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Yelp Video Reviews

According to Moz's 2013 Local Search Ranking Factors survey, the quantity of reviews by authority reviewers (e.g.Yelp Elite, Multiple Places Reviewers, etc), is the #3 "competitive difference maker." So when an authority site like Yelp rolls out a new feature to add video content to reviews, small businesses and marketers should take note.

Although it's too early to tell, video-enhanced reviews may very well add an additional layer of quality/authority, which could increase the overall impact of the review within the context of search engines.

As reported by Business Insider, Yelp added the new feature to their mobile app to allow Yelpers the ability to leave a short 3 to 12 second video snippet along with their review. While the feature is currently only available to “Elite” users, it’s expected to roll out to all users at a later date.

Yelp’s mobile product manager, Madhu Prabaker is quoted as saying, "It will be a reward for businesses that go to great lengths to achieve a certain ambiance, whether by having a certain lighting or the music at just the right level."

This could end up being either a really good thing, or a bad thing -- or both.

From a local search engine marketing perspective, the competitive upside of having video-enhanced reviews is noteworthy. But, as with any customer review feature, be prepared—the right video could create quite a buzz, whereas a poor quality or critical video can draw increased attention to certain lackluster aspects of a business. The prospect of a video review should certainly put restaurateurs on their toes.

Currently in beta, here’s a few screenshots provided by Business Insider:

Yelp Video Reviews Screenshot

Each video clip will be limited to up to 12 seconds:

Yelp Video Reviews Screenshot 2

You will be able to select a cover photo and leave a caption:

Yelp Video Reviews Screenshot 3

Yelp will make sure no appropriate photos/videos make it through by utilizing their photo filter algorithm they currently have in place:

Yelp Video Reviews Screenshot 4

As more Yelpers add and rate videos the most helpful ones will rise to the top:

Yelp Video Reviews Screenshot 5

If the Yelp Elite is quick to adopt this new feature it may have the legs to take off. How easy or difficult it will be to remove or report a video remains unclear, however.

Will Yahoo! Local and other search engines be featuring this content? Will Google+ be rolling out a similar feature? We’ll see.