You did it all for Mike.You went out of the way to ensure the customer is comfortable, offered him complimentary drinks, let him use the poolside even though he wasn’t entitled and also offered him a discount voucher to be redeemed on next visit.
Mike calls you after a day to tell he loved your service and for that reason, he has written a really nice review on Yelp.
Eager to check out his nice review, you log on to Yelp for Business and check your account. Tada, nothing! Five days later, still nothing. Now, you’ve really started to doubt Mike – did he really write a review or did he mistake another business on Yelp for yours?
Actually, Yelp Review filters could have been the culprit.
Yelp is ruling the review sites clearly because of this reason – the ability to show original star-rated reviews. To stay that way, Yelp’s recommendation software keeps fave reviews away by using a very complex filter. Yelp review filter is not necessarily an evil entity – the same filter guards you against reviews from fake profiles and dissatisfied customers looking to spam you with 1-star ratings.
Here’s the answer to, “What is Yelp’s recommendation software?” directly from Yelp Support Center.
“We use an automated software developed by our engineers to recommend reviews from the Yelp community. This software looks at a variety of parameters like quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. Most of all, however, it’s looking for people who are intrinsically motivated to share the wide range of rich and detailed experiences they have every day with local businesses.”
Here are some reasons for your Yelp reviews to be filtered –
- The review was submitted from an IP address from some other location.
- The reviewer has no friends on Yelp
- The reviewer’s profile is not complete
The Yelp reviewer’s profile doesn’t have a photo or any additional information.
- The reviewer has no social integration
This is a reviewer or a robot?
- The reviewer has written only positive reviews
Doesn’t look very genuine, does it?
- The reviews for a business are coming from the same computer.
Which is why a Yelp review kiosk at your business location for customers is a bad, bad idea!
- The reviewer is a one-time user or an inactive user
- The reviewer is a first-time user
Any reviewer needs to build up his Yelp profile before he can post reviews.
- Short reviews with no details. Ex – “This restaurant is very bad.” or “ABC’s burgers are the best!”
If the review lacks details, the review filter might consider it to be a spam review or a solicited review.
- A sudden flood of reviews. You might have actually sent out an email to all your subscribers asking for a review and they all responded within a short span of time.
Spam Alert for Yelp!
- A strong negative or a very positive review
The review filter might just assume that it is a fake review.
Yelp has chosen not to reveal any information about their review filter because they feel it would defeat the whole purpose of filtering out the malicious content.
So, How do You Ensure Authentic Reviews Get Through Yelp’s Review Filter?
As explained before, Yelp takes into account, a number of factors ranging from how authentic the reviewer’s profile is to the reviewer’s social integration to either publish the review or sweep it under a rug.
You have no control over what makes a good review or understanding how the review filters work. Because you can’t bypass the algorithm nor can you understand the software!
But, Yelp is an important player when it comes to building your online reputation and can do a great deal to increase your visibility and to expand your customer base.
Here’s what you can do to get authentic reviews on Yelp –
- Engage with your Audience on Yelp. Even though this will not ensure that the best reviews are left untouched by Yelp’s filter, you still stand to gain a lot by engaging with your audience on Yelp.
- Remember that asking for reviews is frowned upon by Yelp. Instead, say “Check us out on Yelp.” This will come out as something that raises awareness.
- You can also place a Yelp badge on your business website. You just have to copy the HTML code for a badge to use it on your site.
- Share Yelp reviews on Twitter and Facebook. You will get noticed by people who are active on Facebook (which means Yelp probably will consider their reviews if all other factors are ticked) and you will also showcase how your business is loved (or hated!) by customers. Pro Tip – to look natural, we recommend you share negative reviews as well.
The key is to reach out to customers who are already active on social media and Yelp.
Here’s What You Shouldn’t Do if You Find Your Reviews are Missing –
- Do not threaten Yelp! Do not post in public that you will take them to the court of law or sue them. Yelp and Google and HUGE companies and unless you are in the same league, don’t threaten them. Also, no business has ever won in a lawsuit against Yelp!
- Do not remind the customer to write another review on Yelp. If the customer is active on Yelp, he will realize that his review has not been published.
- Do not send bulk emails asking your customers to check out your business on Yelp. If all your customers respond within a short period of time, Yelp will see it as spam.
- Do not email Yelp about your missing reviews. That’s how their review filters work.
- Instead of wasting your time over one missing review, focus on how to get more reviews on Yelp. You could even try having a good “Review Us” page on your business website.
You cannot ignore Yelp – it has over 169 million unique monthly visitors and can be the easiest way for you to get more visibility. If you are not paying enough attention to your reviews, you’re gambling with your online reputation.
Have you ever faced the problem of a missing review? Tell us more about how you handled it.