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 is the Chief Technology Officer at Horizon Web Marketing. In his work with Horizon Ross brings 35 years of small business management experience, 25 years programming experience, 20 years web development experience, and 13 years experience as a professional SEO. Ross is also currently a certified SEO trainer with the Search Engine Academy and serves on its board of directors.