Yelp announces new features for services businesses, including custom search filters, a new review flow and themed ads
The new features may help Yelp differentiate itself from other reviews platforms, at least for users looking for services businesses.
On Tuesday, Yelp announced new features for services businesses and the users that may be looking for them, including custom search filters, a new review flow, themed ads and Project Cost Guides.
Custom search filters for services. New search filters for service queries enable users to filter for fast-responding businesses, businesses that provide virtual consultations or businesses that specialize in a specific type of job or repair.
These filters can be found for services like movers, plumbers, HVAC, auto repair, roofing, real estate agents, home cleaners, painters, electricians, landscaping, pest control and flooring.
Themed ads. Yelp is introducing a new feature for services businesses that are running search ads. Themed ads highlight aspects of a business that may differentiate them from competitors.
Current themes include highlighting “fast-responding” businesses that reply to Request-A-Quote projects within two hours and businesses that provide special offers. Businesses are selected to appear in themed ads based on their unique offerings and the kinds of jobs they specialize in. There is no additional cost to be highlighted in themed ads and Yelp plans to roll out additional themes over time.
Generating more reviews for services businesses. When customers submit a project with Yelp’s Request-A-Quote, the platform will now use the submitted information to prompt users to write reviews. To start, Yelp prompts the user with a series of questions to kick off the review writing process (as shown below).
New Project Cost Guides. Yelp’s Project Cost Guides provide information and tips on what hiring a professional for a given project might entail. Each guide contains a pop-up form (“Get personalized quotes from top pros”) that can be used to input project details to obtain quotes from service providers.
The guides also feature an estimated cost, based on Yelp data from millions of Request-A-Quote projects. However, as the small print states, “Cost estimates are calculated in the aggregate for informational purposes only and may not reflect the nature of your specific requirements,” which may limit their usefulness for users. Further down the page (below the estimated cost and tips), users are presented with a list of businesses that provide the associated service near them (shown below).
“Service businesses with Request-A-Quote enabled, regardless of advertiser status, are shown at the bottom of Yelp Project Cost Guide pages,” Akhil Kuduvalli Ramesh, Yelp’s VP of consumer product, told Search Engine Land, “We are leveraging valuable data and information from businesses to help inform which services businesses appear, including a business’s average response time, if they’ve indicated Business Highlights, have a Verified License, and more.”
There are cost guides for services in the following categories: home services, local services, automotive, event planning & services, pets, professional services, financial services, hotels and leisure, shopping as well as dedicated cost guides for specific services in numerous major cities.
Why we care. Custom search filters for services can help users save time by showing them the businesses that specialize in what they’re looking for.
Themed ads may provide more visibility for businesses that fall into one of the themes Yelp offers. Additionally, businesses featured in “fast responding” themed ads saw a nearly 10% decrease in cost per lead, according to data from Yelp’s early experiments.
Reviews are crucial for most local businesses — 87% of consumers look at reviews for automotive businesses, 86% look at them for repairs and 82% check them for plumbing and HVAC, according to a 2020 BrightLocal study. Yelp’s new review flow may help reduce the friction when it comes to writing reviews, which may, in turn, help local services businesses improve their visibility on Yelp.
Some of these features are unique to Yelp, which may differentiate it as a reviews platform for users — at least, with regards to local services businesses — and help it continue to compete against Google and other reviews platforms.