| Mar 2, 2023 | | 8 min read

How to Leverage Yelp Check-In for Local SEO


Many local business owners may think their local SEO strategies begin and end at Google, but managing other listings also play a big part. If your clients are ignoring Yelp, they could be missing out on a key strategy to improve their local SEO. Over 178 million people visit Yelp every month, and Home and Local services are the most-reviewed businesses on the platform (TechJury).

Bad reviews on Yelp aren’t funny if your business is the butt of the joke. Download our churn study  “Why reputation management matters” now.

But it’s not enough just to have a business listing on Yelp. With a few tweaks, you can help your clients use features like Yelp Check-In offers to drive even better results for their local SEO. One of Yelp's most popular features, Check-In provides a convenient way for people to keep track of the businesses they've visited and share this information with friends. We’ll take a look at how you can start leveraging this feature for your clients to help build their relationships with their customers.

Why Yelp is still important for local SEO

Yelp is still a valuable resource for anyone looking to explore new places, find great local businesses, and make informed decisions based on the experiences of others. As a prominent local business listings website, Yelp provides an extensive database of local businesses including their location, hours of operation, contact information, and user-generated reviews and ratings.

Much like with a Google Business Profile, keeping your client’s customers engaged and business information consistent is key to their success in local SEO. With constant listing management, updating, and optimization across other online directories and platforms, including Yelp, you can help your clients build their presence and become more recognizable in Google’s local search algorithm.

What is Yelp Check-In?

Yelp Check-In is a feature in the Yelp app that allows users to check in to businesses they’ve visited. When customers check in, they can share their location and the name of the business they’re visiting with their friends on the platform or on social media. This is especially useful for local brick-and-mortar businesses who need to drive foot traffic from real customers, such as restaurants, bars, cafés, retail stores, beauty salons, and more.

How Yelp Check-In can help local businesses

Yelp Check-In is a convenient way for people to keep track of the places they have visited and let their network know what they like (or don’t like). It's also a valuable tool for businesses, as it helps to increase visibility (impacting local SEO) and build brand recognition.

Improved visibility

Yelp Check-Ins can also help your clients improve their visibility on Yelp, as the platform uses check-ins as a way to determine which businesses are popular and frequently visited. By encouraging customers to check in, businesses can demonstrate they’re popular and well-received by their customers, which can help to increase their visibility on the platform.

Increased awareness

That increased visibility can directly result in improved local SEO for your clients as well. When customers check in to a business and share this information with their friends and followers, it can help to increase awareness of the business and encourage others to visit. Yelp Check-In can also be a valuable tool for your clients to boost their local SEO, as the potential increase in user interactions can help search engines recognize that the business is active and credible.

Encourages reviews

Yelp also provides a place for users to leave reviews about the businesses they've visited, allowing other consumers to make informed decisions about which spots are worth their time and which aren’t. By encouraging users to check in and share their experiences, your clients can easily incentivize their customers to leave reviews and share their thoughts about the business.

One thing to note: Since Yelp is just one of many platforms customers can leave reviews, it’s a good idea for businesses to monitor reviews as part of their reputation management work.

Build credibility and customer relationships

Another way your clients can leverage Yelp Check-In is by using it to gain their customer’s trust and build real-life relationships that translate to continued business. This can also help build their credibility and increase the number of positive reviews for the business, which can have a significant impact on its Yelp visibility.

Rewarding customers for their interactions

Businesses can get the most out of the Yelp Check-In feature by creating a reward (like a certain discount or a free item) delivered straight to their app when they check in. Yelp Check-In offers can also incentivize reviews: 46% of Yelp users recommend products and services because of discounts and giveaways, compared with just 35% of regular social media users (Finances Online).

How customers use Yelp Check-In

Checking in at a business on Yelp can help customers keep track of where they’ve been and what they’ve experienced, as well as discover new businesses and experiences in their area.

How Yelp Check-In works for customers

Checking into a business on Yelp is simple for customers to do on their phone. All they have to do is:

  1. Download the Yelp app and create an account
  2. Search for the business you are visiting
  3. Select the option to check in
  4. Confirm your location and the business
  5. Share your check-in on social media and with friends (optional)

Why customers use Yelp Check-In

There are several reasons customers would want to use Yelp’s Check-In feature:

  • Rewards and discounts: Businesses can give add promotions for their customers through Yelp Check-In offers.
  • Connecting with people. The feature means folks can let friends and family know where they are and what they're up to, without the need for multiple apps or messages.
  • Building preferences. By checking in at various locations and leaving reviews, Yelp builds a more complete picture of your preferences and tastes, which can then be used to provide more personalized recommendations in the future.
  • Supporting their favorite businesses. Using Yelp to check in at local businesses is one way for people to support their favorite local spots at an even deeper level. Yelp Check-Ins can also help spread the word about a business and attract new customers.
  • Building Community. The Yelp community is made up of millions of users who come together to share their experiences and recommendations. By checking in at businesses and leaving reviews, people can become an active part of this community and connect with others who have similar interests.

How to set up Check-In Offers on Yelp

Yelp Check-In Offers allows your clients to add discounts or special promotions to reward customers who check in using the Yelp app. By checking in, customers can get more value from their visits to your client’s businesses.

  1. Clients can log into their Yelp for Business account,
  2. Click on the tab that says “Check-In Offers”
  3. Create an offer by setting the offer type (i.e. percentage off, dollars off, free item)

From there, your client can promote it to their customers through in-store signage, social media, email, or other marketing channels. It's a simple and effective way for businesses to connect with their customers, reward them for their loyalty, and drive new business.

How Businesses can leverage Yelp Check-In Offers

As we’ve mentioned, Yelp Check-In Offers are a great tool to help get more reviews, (and help combat bad Yelp reviews your customers may have), improve local SEO, and build relationships with current customers. Here’s how you can start leveraging this feature for your clients:

  • Offer discounts: Offer a discount or special deal to customers who check in using the Yelp app. This can be a percentage off their total purchase, a free item, or any other type of offer that incentivizes customers to check-in.
  • Build customer loyalty: By offering Yelp Check-In offers, businesses can encourage customers to come back more frequently, which can help to build customer loyalty.
  • Sharing check-ins via social media: When customers check in at a business, the check-in is visible to their friends and followers on Yelp, as well as compatible social media platforms like Twitter.
  • Encourage positive reviews: By offering an incentive for customers to check in, businesses can encourage customers to leave a positive review after their visit, which can help improve your client’s overall rating on Yelp.
  • Promotions for visiting the business: By offering Check-In Offers, businesses can encourage more customers to visit their location, which can help drive foot traffic and increase sales.

Frequently asked questions

What does checked in mean on Yelp?

Checking in on Yelp is simply letting people know you’re at a specific business through the Yelp app. When you check in, it updates your profile to show that you're at that business and also notifies your friends and followers on Yelp if you have any. Checking in on Yelp can be done by opening the Yelp app, searching for the business, and tapping the "Check-In" button.

What are Yelp business accounts used for?

In addition to its local business directory and review functionality, Yelp also offers features that business owners can use for promotion and communication. Some of these features include event listings, deals, and a mobile app for checking in at businesses and leaving reviews on the go.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

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