Whether you like it or not, consumers are going to read about your business on various review sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. That part is out of your hands. You’re not completely powerless, though. There are effective strategies for improving your reviews and ratings, such as monitoring reviews and responding to them appropriately. You also have control over the company information that appears on your business pages. Often, this is the first and potentially the only information customers see, so it's critical to optimize your business page on Yelp, Facebook, Google, and any other review sites where customers find you.

The key to optimizing your business page is to take control of the two aspects: your business photos and information. To do this, you first need to claim your business page on the sites where your business is most popular.

Once you’ve done that, you can log in to the control panel page on those sites, update your business information, and optimize your business profiles with the following strategies.

1. Upload photos that make your business look good

The first thing consumers are going to see when they find your page on a review site like Yelp or your Google Business Profile is the featured photos. This is a crucial opportunity to show potential visitors what your business is all about. Your goal should be to feature photos that show consumers what makes your business unique and fantastic.

Woman taking pictures of products at the location of her business, improving her chances on review sites.
Show off your business with well-composed photos

The best way to do this is to use images that convey your business’s personality, preferably through lifestyle shots that show off your location, your products or services, and your customers and staff. They need to look good, too. If need be, hire a professional photographer to get high-quality photos.

Some sites, like Facebook, will allow you to upload a variety of featured photos, such as a profile picture and cover image, or even a carousel of featured images. Other sites, like Yelp, might only let you upload your photos into the general queue of customer-generated photos and charge you a fee if you want to make your photos the feature images. In those situations, you’ll have to weigh the cost versus the benefits to decide whether it’s worth paying the fee.

Post high-quality images that are well-lit and in focus—if your photos look amateurish, potential customers will assume your business is amateurish.

2. Get the details right

Nearly all review sites let you edit your basic business information, including:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Business hours
  • Website

Make sure those details are correct and up to date. Beyond that, the various review sites will let you include additional details that give potential customers more information about your business. For example, Google and TripAdvisor ask what services or amenities your business offers, whereas Yelp asks about things like Wi-Fi availability and whether your business accepts credit cards and Apple Pay.

Make sure to fill this information out completely and accurately. If your business does not provide a certain feature—if you don’t sell alcohol, for example—make sure to specify “No” rather than leaving that item blank. This will minimize the chances of a customer walking into your business with unrealistic expectations and subsequently writing a negative review.

3. Tell your story

small business owner typing on laptop
Put thought and effort into writing a strong company story. Photo by Christin Hume / Unsplash

Each review site has different ways you can tell your story. Yelp lets you showcase your “Specialties” and “History,” Google and TripAdvisor have basic “Business Description” fields, and Facebook lets you include a written description and video story.

Like with everything else we’ve already discussed, you want to take advantage of these opportunities. The key here is to tell a compelling and short story. No one wants to read page after page about your business history from the Yelp app on their phone.

  • As you do with photographs, focus on telling customers what’s unique about your business and what value you can offer them
  • Make sure your description is well written and free of spelling and grammar errors
  • If need be, hire a freelance writer or editor to make your story pop

Your online profiles don’t have to look perfect, but they should definitely show your business personality, so don’t be afraid of creativity.

4. Keep your pages up to date

Every business has a peak season, slow periods, and other seasonal variations. Whether you're extending hours for the holidays, adding new products or services, or closing for a few days to give your staff a break, it's important to keep your customers up to date on review sites. Make sure to update your business listings any time you:

  • Change your business hours
  • Close your business for holidays
  • Add seasonal products, services, or menu items
  • Change your phone number or business location
  • Add or remove any other amenities customers may be looking for

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