There are many review sites out there, but few as powerful and trusted by users as Yelp. It has longevity on its side and the brand has been built in customers’ minds. This means having your business seen positively on Yelp is important.
There’s one common obstacle that business owners face: filtered yelp reviews.
Yelp’s review filter is a double-edged sword. Because it is stricter, it does a better job than other review sites at keeping away competitors who would like to lower your average to make themselves look better. However, it also filters out a lot of the legitimate good reviews that your business needs to stand out on the platform.
The team here at Objection Co understands this frustration all too well. We are not immune to having half of our great reviews filtered away by Yelp’s stringent policies.
You aren’t helpless, though. We’ve put together this article to help you successfully get as many reviews out of the filter as possible.
How Filtered Yelp Reviews Work
The first thing to understand is that Yelp wants reviews and content on their site. They are not filtering things out just to be mean. They do this because while they want content on their site, they also need that content to be trusted by their users.
When you go to ask a group of people for advice on a restaurant, you will trust some people more than others. You’ll trust the person you know over the person you don’t, and the person who goes to a lot of restaurants over the person who rarely goes out.
Yelp evaluates their users and their activity in a similar way so they can decide what reviews have the most value for their users and then they recommend certain reviews over others accordingly. In Yelp’s video on their filtering policies, they explain that they are looking for users with a history of quality, reliability and varied user activity.
What Users Get Filtered?
There are a few common criteria for users who end up with their reviews filtered, or not recommended. For example, someone who has only ever written one review, or has no profile information filled out.
- If the review is a total rant or a glowing recommendation.
- If the review is very short and lacking information.
- If the post is made from somewhere other than where the business is located. If a review is posted from inside the business, that indicates the customer is there visiting as they write the review.
It’s important to note that as a user’s activity changes, their past reviews may pop up into the recommended reviews with time.
The Legitimate Reviews Do Get Filtered Out
At Objection Co, we always tell our clients to stop marketing and be remarkable. The better experience you are providing, the better the reviews will keep coming in.
But as you can see in the criteria above, if your customer is a new Yelp reviewer, their review is more likely to be filtered out. This is made worse when, as they just signed up to review for you, they are less likely to take the time to fill out their profile. They also (hopefully) wanted to write you a glowing review, and as its their only one, it makes the post looked suspicious to Yelp.
This is the frustration of the system. We can’t change it, we can only find ways to work with it.
Help The Legitimate Reviews Get Through
When someone posts a review for your business there are things you can do to help their posts get through.
Having more activity on the review and the user’s account will help their new account become established in the Yelp system.
To help this along, you can do things like:
- Friend the reviewer’s account
- Vote on the review as “Useful” and/or possibly “Funny” if it applies.
- Write a response to the review.
- Send the reviewer a nice message.
- Some of the other employees at your organization can also do things from this list to promote more activity.
Inform Your Customers About Establishing Yelp Accounts
Customers also find it frustrating that their reviews are filtered by Yelp. They want to know why. It is helpful to tell your customers how Yelp works and the things they can do to establish a healthy Yelp account.
In your newsletter, on your social media pages, or in person, you can tell your customers that the more reviews they leave the more trusted their user accounts will be on Yelp. Once they have a healthy number of friends and have left 100 reviews, they’ll be amazed to find their reviews are never filtered out again.
Remind them that there is value in their opinions and power in their reviews for local businesses.
How to Build a Healthy Yelp Reviewer Account
- Add Friends. Use the add a friend feature and find your friends through email and Facebook. Mark your friends’ reviews as “Useful” or whatever term applies. Adding and interacting with your friends helps establish your account in the system.
- Use the Yelp App. Once you’ve downloaded this app, make sure to check-in at places.
- Connect to Facebook. This helps prove you’re a real person and don’t have ten other accounts.
- Write reviews. Don’t just write five star reviews, either. Your reviews should run the range, because that’s real and useful to the Yelp community.
- Post Tips. The more kinds of activity you have on your account, the better.
Don’t Do This All At Once. A real account builds over time. Check in on the app and add reviews gradually. Make Yelp a part of your routine.
On Whether You Should Solicit Reviews
This is a tricky situation. You can ask for reviews. You shouldn’t ask for “good” reviews. Yelp wants honest reviews and when you tell people to leave good ones, Yelp counts that as telling them what to say.
That doesn’t mean you should ask an irate customer to review you. Mention it to people smiling at the cash register.
People who took the time to follow your social media accounts are probably invested in your company. Making a post to ask for reviews is a good idea.
Don’t Try To Make a Synthetic Review Team
Yelp reviews are important. Some people focus in on this and put a lot of energy into creating a Yelp review team and send them out there to attempt to trick the system so they can get the reviews they want.
Don’t bother doing this. It isn’t worth the effort. Simply asking your regular customers will cause you less stress and get you further in the long run.
Don’t Let the Filter Get You Down
At Objection Co, we understand how frustrating filtered Yelp reviews can be. Don’t let it get you down, though! With time and effort, you can have a healthy Yelp page for your business.
Use legitimate strategies for encouraging more reviews and healthy Yelp user account activity and trust that eventually, if you don’t give up, it will come together for you.