Are you a business who depends on local customers? If you are, then you probably are already keenly aware of the growing importance of client reviews in the health of your business, and the growing importance of Yelp when it comes to reviews.
But have you ever had this happen? A client tells you that they left you a nice review on Yelp. Pleased and encouraged, you visit your Yelp page to see what they wrote. You look and look and…to your confusion you can’t find their review anywhere?
If you know what we’re talking about you’re one of the many small businesses who have had their valuable Yelp reviews filtered.
Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews?
So why does Yelp filter reviews? They don’t trust the authenticity of them, because well, many of the reviews left on Yelp are fakes.
Now, while it’s understandable that Yelp would try to filter out fake reviews, it’s unfortunate that they do such a crappy job of it. For one of my clients, Yelp didn’t trust 21 of 24 reviews that legitimate Yelpers left on their site. In fact, they filtered out all of this company’s positive reviews and only left 3 negative reviews.
Here’s how to see those phantom reviews. Visit your business listing on Yelp. Then scroll down to the section that says “About this Business.” Right above that you might seem a line that says “[number] other reviews that are not currently recommended” (see screen capture, below).
If you’re missing some reviews that you thought had been placed, go and see if they are parked in Yelp’s “dead letter” graveyard.
Giving Your Reviews their Best Shot at Being Seen
Here’s how you can avoid having your best reviews end up in this lonesome place where no one will read them:
- Yelp pays more attention to active Yelpers, so talk to your satisfied clients and, if they are looking for a place to leave you a positive review, and if they’ve never been on Yelp before, tell them to leave you a review somewhere else, such as Google+ or Yahoo local.
- Don’t get a bunch of your customers to submit reviews in a short period of time, that looks artificial to Yelp
- Try to find customers who are active on Yelp and then encourage only those customers to leave a review on Yelp
Keep in mind that all of the review sites prohibit you from soliciting reviews, so never offer to trade discounts, cash or favors for a positive review. You can mention that you encourage reviews, but don’t tell them you want “positive” reviews or you could be in trouble with more sites than Yelp.
Have you had an experience, good or bad, with Yelp’s review filter? We’d love to hear about it in the comments. And if you’d like help with local search engine optimization, read more about what we offer.
Ross Barefoot got his start in small business managing an importing company in the bicycle industry. While there, he tried his hand at programming to find more effective ways to track, market and sell his company’s range of bicycle parts. He loved the web marketing side of things so much he became a professional web developer in 2001, starting a website design business in Western Colorado. He took his first SEO certification course from the Search Engine Academy in 2002, followed it up with another in 2004, and decided to jump full time into SEO training and consulting in 2011, becoming a Master Certified Instructor with the Search Engine Academy, where he continues to serve on the Board of Directors. Today, Ross is CTO, trainer and chief SEO strategist at Horizon Web Marketing (www.horizonwebmarketing.com), a full-service digital marketing agency based in Las Vegas.