Yelp is one of the most popular and trusted review platform across many industries, including amongst home improvement professionals & general contractors. Creating your Yelp listing is a vital piece of the puzzle for your contractor marketing plan. In this article, you will learn how to use Yelp to create more online buzz and win more jobs for your home construction or contracting business.
Building a presence on popular review platforms and business directories can give your home construction business a major boost in lead-generation efforts. Yelp is one of the major three business review platforms for non-eCommerce businesses, with the other two being Google Business and Facebook. By focusing your efforts on these three platforms, your social reach, organic SEO, and local SEO can reach new heights and earn your contracting business a lot of inbound leads.
When it comes to building and managing your review platform profiles, it is critical to achieve and maintain a high overall rating. A Harvard Business School study on Yelp found that every additional star in your overall business rating results in a 5-9% increase in annual revenue.
Yelp Improves Local SEO for Contractors & Home Construction Businesses
Google’s ranking algorithm factors Yelp into your search ranking for home contracting search queries with “local intent.” A couple examples of local-intent search queries are “Dallas basement waterproofing contractor” or “residential landscapers near me.” The algorithm looks at certain aspects of your Yelp profile, such as number of reviews, overall star rating, keywords within your contracting services, and focus keywords within reviews.
In 2014, Google released the “Pigeon” update to their search algorithm, which put more focus on the location of the user when determining rankings for their search results. Since then, consumers in the home services and construction space—who primarily use search engines to find for high-quality contractors—are find local contractors who have built the strongest Local SEO presence. Hopefully, this puts into perspective how important it is to optimize your online presence for local search queries via thorough listings on Yelp, Google Business, and Facebook.
How To Create a Yelp Listing for You Home Services Business
Below, we’ve outlined the main steps you will need to take in order to create (or claim) your Yelp listing, and how you should plan to manage it going forward to promote your chances of winning more projects from homeowners ready to hire a top contractor in the area.
1) Search Your Business Name, “Claim” It If It Exists
Claiming your home construction business’ Yelp page is a fairly quick & easy process. Just enter your business name and location into their search bar to see a list of businesses. The predictive search function will help you find your business, and once you click it you will be prompted to sign up for a free Yelp Business Account.
If you don’t see your business in the results within the predictive search box, just click the “Add to Yelp for Free” button at the bottom of the search bar popup box. They will ask you a series of basic onboarding questions such as your business email address, phone number, website URL, business address, and some personal contact information.
2) Add Business Hours, Contracting Service Offerings, and Specialties
Once you login to your Yelp dashboard, you will be greeted with a “Getting Started” onboarding checklist, with steps to finish your profile. The first of these steps is to select the hours your construction & contracting business is open for service. For these hours, we recommend adding the hours that you are typically available to accept phone calls for new jobs and/or the hours that you work on a job site. You have the opportunity to add hours for each day of the week. Once you have entered your business hours, click the “Save & continue” button at the bottom of the page.
On the next screen, you will have the opportunity to select the contracting categories and specific home contracting services that you offer to your customers. Each category you choose will have optional services beneath that you can simply click if you offer it.
Depending on the home construction and contracting services that you want to market, you will likely want to select from the below categories:
- Home Services
- Local Services
- Professional Services
- Real Estate
Within these categories, there are hundreds of service offerings. Luckily, based on the information you’ve already provided to Yelp, they will suggest some pre-populated options that you can select from. They have home contractor services such as: Carpenters, Contractors, Drywall Installation & Repairs, Handyman, Landscaping, Movers, Plumbing, Electrician, Roofing and many more. They also have some fairly specialized contracting services such as: Excavation Services, Foundation Repair, Home Network Installation, Security Systems, Solar Installation and the list goes on! Once you are done selecting your services, click the “Save & continue” button at the bottom.
Next up, you have the opportunity to provide a brief description of what makes your home contracting & construction business so unique—and why customers should select you for their home renovation project. In this section, discuss your industry knowledge, great track record, amount of experience in the home services contracting space, and anything else that helps you stand out from other contractors!
3) Upload Home Construction & Renovation Project Photos
Project photography from past home contracting, renovation, and repair jobs are vital to showcasing the quality of work you provide for your clients. In the next step, Yelp gives you the chance to upload photography that will be seen by homeowners in their buying journey to find the perfect contractor or construction business to assist with their upcoming renovation project.
When selecting photography from past home services projects, it is always a good idea to ask your customer if it is okay if you post photos of their home on your business profile—we don’t want to ruffle feathers or betray trust by posting photos of inside of a person’s home without prior consent.
4) Download the Yelp for Business Mobile App
The last step in the formal onboarding process is sending a direct download link to get the Yelp for Business mobile app. Many general contractors and home construction professionals are constantly on the move, going between jobs, working onsite, or taking trips to the hardware store. Downloading and leveraging Yelp’s Business app will help you stay on top of communication with new home renovation leads who message you through Yelp, or respond to customer reviews as soon as they land on your listing.
5) Add Other Business Information
Once you are done with the formal onboarding process, browse to the “Business Information” tab on the left side of the Yelp dashboard. Within this section, there are a few additional fields that you can choose to complete. These fields include: Amenities, Upcoming Special Hours, Business History, and a customized Into section.
6) Wait For Yelp To Verify Your Account
Once you complete your Yelp signup and add business information, Yelp moderators will need some time to verify your account. This is typically complete within 24-48 hours of signup and at that point, your home services or general contracting business will be searchable in the Yelp database.
Generate Reviews from Past Home Services Projects
The whole point of creating a Yelp listing is to generate more leads, and generating strong reviews is the key. Often, getting a review from a great client is as easy as telling your clients that Yelp reviews are highly appreciated. It is unfortunately against Yelp’s Content Guidelines to solicit reviews, and they will mark reviews that they believe to be solicited as “not recommended” within your Yelp listing. As an aside, 70% of consumers will leave a review when asked to do so, but be careful!
Here are some additional routes you can use to generate reviews, without directly asking for them:
- Add a link to your Yelp listing within your email signature and on your website, so clients can easily reach your profile without searching for it.
- When you’ve just finished working with a client, send a follow-up email to let them know how much of a pleasure it was to help—and remind them getting Yelp reviews helps you improve your practice.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar location, stick a “People love us on Yelp” sticker to put on your front door, or even put it on your work vehicle.
Keep in mind, if someone leaves a review on your contracting business’ Yelp listing but they do not have a verified Yelp profile, their review will not show up on your listing. Kindly reach out the reviewer and remind them to complete their Yelp Profile.
Respond to Customer Reviews
Good or bad, it’s always in your benefit to respond to that new customer review. When you get a favorable Yelp review after a successful home service project, reply to client saying how much you appreciate the kind words and for their trust in choosing you to be their contractor. Not only will this help you maintain the relationship with that customer for future home renovation & repair project but it shows new buyers that you’re a very personable contractor who cares about your reputation and quality of service.
That harsh reality is, not every review will be a good one—when the inevitable bad review crops up, don’t panic or be too hard on yourself. And whatever you do, don’t respond with an angry argumentative response. Here is what you should do:
- Don’t respond immediately. You may be angry reading a bad review and any response you send my come off ass aggressive. Take a deep breath and give it 24 hours before you respond.
- Don’t be defensive or make excuses. Have a conversation with the reviewer and try to gain an understanding as to how you can improve your contracting services using their feedback. Apologize for their poor experience and thank them for taking the time to critique your work. If you’re receptive and understanding enough of their feedback, the customer might even remove or improve their review—but don’t be pushy about it. If the opportunity presents itself and it seems worth it, see if there is a way that you can correct the work to salvage the review and the customer. But if that strategy fails…
- Move on. Don’t dwell on the one negative on your page. There are plenty of other home renovation and repair projects to be had. Focus on getting that next jobs and more positive reviews will come with time.
Oddly enough, having a few reviews that aren’t five stars could even help you win more project: businesses with no negative reviews can make suspicious of your business, or make them think some of your reviews are fake. So, while a three-star review doesn’t feel great, it could make your Yelp profile seem more legitimate.
Of course, having several poor reviews can hurt your contractor marketing plans and, generally, your business. For younger businesses and newer Yelp listings, those first few reviews are going to be critical to lay the foundation of getting future work.
Most social media and online directory platforms offer advertising options, and Yelp is no different—after all, that’s how they make their money! If you notice a decent percentage of your home services leads or even website traffic stems from Yelp (using Google Analytics, or similar), it may be in your benefit to give Yelp Advertising a shot!
A Nielsen study found that, on average, businesses that advertise on Yelp reported $3 in revenue for every $1 invested in Yelp Ads. Zooming into the home services industry, they found the average cost per customer acquisition to be $53 and the number of new home renovation and repair customers to be 72 per year. New Yelp advertisers often get a free ad-spend budget of $100 or more for the first time you run ads.
The way Yelp Ads work is, you use targeted ads—based on the home services you offer—to find local consumers who are actively searching for those services. Yelp will then show ad listings near the top of the search results, much like how Google PPC ads work. On Yelp, your ad listing could even show up on your competitor’s Yelp listing, which could be a very powerful ad placement. For example, when a buyer seeking a general contractor in their area searches Yelp, a couple of the contractors running ads will appear right at the top of the results, within the “Sponsored Results” section.
Along with the ad placements you get through Yelp Advertising, you get to choose between two versions of an upgraded Yelp profile:two options:
- Branded Profile: Includes a photo slideshow, an optional video, and a Call-to-Action (CTA) button feature that allows you to promote an announcement, offer, etc. that can influence profile visitors to contact you for their next home repair project.
- Enhanced Profile: Includes all of the features of a Branded Profile, and comes with the added benefit of removing competitor ads from showing up on your Yelp profile.
To get started with Yelp advertising, you may need to call their advertising department to begin your onboarding. An ads specialist will help you gear-up your profile to ensure the highest changes of advertising success, so you can generate more leads and win more jobs for your general contracting or specialized home services business.
Yelp Analytics & Profile Optimization
Yelp’s simple analytics dashboard makes it easy to understand who is visiting your listing, how much traffic its getting, and more.
The “Page Visits” graph gives your the ability to track page views on different devices, over the past month, year, or two years—so you can measure your profile traffic growth over time. These datapoints provide insight that should influence how you adapt your profile to have a greater impact on consumers looking on Yelp to find a professional contractor. The “Customer Leads” graph shows you how profile visitors are interacting with your call-to-actions. For instance, it will tell you how many people have called your business directly from the Yelp app (or mobile site), requested directions to your business, or visited your contractor website directly from your Yelp profile.
Interested in building a rock-solid marketing plan for your home construction & repair business? Check out our Contractor & Home Services Digital Marketing Guide!