In order to maximize your chances of appearing at the top of Yelp search results, it’s crucial to apply strategies similar to traditional SEO practices. Simply relying on automated Yelp marketing without actively engaging in optimization efforts will likely result in limited success.

Here are a few steps you can take to better optimize your Yelp Profile

(Note: In our list below, we will use a pest control company as an example in the notes.)

Select the Appropriate Service Category

It may seem obvious, but many mistakenly assign an incorrect business category not only on Yelp but also on other platforms. It is essential to double-check and verify that your business is listed under the appropriate industry category.

Example: Pest Control

Compile a List of Targeted Keywords

Generate a list of keywords that you aim to rank for on Yelp. Remember, your desired keywords could extend beyond the highly competitive terms in your industry. Collect a diverse array of keywords from this brainstorming session and prioritize those that offer the greatest potential for attracting new customers. Keep the remaining keywords handy for potential future use.


  • Pest Control
  • Termite Control
  • Termite Inspecitions
  • Ant Control
  • Cockroach Control
  • Residential
  • Spiders

Enhance Your Listing with Targeted Keywords

Now that you have your list of keywords, it’s time to strategically incorporate them throughout your listing. Pay particular attention to integrating these keywords into the Specialties section of your Yelp profile. The Yelp search engine places significant emphasis on this section, so maximizing the presence of your keywords within it is essential.

It’s crucial to ensure that your keyword integration appears organic and natural, similar to regular SEO practices. Avoid excessive keyword stuffing or listing specialties without constructing complete sentences. Strive for a marketing tone that is conversational to avoid appearing as spam.

Obtain Reviews Incorporating Your Keywords

Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews that include keywords relevant to your core products or services. This approach provides your business with the added advantage of having keyword-rich content generated by third-party reviewers. Yelp’s search algorithm scans reviews for keywords, making this strategy highly effective.

Example: “If you leave a review could you please note the service and the technician. It will go a long way to showing them support.”

Complete Your Profile in its Entirety

Ensure that every aspect of your Yelp profile is complete. Similar to other platforms like LinkedIn, Yelp strongly favors profiles that provide comprehensive information. Thoroughly review each section of your profile and strive to make it as complete as possible. Include relevant details such as photos, videos, directions, address, and full text descriptions.

Removing Filters on Positive Reviews

Yelp continuously monitors its platform for fraudulent activities. However, at times, the system can be overly cautious and inadvertently filters out positive reviews that should be visible.

Typically, such reviews are flagged because the user hasn’t fully completed their profile. This triggers the system to suspect that someone might be crafting a fake review.

To address this issue, you can reach out to the reviewer on Yelp, express gratitude for their positive feedback, and kindly request them to complete their Profile section.

Example: “Thank you for your positive review! It really helps us. Unfortunatly it looks like your profile was never completed. If you can, please complete the process. We’d love to be able to share it with our customers and clients.”

Responding to Reviews

If your business has received negative reviews on Yelp, it is advisable to proactively address them. Reach out to the individual who left the negative review and offer them a gesture of goodwill. Their perception may change, leading to an updated or even a removal of the unfavorable review. Don’t forget to naturally use keywords in your responses if possible.

A Quick Yelp Optimization Checklist

  • List the appropriate business category / correct business address / Business name
  • Naturally write keywords into your Specialties Section, Image descriptions, and bios.
  • Ask happy customers for Yelp Reviews (encourage keywords)
  • Respond to each Yelp review (include keyword)
  • “Thank” each review (thank box)
  • Update your Yelp page monthly with a photo or updated text
  • Name your image files and describe them with keywords
  • Write a professional “about the owner” with a photo
  • Geotag some images
  • Have an image uploaded for each section or service
  • Upload video