How to Use Yelp

Now that you know a bit about Yelp, including how to create an account on the website, it’s time to start using it!  This tutorial will teach you how to do some of the most common things that you’ll be doing on Yelp.

To start, go to in your web browser and log in.

How to Find a Specific Business

Say that you already know a little about a certain business, and you want to check their Yelp page for additional information, such as their hours of operation, where they’re located, or if they have a website.  Or maybe you just want to read the ratings and reviews to see if the place is any good.  In any case, it’s pretty easy to do.

At the top of the screen, there are two search boxes.  The one on the left, labelled “Find”, is for the name or type of business.  The one on the right, labelled “Near”, is for the location of the business.   We recommend starting with the box on the right, since by entering a location first, it will narrow down the names of businesses you find in the left box to those that are in that location.

Simply click in the right-hand box and type in where the business is located.  As you do so, Yelp will suggest places that might match what you’re trying to type in.  Click one to select it.

Now, click in the left box and type in the name of the business that you’re looking for.  Again, Yelp will give you suggestions on what might match your search terms.  Click a result with a picture beside it to go directly to that business’s page on Yelp.

It’s pretty much as simple as that!

Reading Ratings and Reviews

Once you get to a specific business’s page on Yelp, you can read the ratings and reviews for that business.  At the top of the page, under the business’s name, you can see their average rating (from 1 to 5 stars), and the number of reviews that were used to calculate that rating.  You can click Details to see a breakdown of the number of reviews that gave the business each score.

If you scroll down a little, you will see a section labelled “Recommended Reviews”.  This is where Yelp will show you the reviews that it thinks will be most helpful in deciding how to judge the business.  You can click the buttons under the heading to sort reviews by:

  • Yelp Sort: This will sort the reviews to have the ones that Yelp thinks are the fairest and most useful appear near the top.

  • Date: This sorts the reviews from latest to earliest.  Click this button again to reverse the order and show the earliest reviews first, followed by the latest ones.

  • Rating: This sorts the reviews from highest rating to lowest rating.  Click this button again to reverse the order and show reviews with the lowest ratings first, followed by ones with the highest ratings.

  • Elites: This will sort the reviews so that ones by Yelp’s “elite” users (i.e. those who post frequent, honest reviews and are otherwise very active on the website) will appear near the top.

You can also click in the box that says “Search Reviews” and type in a specific word or phrase that you’re looking to see in reviews.  Then click the search icon () to filter the reviews.

Finally, if there are reviews in multiple languages for this business, you can click the name of the language under the search box to see only reviews in that language.

Now, let’s look at an actual review.  You’ll notice there are three buttons along the bottom; you can click any of them to mark this review as Useful, Funny, or Cool.  Click the same button again to unmark it. 

You can mark as many or as few of them as you want.  You can also click the flag icon () to report this review if it contains foul language, offensive content, or something that’s otherwise fishy.

You’ll also notice options on the left-hand side, under the user’s details.  Click the respective option to:

  • Share Review: You can send a link to this review to someone via email, or post a link to it on your Facebook or Twitter account.

  • Compliment: This allows you to send a word of praise to this user, letting you choose what kind of endorsement you want to give them (e.g. their reviews are funny, they have a good profile picture, or you just want to say thanks for a helpful review), and then add some additional comments.  A compliment will show up on the user’s profile for all to see.

  • Send Message: This allows you to send a private message to this user by typing in a subject, and then what you want to say about that subject.  Nobody else but you and this user will be able to see the message.

  • Follow [user]: This allows you to receive notifications when this user posts a new review.  Click the button again to stop receiving notifications.


If there is a large enough quantity reviews for the same business, not all of them will appear on the same screen.  Scroll to the bottom of the screen to where it says “Page [X] of [Y]” and click the arrow buttons ( or )  to move forward or back a page of reviews.  You can also click one of the numbers here to skip immediately to that page of reviews; the black number with the blue box around it tells you what page of reviews you’re currently on.

You can also click [Z] Other Reviews That Are Not Currently Recommended to read some of the reviews that were filtered out by Yelp.  Just because Yelp doesn’t think they’re useful doesn’t mean that they won’t contain some insightful tidbits…

Anyway, those are some of the basics to reading ratings and reviews on Yelp!

How to Search for a Business by Category

Yelp’s search function has uses beyond helping you find a business that you already know about!  You can also use it to search for a certain category of business, and then use additional parameters to sort and narrow down what you’re looking for.

For example, let’s say you live in the Toronto, Canada area and are looking for a good plumber service.  Start by using the right search box to pick out your location.

Now, in the left search box, instead of typing in the specific name of a business, try typing in something general, like “plumbing”.  You can click one of the suggestions that appears that DOESN’T have a picture beside it, or you can click the search icon () to search for exactly what you typed in.

Now, when you get to the results page, click Show Filters (it will change to Hide Filters if they are already showing) to show options for sorting your results.  On the left, you can sort your results by:

  • Best Matches: the businesses whose information most closely matches your search terms

  • Highest Rated: the businesses with the highest ratings

  • Most Reviewed: the businesses that have been most frequently reviewed by Yelp’s users

You can click to check off or select the additional options at the top of the search page here to look for a business based on:

  • what neighbourhood it’s in

  • how far away it is from your current location

  • what features it offers (e.g. accepts credit cards, has parking available, is open now)

  • the category of service that Yelp classifies it as

When you’ve found a business that you like by using your sorting and filtering options, click on its name to go to its page on Yelp.

And that’s a quick tour of how to use some of the most common features of Yelp!