Yelponomics 101: More Reviews, Stars, Categories Equals More Leads

I met with EatMetrics several weeks ago and had very interesting conversation about a range of topics including the impact of daily deals on Yelp reputation. Not long ago I posted about a piece of research from Boston U. and Harvard that asserted running a daily deal has positive social media effects but also seems to degrade merchant reputation.

Deal analytics provider EatMetrics confirmed that their data showed the same trend.  The question is “why?” That’s a matter of considerable debate. Is there a real (however subtle) difference in treatment and service received by deal buyers at restaurants? Or is it merely a matter of paranoia and perception?

In a 2011 survey of 931 consumers Rice University and Cornell researchers found that on the whole the majority of deal buyers at restaurants did not feel as though they were treated as “second class” customers. Are daily deal buyers then downgrading the places they visit because of the deal itself and the perception that if you have to offer a deal you’re not as good?

EatMetrics and I also discussed some other interesting trends and phenomena on Yelp, which they elaborated in a blog post earlier this year called “Yelponomics.”

EatMetrics correlated the relationship between star reviews on Yelp and actual reservations. They found that there’s a big bump up between X and X.5 stars, especially between 4 and 4.5 stars. The correlation between better reviews and more reservations is to be expected but perhaps not the big jump that happens at the .5 star level.

Somewhat less intuitive is a finding that more reviews equals more reservations — especially at the 500+ level.

Finally, the more categories in which a business is represented the more likely it is to be found and the more likely to grab reservations accordingly.

Another interesting point that EatMetrics made: the more descriptive keywords in reviews (“great for kids,” “great burger,” etc) the more businesses are likely to be found for specific search queries as well — a form of “Yelp SEO.” Ethical SMBs can’t write reviews for their customers so there’s not a great deal to be done to influence the depth or content of reviews — but it’s interesting to note.

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One Response to “Yelponomics 101: More Reviews, Stars, Categories Equals More Leads”

  1. Glenn T says at


    We have recently implemented a system to outsmart yelp from hiding our filtered reviews:

    Step 1- first of all, if you’re advertising with yelp, we suggest that you stop doing so and shift that money to optimize your own web site instead

    Step 2- Have a graphic designer make a yelp badge that is placed on your web site. It should say “we have …… filtered and unfiltered reviews on yelp”. 

    Step 3- when a visitor clicks on the badge, it will go to another page ON YOUR OWN WEB SITE (instead of going to yelp’s. (why help them get traffic and rank higher anyways)? 

    Step 4- On this page have your graphic designer get a screen capture (picture) of all your filtered and unfiltered reviews and have them pasted together onto one page.

    Now, all your reviews (filtered or not) will be visible to all your web site visitors. 

    5- put a note on the top that says, “for your convenience we have placed all our filtered and unfiltered reviews on one page to see. If you’d like to go to our live yelp page, click here …………”

    Make the whole page clickable to your live yelp page  so no-one will think you’re trying to hide something or trying to be dishonest 

    Advantages of doing this: 

    1- Your visitors will stay on your web site instead of being directed to yelp’s

    2- Your  visitor can’t click on your competitors 

    3- No more being a slave to yelp’s algorithm

    4- Yelp would not benefit from getting traffic from you and higher rankings on google 

    5- This project cost us less than $150 to implement 

    Just be sure to shift that $300 per month on yelp advertising and put it into KEYWORDS that people will search for. 

    Please pass this along 

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