Yelp Advertising Review 2019


Yelp is clearly ramping up their sales teams as a lot of our clients have been getting calls from sales reps. I can’t even visit the local Victoria BC subreddit without seeing this Yelp banner ad thanks to their digital advertising.

They’re most likely ramping up their sales and advertising efforts because they didn’t meet their sales estimates last year. Regardless, this Yelp advertising review will help you determine if it makes sense for your business to advertise with them.

A few of our clients and yourself want to know, is advertising with Yelp worth it? The answer depends on a few factors.

Before I list the four questions you need to ask yourself to determine if Yelp advertising is worth it, here is how their advertising works.

Yelp Advertising Cost

Since I’ve been in contact with a few Yelp sales reps, I’ve been able to acquire a link to their pricing and packages. Keep in mind that this link is for Canadian businesses.

Another thing to keep in mind is that those prices are based on a 12 month contract. Now that you have an idea of costs, where your ads will be displayed?

Three Display Options

Yelp offers three areas where your ad will be displayed. You can see in the screenshot below that it’s pretty straightforward except for the “search results page”.

where are yelp ads displayed

The search results page is their “directory” of service providers or storefronts for specific search terms. We had one client advertise with Yelp and they’re an auto repair shop. So their ads were displayed on the Yelp directory for “auto repair shops in Victoria BC“. Since they also offer a few different services, their ad would be displayed on other search results pages for those other services.

The competitor’s pages advertising is quite interesting and useful. People will find out about your competitors anyway. So if someone is viewing their Yelp listing, why not have your ad displayed there as well?

Now that you know where the ads are displayed, you might wonder how your budget or PPC is determined.


Yelp PPC Ad Budget

Each of the packages has a click budget per month. For our client, we choose the Intro Package and a budget of $275. Within business owners dashboard, there is a section called “Yelp Ads” which allows you to see your CPC breakdown, amount of impressions and clicks. You can’t see how CPC is determined either and it varies each month. My guess is that they divide your budget for ad spend by how many ad clicks you received.



What Are Ad Clicks & Leads?

Ad clicks are how many times someone clicks on your ad in the three display options. The key measure though is how many leads you received from those clicks. Yelp defines a lead as four different things. They are:

  • Click on your phone number
  • Click on your call to action button (not visible in the below screenshot but is when your campaign starts)
  • Click on your website link
  • Click on the “Get Directions” button


Of those four leads, you’re only going be really be able to track the visits to your website. Unless you use a call tracking number on your listing or have the call to action button directed to your site. With the call to action button, they suggest you have it set up to request a quote so people contact you directly from your Yelp listing.

But with the website clicks, I don’t trust the number of leads from that metric and here’s evidence why.

With our client, we were advertising from November 8th, 2016 to November 7th, 2017. Since Yelp’s dashboard doesn’t break down the number of leads by month, it’s tough to see what type of lead metric it was. Using the last 24 months as a reference though, we can see that we have 106 website clicks.


That number doesn’t jive with our Google Analytics stats though.


106 to 59 is a big difference. The 106 website visits were taken over a 24 month period as well and we only advertised from 12 months. That’s quite a big discrepancy if you ask me and makes me question if the other lead metrics are legit.

Another issue is how could we know if the leads were generated by our paid ad click or an organic one? There is no way to determine that. Surely we had generated a few leads from people visting our listing without us paying from them to get there.

With all this in mind, let’s get down to the four questions you need to answer so you can determine if Yelp advertising will work for your business.

Four Questions To Ask Yourself

1) Do any Yelp directory pages show up in the search results ahead of your website?

Yelp has done a good job with their SEO and trying to rank all of their directory pages. When you search for your targeted search terms in Google or Bing does a Yelp listing show up ahead of your website?

In the screenshot above, it might worth it for our client who is listed two spots below the Yelp directory listing for “auto repair Victoria BC”.

When you search for your products or services, where does the Yelp listings show in the search rankings compared to your website? If it’s quite a few or even two spots ahead, it might be worth going with Yelp.

2) Do you have a lot of competition?

This question is related to the last one. If you have a lot of competition and you’re not ranking very high in the search results, then you can leverage the traffic from the Yelp directory listing that ranks high.

The money spent on local SEO and trying to get better rankings might be better spent on Yelp advertising as you will see more traffic directly. This is especially true if you have a lot of competitors and your website is ranking on the fourth page and beyond.

But this money could also be spent on Google Adwords. I’ll cover Adwords vs Yelp in a bit.

3) How many views does your Yelp listing receive right now?

Once you have claimed your Yelp listing you’ll be able to see how many views your listing has received. Yelp’s definition of a user view is:

“User Views is a measure of how many times your Yelp page was accessed or viewed on the Yelp website, mobile website, and mobile apps. The forecasted value on the current month is an estimate and will change as the month progresses. Yelp may occasionally correct historical metrics to improve accuracy.”

So a view can come from someone seeing your listing in a directory and be viewing your actual listing page. It would be really nice for Yelp to separate the two, as someone viewing your listing directly is far more valuable.

If your listing is getting a fair amount of user views, that number would increase significantly if lots of people are searching through a search engine for your product and landing on a few different Yelp directories. It would also increase if people bypass Bing and Google and head to Yelp and do their searching there.

Unfortunately, Yelp doesn’t have stats for how many users view a directory like their “auto repair shops in Victoria BC“. This would make the decision much easier. So, for now, we’ll have to go off how many user views your listing gets.

4) How many products or services do you offer?

The more products or services offered, the more Yelp directories there will be. If you are an auto repair shop, you most likely offer brake repair, oil changes, tires & suspensions and more. In this case, Yelp will have a directory for each service. This would then increase the number of views your listing has.

You would have to ask the question to your Sales rep how a budget gets divided if you offer different services.

In the case of the auto repair shop I’ve mentioned, this screenshot below shows the increase in user views during the 12 month advertising period.


On the other side of this is if you’re a massage therapist that only offers that one service, you will only have one Yelp directory. This would mean your listing might not have as many views.

Answering the questions above will you decide. But I want to toss another option at you that you probably are already aware of, if not using right now.

Yelp Vs Adwords

The first question I asked above had to do with the Yelp directory listing and it’s search rankings. The idea of levering Yelp’s SEO and search rankings is an easier way to get targeted traffic to your Yelp listing.

But Google Adwords is an even better way as Google Ads will appear at the very top of the search results. There are lots of studies floating around in regards to the percentage of people who click on the Google Ads at the top. I’ve seen 20-35% click on the ads while the other 65-80% goes to the Google My Business (maps results with 3 businesses listed) and organic search results.

The 65-80% could then come across a Yelp directory for your business’ products or services in the organic results. This coupled with the fact the Google Adwords CPC is going to be higher then the Yelp Ads might make Yelp a better option.

With that being said, if you do advertise using Google Adwords people are directly visiting your site. I’m a big believer in driving people to your website as you can control the flow of the visitors and see the Google Analytics stats and track things better.

If you advertise with Yelp, they want to drive people to your Yelp listing. You then have to rely on people clicking on your website link to see your website. It seems to be the case from analyzing a few clients’ Yelp ads that most people call the business rather than visit the website.

This is good, however, as you want people to call you after they reach your website anyways. They just miss out on learning more about your business. But they’ve called and that’s a major goal in any business.

So Is Yelp Advertising Worth It?

After all this, it comes down to answering the four questions above. At that point, you should have a good idea if it’s worthwhile to spend the money and advertise with Yelp. Obviously, I would be cautious of the 12 month contract, but thankfully you can jump in between packages.

If you do decide to advertise with Yelp, it will be a far better option than going with Yellow Pages Online. YP is very expensive compared to Yelp, but Yelp’s SEO and local search rankings are better than YP’s.

If you have any questions regarding Yelp or SEO, contact us today and we’d be happy to consult with you.

Leverage Other Brands Like Hilfiger Did

Tommy Hilfiger Brand Leverage

Image courtesy of Kunstakademiets Designskole via Flickr

A few days before my first day of grade 9, I bought (ok, my mom did!) my first pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans. This Hilfiger guy was getting huge. Everyone was wearing his clothing on TV.

But how did he get so big?

Back then I could care less.

Now, I care. And how he got so big is one of the most genius and fastest ways to become a big brand.

The Campaign Creator

A man by the name of Gorge Lois had just come off creating the brilliant I Want My MTV spots.

The goal we all know. Get people to take action and call their cable companies and tell them you want MTV! Getting famous musicians to deliver the message was brilliant. Of course the musicians would benefit from MTV being picked up. Everyone was a winner.

That campaign was a mirror image of “I want my Maypo”. Maypo was a cereal and George created that as well. He had famous athletes like Mickey Mantle, who kids looked up to bawling like babies saying “I want my Maypo”. What do you think kids did? Went to their parents and asked for Maypo!

One thing I want to point out and I’ve mentioned it before on another marketing site, you can recycle creative ideas again and again. That’s what George did with “I want my MTV”.

Leverage Other Brands Like Hilfiger

“I can make Tommy Hifliger a famous and important brand in a couple of hours”. Now watch the genuis of how Hilfiger was thrust into the limelight and his clothes found the way onto people like me.

I’ve tried to fast forward the video to start at 32:22 but it’s not working. You’re going to start at 31:47.

George is so right. It could have taken Tommy millions of dollars and a few years to become well known.

Now a days you can achieve the same without having to spend millions. You can do this online and reach millions of people through different avenues. Some paid like Google or Facebook ads. And some free trendjacking relevant trending topics on Twitter or Newsjacking.

You’d have to think how you can create these opportunities. And how you create a similar idea to what George did for Tommy. But the time spent could be well worth it because going the long route could take you years of hard slugging and deep pockets.

The bottom line is since the start of Social Media and blogs, there are no gatekeepers to getting your brand known. You can do what Tommy Hifliger did in the same amount of time and for much, much cheaper.

Are bad backlinks hurting your websites search engine rankings?

why is my website not showing up on googleOur latest client, Dri-Way Carpet and Upholstery Care came to us after asking “why is my website not showing up on Google”.

His targeted search terms are variations of “carpet cleaning Victoria”.

He had no idea why. At first look, we knew why.

His main page is title “Carpet Cleaning Victoria” which should get you on page 5 at worst in most cities. But his website was no where to be found when we did our searches.

We knew right away that his site had been penalized by Google.

What was the reason?

After doing a backlink audit, we find many spammy low quality backlinks.

Are bad backlinks hurting your websites search engine rankings? Backlinks are the human growth hormone of SEO and will help or hurt your websites search rankings.

We define bad backlinks as those from very low quality website. How can you determine what a bad website looks like?

Watch the video below and learn how to:

  • how to find out what websites are linking to yours or what backlinks your website has
  • determine if a website is good or spammy
  • what to look for when prospecting for backlinks on other websites

Here are the links I have talked about in the video.

Download the SEOquake extension for Google Chrome.

Download the SEOquake extension for Mozilla Firefox.

Here is the link on how to setup and install Google Webmaster tools.

Here is the link of why you need to say no to link requests from other webmasters.

Google does not like duplicate content.

After doing a link audit of your website, have you had any spammy backlinks to your website?

If you have, you’ll want to read our next blog post on what do to if your website has backlinks on spammy websites and if Google has penalized your website. So be sure to sign up for our email newsletter on the top right of this screen or in the popup box you’ll see any second now to get that blog post sent straight to your inbox.

The Opposite of SEO is Social Media

Twitter Advanced SearchIf you follow this blog, you’ll know it’s mostly SEO related. I personally find that it has more value and results for my clients who don’t have the time to invest in social media.

But I do post tips on how to use Twitter from time to time. This is one of those posts.

Regardless if we are an SEO Victoria company, this tip I’m about to share on using Twitter is so powerful. It can help you find clients and hear what people are saying about your product or service in real time.

The best part about this is it takes all of 30 minutes a week. So when you hear about the ROI of social media, well, it’s right here with this simple and profound tip.

What exactly is it?

The Search Function!

In SEO people search your business. But with Twitter, you can actually seek them out.

It’s like reverse engineering in a way and why I call it the opposite of SEO. Make sense?

Depending on how big your market and reach are, using the search function will make way to larger results. If you’re a small business in a small town, you should still see results.

So what do you do?

  1. You create a list of terms or words (much like you would with doing keyword research in SEO) that people might talk about when using or looking for your product or service.
  2. Then you head to the advanced Twitter search function and enter those terms (one at a time)
  3. Place your city location(s) you’re targeting or do business in
  4. Hit search
  5. Then make sure to click all (see second image below)

Powerful Twitter strategy

After you hit submit be sure to click on all to see all Tweets with your keyword of phrase in it.

Powerful Twitter strategy


Here’s a couple of examples of how you can use this.

I already talked about how Victoria realtor Scott Garman used Twitter when he moved to a new city and was looking for clients.

He created a list of words people might using when buying or selling a home. A couple of words were:

  • realtor
  • house for sale
  • home
  • moving
  • house value

I also chatted with our newest clients The Wonderdogs a few weeks back on ways they could use Twitter.

Let’s say they wanted find people who needed dog training in Victoria. They could search for terms like:

  • dog barking
  • dog misbehaving
  • dog trouble
  • dog command

If they wanted to look for potential clients who need doggy day care in Victoria, they could search for terms like:

  • doggy day care
  • dog kennel
  • pet hotel
  • dog care
  • dog boarding

Ben Kersen is also a international dog trainer. With this he could leave the “Places” form empty to search globally for these terms:

  • dog trainer
  • train dogs
  • learn to train dogs

The ROI of Social Media

Everyone who owns a business wants to know the ROI of social media. If you can afford 30 minutes a week or 5 minutes at the end of each day searching Twitter for the keywords people might mention when looking for your business, I’m sure you will see improved social media marketing results within 2 months.

Let me know if you have done this before and what type of results you have seen.


How much does SEO cost in Victoria BC?

SEO is an investmentBefore I begin I want to be clear on one thing. SEO is an investment.

It will bring your business more sales.

You have to spend a little to make a lot.

I also want to be clear that this post is for anyone anywhere looking into pricing for search marketing. We welcome clients from all over the planet not just Victoria.

So yesterday I got a phone call from someone asking how much our SEO Victoria BC service costs. It’s a question I get asked a lot. But it’s hard to answer right away.

So many things factor into our costs. It’s tough to do over the phone without seeing your website, your competitors and what the search rankings look like right now for your desired search terms.

A few of our current clients have told me about our competitors. During phone calls our competitors beat around the bush when it comes to costs.

I’ve found other companies aren’t very transparent. Our goal is to be fully transparent with the blog post.

So here is what factors into our costs and pricing structure.

1 – Your website

I had a call from the owner of He was telling me a competitor of ours wanted $1000 just to do a website audit of his site.

Yes taking a look at your current websites optimization and determining how much on site work is needed factors into our costs. But we do this free during our research when creating a strategy and proposal for you.

We then come up with a cost to better optimize your website for the search engines and searchers.

2 – Your current rankings

We then go to the search engines to see how visible your website is when it comes to relevant searches for your product or service.

3 – Your competition

If your search results are lacking, which is usually the case when contacting the best SEO company in Victoria BC, we then find out what your competition is doing to out rank you. So we go through their website to do an audit.

Then we find out what websites are linking back to them through a couple of software products we own. This is known as linking building/backlinking. We call it the human growth harmone of search engine optimization. This helps us figure out how much time it will take to outrank them.

These are the factors that determine how much our service costs. So it’s hard to have a standard costs as these three factors will vary from business to business.


There are hundreds of realtors in Victoria and only about a 20 used car dealers.