaurant space. Surprisingly, this niche targeting does not equate to fewer visits and reviews. Yelp receives a whopping 145 million unique visits each month. 70% of these visits are through a mobile device.
Their mobile-friendly app translates to a large amount of mobile visits, but is not holding back desktop action. It remains a powerhouse in generic search, often showing up within the top 3 results of Google results. Optimizing your restaurant’s Yelp page (check here to see if you are), and linking back to your site will result in valuable SEO.
Additionally, Yelp promotes engagement and activity on behalf of users AND Businesses. You have the ability to respond to commenters, giving you the chance to either thank your customer or redeem yourself. The social media aspect of Yelp, allows users to see where their friends have eaten and what they said about those places. These reviews are more personal, making it more likely to influence their decisions on where to eat.
At one time, there were several lawsuits around Yelp pressuring businesses to pay to have their reviews displayed. In turn, this made some users skeptical of the reviews they saw.
Yelp users also report reviews that they’ve posted not showing up for quite awhile. Some show up immediately and others don’t show up at all. Additionally as a user, I have noticed some search unpredictability. For example, I will search “burger” and get a list of burger joints that is different from the list I got 10 minutes ago. Despite searching in the exact same location and using the same filters.
There is no doubt that Google is King of search. So it only makes sense that adding your business to Google My Business helps your Google search rankings.
The review algorithm is top-notch and the review results for local businesses are located at the top of the Google search page. These review results are displayed visually in the map, standing out against all the search results below it (including Yelp).
An additional perk with a Google account is access to other Google apps and features. These include Google+ (social media that can help with your search rankings), Google Maps, Google Drive (helpful for organizing business materials and content libraries), Gmail and Youtube.
Though Google is king of search, Google is not considered King for restaurant reviews. Yelp receives more review-focused visits (especially in the restaurant industry) than Google.
Registering your business on Google improves your search ranking, but the number of reviews and your average review score have no impact on your search ranking.
Users find Google more difficult to navigate and discover new places through Google reviews. It’s great for accessing reviews for a specific restaurant name and location, but difficult for generalized searches, like “burger joints Houston.”
Which is Better?
Professionals in most industries will argue that Google weighs in as #1 because of the Yelp lawsuits and algorithm unpredictability. But these conclusions are not made specifically for the restaurant industry. In the case of our restaurant partners, I always recommend registering for both.
But which should you put more time and effort into? I usually suggest to restaurant owners to push your review marketing campaigns to Yelp. Though it faces some drawbacks, they are feeling the social pressure to improve. Yelp is also a more targeted source of authority for the restaurant industry and it’s search results are more likely to have an impact on your restaurant’s traffic. Additionally, we are more likely to follow our friends’ good feedback than a strangers, and Yelp makes this digital word of mouth possible.