Advertising on Yelp is a Terrible Idea

Original jSinger Digital Marketing Tips & Commentary

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“Yelp.” Just saying that word has frustrated dozens of my clients. Yelp is relentless with sales, and consistently promotes bad reviews over good reviews. Still, most of my clients at one time or another have advertised with Yelp. There are directory websites like this for every industry. For example, Home Advisor and Angie’s List are well known home improvement directories. helps you find a lawyer. ZocDoc is for doctors and dentists. caters to insurance brokers. Yelp is used primarily for restaurants and entertainment.

Don’t Advertise with Directory Websites

Directory websites are middle men. With the money thousands of businesses pay them, they rank well on Google, or pay for ads to be at the top. In itself, this is a working model. But let’s get in the mind of someone searching Google for a plumber nearby. You know there are hundreds. You may do a search like the one shown here, “plumber near me.” Look at the top 4 results: Yelp, Home Advisor and Angie’s List. Each of these brings you to a NEW list of thousands. That’s repeating a step you just did. And there are three sites to review. That’s a lot of work, and it is exasperating.

I believe most people will click on No. 4 – the first actual company name they see.

Black Diamond also happens to be a well-known company that I know from radio┬ácommercials and billboard ads. They also optimized their website well – note it shows Hoffman Estates, which is near my office as I did this search. Now THAT earns my click.

Black Diamond, in my opinion, has the best case scenario. They are the No. 1 ranked individual business. They don’t need to pay the three directory sites above them. They’ll get plenty of organic clicks each day. They at some point made an investment in a solid website, and had a knowledgeable and effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) company that got the job done.

Exceptions for Niche Industries

There is one exception to my advice of not advertising with directories. If you have a very specific, niche product that people may not search on their own, you may need to bolster your visibility. A good example is, which I’m familiar with because of my good friend at Getting in the mind of someone searching for someone to paint a school or business mural, they might not expect to find websites for individual artist. So, getting to and entering your location to find artists near you can be a big help, and lead to business for the artists.