UPDATE: Here are the details of the Yelp & AdWords matching beta from Google.
We are doing a 1% experiment of Reviews on Ads in which we match ads to reviews on various 3rd party sites, and display links to the review in a separate section in the ad. Advertisers cannot opt-into this experiment, but know that all eligible ads are being included. Currently, through the beta, clicks on these reviews are not being charged.
This morning Search Engine Land posted a brief article and screen shots of Google AdWords reviews that included a Yelp rating at the bottom of the ad. Similar to the authors of the article I was unable to find a search result that had the Yelp ratings, but would not be surprised if I did start seeing this more frequently in the near future. For local businesses running PPC advertising, it’s becoming even more critical to know what your customers are saying about you online.
Here’s the deal – you’re buying ads from Google because you want your business to be found. So you pick out your keywords and your ads are showing and driving traffic to your site and you’re a happy business owner. But lets say that you have completely ignored your business reviews on a site like Yelp (or CitySearch or Google) and maybe there are less than favorable comments on your Yelp page. If your Google ad shows at the top of the page with only 2 stars from Yelp, I’m going to be a lot less likely to click through from your ad. These changes are going to force smart business owners to be proactive about their Yelp listings specifically and address any major problems directly.
If you’re unfamiliar with Yelp – change that. If your business is listed in Yelp you can claim it as your own just like any other local business listing. Business owners can then follow up with unhappy customers as they see fit and try to remedy any situations that sound like it could have been a one time fluke. Or look at the bigger picture of how their business is run if the same problems are being repeated by multiple Yelpers. With the mass influence of review sites and social media, every business needs to be in the customer service industry if they want to survive.
Hopefully we’ll find out some additional information about how these advertisers are selected. We’ll keep you posted as we find out more. In the meantime, go see what people are saying about your business and take action!