How to Use Yelp's "Trending Search Terms" to Optimize Your Profile & Ads

Business owners in top industries such as Dental have recently been receiving a new communication from Yelp called "Trending Search Terms." These emails are intended to help advertisers target new terms with their ads but can be used to optimize your free profile listings as well through a small, key implementations. Here we share some ideas for how to leverage this new data.

November 11, 2022

What are Yelp's Trending Search Terms Emails?

Earlier this year some small business owners with a Yelp business account began to receive periodic emails from Yelp with the subject line: "this week's trending search terms for [city]." These notifications, at the moment only apply to some business profiles in certain industries (such as dentistry) and business owner accounts who have the upgraded user interface. Regardless of if you have recently received these emails or not, it safe to assume that Yelp will start to roll out these emails to more and more industries throughout 2023. Although this article deals primarily with the dental industry, the logic and strategies discussed can be applied to Yelp profiles nearly across the board.

Below you will see a screenshot from a recent notification for a Southern Californian dental practice in which six "trending" terms are identified.

Yelp's Trending Search Terms Email Screenshot

How to Identify Candidate Terms for Which to Optimize your Profile

Yelp's trending searches will vary with each email so it's not essential to optimize around each and every term they show but rather pick and choose the ones that make sense for your individual practice. In the case of the above screenshot we only see a few that might be usable, a few that are too general to take any actionable insight from, and a few that may or may not apply to the unique attributes of your practice or staff.

  • "Chinese Dentist" - Obviously this will only be applicable to dental practices that have a Chinese DDS on staff, and the searcher intent is likely for one that speaks Mandarin or Cantonese.
  • "Hmo Dentist" - Like the above search term, "Hmo Dentist" will only apply to certain dental practices, namely those that accept this type of insurance.
  • "Dental Office" - This term is likely too general and can be ignored.
  • "Dentist Open Saturday" - If your office is indeed open on Saturdays, it's good to note that Yelp users are interested in finding you!
  • "Holistic Dentist" - This is a great term to optimize around if holistic dentistry is part of your practice and philosophy. Read on for some ideas for how to implement this term into your profile.
  • "Dental" - Like "Dental Office" this term is too general and can also be ignored.

Implementations on Your Free Yelp Listing

From the above terms we see that a majority are likely practice-specific and two others are too general. For the sake of this guide we'll assume that two of these trending terms apply to a fictional dental practice and now discuss ways to implement "Chinese Dentist" and "Dentist Open on Saturday" into its profile and Yelp Ads to take advantage of these trends in Yelp searches.

Lost near the bottom of Yelp's email is a very clear recommendation to include these trending search terms in photo captions and tags, so we'll take their recommendation and start here with improving our profile. For all the below optimizations, start by logging into your Business Yelp Account ( on your desktop or through the Yelp for Business App.


How to find: Go to Photos and Videos in the left-hand sidebar. Click to add a new photo, or edit an existing photo by hovering your mouse over a photo and clicking the pencil icon.

In the below example, we've chosen to upload a photo for the fictional Doctor Elizabeth Chen, from China. We've mentioned specifically in the photo caption that Dr. Chen is "originally from China" and "speaks Mandarin." A more optimized caption might be "Chinese Dentist Elizabeth Chen DDS" but we find this to be a less elegant solution, even if more closely matching the trending search term we are targeting. Use your own discretion in how you add or edit captions for photos.

Yelp Photo Caption Screenshot

The "About the Owner" and Business Description Section

How to find: Go to Business Information in the left-hand sidebar and once selected, scroll to the very bottom and look for "Add intro", or if a business owner profile already exists, look for an edit button next to "Meet the Business Owner."

From here you will be able to upload a square owner photo, input their first name, role at the business and some personal bio details. This is a great section to insert both keywords from Yelp's new trending searches data or keywords that you know are important to the business in general. Here we chose to indicate that Dr. Chen is originally from China and we may want to consider listing that she speaks Mandarin.

Important to note, there are specific language options in the Business Highlights (a paid feature) and additional non-paid sections such as the business History or Specialities, found in the same section are also great opportunities to try to incorporate trending keywords. It really doesn't matter as all three fields allow for paraphrases of text and can usually fit in natural language surrounding target keywords.

Yelp Meet the Owner Screenshot with Trending Search term

In the case of Saturday hours, the solution is even more obvious. Simply select business information from the left-hand sidebar and edit the office hours to include Saturdays. This signal, alone should be enough to trigger your profile for Saturday-related searches. If your practice is only open on select Saturdays, mark your business as open on Saturday and then use the "Upcoming Special Hours" section to notate all the upcoming Saturdays in which your office will be closed.

User Reviews

This is obviously going to be the most difficult way to optimize your profile around trending search terms, but due to the way Yelp's (or even Google's) algorithm is setup, business owners should always be thinking of ways to incorporate not only trending search terms, but also core target keywords into your user reviews. However, since it is against Yelp's guidelines to ask for reviews, and even worse, to ask for reviews with specific wording, you're best opportunity is to give your customers written prompts or subtle hints for what to write about. By reminding them to write about which doctor they saw or which procedures were performed during their visit, target keywords will follow rather than basic descriptors like "great, amazing etc." We will cover this in detail in an upcoming article. For now, it's important to know that keywords within reviews will have an impact on how your business shows up in Yelp's organic search results.

Implementations to Your Paid Yelp Ads or Enhanced Profile

Until now we have covered free features within Yelp's business owner accounts but for practices looking to either enhance their profile, or get featured in the "Sponsored" section of the search results list, paid Yelp Ads also afford an opportunity to make your profile keyword rich and highly targeted. Some of the enhanced features, such as Business Portfolios and Call to Action links work great for this purpose.

Business Portfolios

We recently wrote in detail about Yelp Portfolios and how to optimize them for additional search real estate and to showcase your projects and services. Although this paid enhancement is intended for home service businesses to showcase their projects and portfolios, at the end of the day Portfolios are just a collection of photos and text with the option for a call-to-action button and optional budget and timeframe information. For this reason, they can be used for nearly any purpose, including creating a portfolio around trending search terms.

How to find/create: Go to the Portfolio section of your business owner dashboard in the left-hand sidebar. After clicking this element you have the option to "Add a new project". After selecting this you will be taken to a new screen where you can fill out several fields describing the project.

If we're promoting our Mandarin-speaking dentist, Dr. Chen we might fill out the ensuing fields like this:

  • Name of Project: Meet our Multi-lingual Staff
  • Add Photos: Post a photo of Dr. Chen with the caption "Elizabeth Chen DDS graduated in 2012 from USC and speaks fluent Mandarin."
  • Add a Description: "We invite you to meet some of the best dental professionals in the area. Our staff is pleased to serve guests and all members of the community. In office we have several dentists who speak Mandarin, Spanish and Arabic."

Call-to-Action Links (CTA)

Although this paid enhancement is usually used for promotions, to highlight free consultations or, more recently to discuss COVID-19 services, it can really be used for any purpose. A Call to Action (CTA) is simply a combination of a few words of text, a link and a button leading to desired "action." We recommend experimenting with different CTA's to promote your practice and measuring the results periodically to see which ones are most effective.

For this exercise, we're going to create a Call to Action that advertises Saturday hours.

How to find/create: Go to Call to Action in the left-hand sidebar, then select "Create my own Call to Action". Change the description to "We're Open Saturdays!" and the Call to Action pulldown menu to "Schedule now". You will then be prompted to choose whether to send customers to a page on your website (perhaps an appointments page) or "to my phone", in which they will be prompted with your telephone number. You may then chose to schedule an end date for your CTA. Lastly, click "Set Call to Action."

Yelp Call to Action Screenshot

Positive and Negative Keywords

If you're running Yelp Ads (cost-per-click ads) to show up in the Sponsored Results of the search results list then, boosting trending keywords is a fairly straight-forward process and one worth exploring. This optimization to your ads account will instruct Yelp to boost your ad distribution within trending search phrases such as "Chinese Dentist" or "Dentist Open on Saturday".

How to find/create: Go to Yelp Ads in the left-hand sidebar of your business account. Once within the Ads dashboard scroll all the way down until you see "Keywords" and select "Manage Keywords". This will open a dialogue box that will allow you to see all the keywords your ads are targeting, select negative keywords to exclude and boost additional keywords. Simply enter the trending search terms you would like to boost and save your changes.

Yelp Ads Keywords and Negative Keywords Screenshot


While optimization of your Yelp profile for trending search terms might take some work and creativity, the payoff could be well worth your time. A dental professional who speaks Mandarin, for example could – with a few small tweaks – open up their Yelp profile to Yelp users of Chinese heritage looking for a doctor that speaks their language and can more accurately address their concerns in their native language. And as we know, new patients are often acquired through word-of-mouth or family referrals so the lifetime value of one new patient and their referrals acquired through these techniques could quickly more than pay for the 30-60 minutes it takes to implement some of these optimizations!

Need additional help? Consider partnering with an Authorized Yelp Partner to optimize your profile and campaign!