What Is Yelp And How Does It Work?

Yelp is a super-popular business directory used worldwide

Businesswoman eating a salad and counting its calories with a calorie counter app on her iPhone
Using a calorie counter app is the easiest way to keep track of what food you eat.

 Westend61

If you've ever searched for restaurant reviews on the internet, odds are you visited Yelp. It's a lot of people's go-to when looking for a place to eat. But, it's a lot more than that. Here's what you need to know.

What Is Yelp?

Founded in 2004, Yelp is a popular online directory for discovering local businesses ranging from bars, restaurants, and cafes to hairdressers, spas, and gas stations.

How Does Yelp Work?

You can search Yelp via its website or with the official apps on iOS and Android smart devices. Listings are sorted by business type and results are filtered by geographical location, price range, and unique features like outdoor seating, delivery service, or the ability to accept reservations.

Yelp has a strong social aspect and encourages its users to leave written reviews, star ratings, and photos of their experience with each business they visit.

Each Yelp account has a friends list that can be populated by connecting the app with Facebook and a smartphone or tablet's address book. Reviews posted on Yelp can also be reviewed by other users, while popular reviewers have the potential to be promoted to Yelp Elite status.

How To Write A Review On Yelp

Here's how to write a Yelp review so you can rate local eateries and other businesses. The method differs slightly depending on whether you're using the web or mobile version of Yelp.

How to Write a Review on the Yelp Website

To write a review on the Yelp website:

  1. Search for the name of the business you want to review via the search bar and select it.

    Use the search bar to find restaurants and businesses on Yelp
  2. Select Write a Review.

    You can leave a review for a business on Yelp
  3. You should see five grayed out star icons. Select them to rate the business out of five stars.

  4. Type your written Yelp review. You can view other recent reviews of this business on the right-hand side.

    You can change your star rating at any time on this screen by tapping on the star icons.

    Leaving a review for The Mob Museum on Yelp
  5. Select Upload if you want to attach an image to your review.

  6. Drag and drop your image into the box or select Browse to locate the image. Type a short description of its content.

  7. Feel free to make any final changes to your review. You can also add more photos by repeating the above steps.

    When you're ready, select Post Review.

How to Write a Yelp Review on Android and iOS

Posting a review on the Yelp app works similarly to posting on the website, but there are some noticeable differences.

  1. Search for the name of the business you want to review via the search bar in the Yelp app and select it.

  2. Select Start a review...

  3. You should see five grayed out star icons. Select them to rate the business out of five stars.

    Reviewing a business in the iPhone Yelp app.
  4. Type your written Yelp review. Select the Star icon to see previous reviews.

  5. Select the Camera icon to attach photos.

    The Yelp app asks for permission to access your device's photos the first time you do this. Tap OK.

  6. Choose an existing photo or select Take Photo to record a new image from within the app.

  7. Choose the photo you want to add to your review and select Next.

    Reviewing a business in the iPhone Yelp app.
  8. Type a short description of the photo's content. Select Next.

    This information is used to categorize your photo on Yelp.

  9. Feel free to make any final changes to your review. You can also add more photos by repeating the above steps. When you're ready, select Post Review.

    Reviewing a business in the iPhone Yelp app.

Your review should now be live on the business' Yelp profile. Your photo will need to be processed before it's published, though. This can take up to a day.

How To Add A Business On Yelp

It's sometimes hard to locate the correct listing for a business on Yelp. Maybe the company changed its address, or maybe it simply isn't in Yelp's directory yet. Fortunately, anyone can add a new business to Yelp. Here's how to do so using the Yelp app.

New businesses can also be added via the Yelp website by filling in this form.

  1. Open the Yelp app and tap the More icon on the bottom right.

  2. Select Add Business.

  3. Select I work at the business if you work for this business or if you're the owner. For these instructions though, we assume you're a customer wanting to check-in and review a location, so select I'm a customer.

  4. Fill in as much information on the business as you can.

    Name, address, and business category are compulsory but taking the time to add the business' hours, phone number, website address, and any other information you have can improve your submission's chances of being accepted.

  5. When you're finished, hit Send. If your new business submission is approved, it should go live on the Yelp apps and website within one to two days.

    It's not guaranteed Yelp will accept a new business submission. Each submission can take up to two days to be manually approved and it could be rejected if some of the information is incorrect.