Yelp offering more paid profile upgrades for business owners

Yelp is introducing a range of new paid-promotional tools for business owners to give them more control over how they appear to users. They are also non-advertising, revenue-generating products for Yelp. The new products are intended primarily to help business owners but also bring more value and utility to consumers as well.

This comes on the heels of a Google announcement that introduced new GMB promotional tools for business owners last week.

Verified license redUX. The first of the Yelp offerings, Yelp Verified License, was actually introduced in March. Yelp manually checks whether companies are licensed in their respective categories and in good standing. Listings with a verified license carry a prominent blue badge, which appears on their profiles. This costs $1 per day. 

The company says that businesses with the Verified License badge see more engagement, including clicks, calls, and map lookups. Verified License is still only available in selected categories and states, including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, Texas and Washington.

Business Upgrades: Verified License, Highlights, Portfolio

Yelp Business Page Upgrades

Business Highlights and Portfolio. The other two new profile features being introduced are “Business Highlights” and “Portfolio,” shown above.

Business Highlights enable owners to pick from roughly 30 icons that describe or help promote their businesses. Two self-selected icons will appear in Yelp search results. The idea here is to help the business differentiate and enable newer businesses without many reviews stand out and gain consideration. Among the options are “family owned,” “results guaranteed,” “years in business,” “veteran owned” and “free wifi,” among others.

Google My Business offers a number of similar “attributes,” though not as many as Yelp is now presenting.

The third new product is Portfolio, which allows business owners to showcase projects they’ve done, such as home remodeling or landscape design. Yelp is allowing unlimited project photos for subscribers. There’s also request a quote and chat functionality connected with these pages. The project images allow for custom descriptions.

More customization and bundled pricing. Yelp says and believes this will help business owners more effectively promote their work but also better qualify customers by proving more content and information. Portfolio and Business Highlights each cost $2 per day. However, there’s bundled pricing with multiple products. (A forthcoming self-service profile customization flow with additional options is shown in the video below.)

Business owners can access these new subscription products on the Yelp for Business Owners site.

Why we should care. Google and Yelp are both enabling more customization for business owners. In Yelp’s case, this is a revenue-generating option (it may become one for Google). In the absence of bundled pricing, a business buying Verified License, Business Highlights and Portfolio would be paying roughly $1,000 a year, not a significant amount for the business owner but in the aggregate a potentially meaningful new revenue source for Yelp.

As more business owners opt for paid customization to stand out, it will put pressure on their competitors to do so as well.

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About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He researches and writes about the connections between digital and offline commerce. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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