Based on my research, discussions with Yelp employees and experience advertising my company on Yelp, I put together a list of the major factors which determine your organic position in Yelp search results.
1. Number of reviews and amount of stars. You need reviews with many stars to get into the top 10 position in search results. You need at least 10 five-star reviews. The most valuable reviews are from “Elite” members – active Yelp users, whose reviews are marked as funny or useful by other Yelp users. It is also important to have new reviews coming in frequently.
2. Keyword relevant reviews. More important than keywords in the content, you need keywords in reviews, so ask your clients to use “web designer”, “web design” and “web developer” in their review. Ask customers for feedback on Yelp as soon as the project is completed and the client is satisfied. You can also write keyword rich responses to reviews.
3. Business categories. You should select: Web Design, Marketing, Graphic Design.
4. Keywords in company name. Keywords in the name of a business has a huge impact, but Yelp is very strict with this and will not let you add “web design” to your company name.
5. Complete and thorough profile. Fill out all the available sections on your profile and make sure you have well written, keyword rich content. Remove any duplicate listings for your company.
6. Photos. Have a minimum of 6 photos. Make sure at least one photo shows you and your team.
7. Location. Make sure you are located in the middle of your city :).
8. Listing Age. The age of your listing is extremely important. From what I saw, you won’t see your listing on the search results unless you are there at least 5 months.
9. Yelp Deals/Call to Action. Paying for advertising does not impact your organic visibility. However, your ad may rank slightly better if you have a call to action option available or run a ‘Yelp Deal’
10. Contact Information. Be sure to include your current phone number and address.
11. Hours. List your working hours as 24/7.
12. Business Recommendations. This is an option available on your business profile – try to find some business owners who will recommend your businesses to their customers.