5 Things You Need to Know to Get Your Customers Through Yelp’s Filters

1.  Getting Quality Reviews and Understanding How Yelp’s Recommendation Software and Filters work:

Yelp is unarguably the most reliable business review site in America at the moment. Yelp’s reputation for genuine reviews from customer experience is not one they take for granted as it has established them as a reliable information source for customers who want to patronize small businesses. As a Smart business owner, you sure know how important Yelp reviews are and you ought to put an effort in building a positive reputation online via customer reviews. However, you may have come across the frustration of losing a nice review or some reviews going missing after its submission due to Yelp’s filters.

As a matter of fact, Yelp doesn’t delete customer reviews, and they do not decide which reviews are displayed manually. Yelp has a recommendation software responsible for filtering millions of customer reviews which are then categorized into two types:

⦁    Recommended reviews; they visibly help in ranking your business page and affect your rating (good or bad).

⦁    Not currently recommended; these are reviews hidden behind the ‘grayed out link’ located at the bottom of a business page. They don’t affect ratings.

2. Why Yelp’s Filter System is a Good Thing:

As a reputable leader in the industry, Yelp takes user (small businesses, their customers and prospective customers) satisfaction paramount and as such, they are keen on genuine star-rated customer reviews.  To keep the platform organic and to stay steps ahead of users trying to manipulate the system, Yelp uses its recommendation software that is programmed with a defined algorithm to ‘intelligently guess or sort’ fake reviews from genuine ones from the ratings. However, often times, some innocent businesses have their reviews blocked or nullified from the ranking by the recommendation software. It is important to understand that this measure is put in place by Yelp with the intention of curbing any unfair competitive advantage that users will want to seek from methods like using fake accounts to give themselves good reviews and give bad reviews to hurt their competitors among other downsides of leaving the reviews without any moderation.

As such, any review (good or bad) filtered into the non-recommended section aren’t taken into account in calculating the overall review average of any business.

Yelp never gives any categorical hint on how it’s review recommendation software and filters work.  According to a post on Yelp’s blog, there’s a reason for being secretive:

“We’re purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an ‘established’ user because it’s a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.”

Nonetheless, through user comments, best-practices, and Yelp’s user support center, there’s enough information out there to help you get your genuine reviews through the recommendation software and other Yelp filters.

Getting Positive Reviews Through Yelp Recommendation Software and Filters

Yelp’s recommendation software is programmed to run on a computed algorithm that has a standard set of rules which establishes users and reviews as authentic or otherwise after submission. Therefore, the system gives much value to everything from the completeness of user profiles to the number of words in reviews, to the location of the business and reviewer, etc. are all used by the system to either recommend or nullify a review.

It is practically impossible to bypass the system at this point in time as even Yelp employees can’t manually manipulate the verdict of the software.

However, it is possible to increase your chances of getting your positive reviews past the recommendation software and other Yelp filters with good knowledge of some of the major factors which could lead to your reviews being flagged and moved to “non-recommended” section.

3. Factors that potentially get a review flagged by the Yelp filters:

  • The reviewer’s profile is incomplete i.e. without a profile picture or other additional information.
  • The reviewer isn’t an active user, first-time reviewer, or a one-time user
  • Short reviews without details on the product or service e.g. “Best coffee!!!” or “Their hotel sucks!”
  • Strongly biased or slanted reviews, either positive or negative
  • Reviews posted from an IP address far from the business being reviewed even though it may be a genuine customer who came through for vacation
  • Multiple reviews with the same IP location; which is the reason a Yelp review tablet or kiosk at your business place may look like fake reviews or spams
  • A sudden flood of reviews could look like review spamming even if it may be genuine e.g. you sent a mass broadcast asking customers for reviews.

One thing that is for sure is that Yelp Filters are only looking at the users submitting reviews and the content of the reviews and doesn’t consider the business being reviewed. As the owner of the business, you don’t typically control who reviews your business and what they should say. A good understanding of what makes a good review and reviewer will help to answer questions such as “Why aren’t my reviews showing up on Yelp?” or “I can’t use Yelp but where do I start?”

4. Hint on Qualities a good Yelp review and reviewer:

  • Reviewers who have linked their Facebook to their Yelp account
  • Reviewers who have installed the Yelp mobile application and have used it to “check in” in and around town
  • Reviewers with numerous detailed reviews on their profile (either positive or negative experiences)
  • Users who have friends on Yelp and have records of interactive reviews, i.e., reviews marked as useful, cool, or funny
  • Reviews that contain more than one customer experience and gives helpful tips for prospective customers.

5. The Importance of Yelp to the Success any Business:

As earlier stated, Yelp is an authority in terms of user experience feedback and millions of customers and prospective customers flood Yelp to make decisions on businesses to patronize.  Every serious business should have a customer review management process in other to maximize this precious avenue to expand your customer base. Gathering feedback from your customers after sales, tracking unsatisfied customers in other to rectify their perception of your business and getting happy customers to review your business are some of the things you stand to benefit from a good review management system.

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