Whether you love or hate it, Yelp is a necessary factor all restaurant and small business owners need to manage as they run their business. While it’s great to have an online space where customers can share their opinions and experiences, you’ll sometimes find comments that misuse the platform by posting fake or irrelevant comments. Thankfully, Yelp lets you report those fake comments as spam to keep your Yelp review page as accurate as possible.
While Yelp has automated this spam removal process, some comments can still fall through the cracks and tarnish your business's overall Yelp score. Even though these spam comments aren’t necessarily the same as negative reviews on Yelp, every restaurant and small business should know how to deal with spam comments that will otherwise harm the business’s reputation or confuse future guests. Below, we’ll cover how you can identify, monitor, and remove spam comments on Yelp.
How do I see Yelp reviews?
Before we dive into the best ways to remove spam comments on Yelp, don’t forget to first “unfilter” positive reviews hidden away on the website. On top of giving your customers a more realistic glimpse of your business’s operations and services, unfiltering positive reviews will boost your overall Yelp rating over time.
Unfortunately, when someone writes a Yelp review, Yelp algorithms hide specific positive reviews by incorrectly assuming those aren’t relevant to other users on their website. Thankfully, these positive Yelp reviews haven’t been deleted, and you can oftentimes restore them back to your business’s front page on Yelp. Just claim your Yelp business page, then specifically interact with the Yelp reviews to bring them back onto your front page. Check out the blog below for a more detailed explanation of the best ways to unfilter positive reviews on Yelp.
1. Identify and report Yelp spam comments
The most identifiable spam comments contain promotional information about businesses or services unrelated to your own business page. They usually try to plug in suspicious phone numbers with unusual area codes and long email addresses to unknown domains, all while misspelling certain words. For example, If you’re a pizza restaurant that sees a written comment promoting a plumbing service, it’s correct to assume that comment can be marked as spam.
You should also pay attention to the reviewer profiles. Try clicking on their review history and seeing if they’ve provided some genuine reviews to other businesses alongside your own. If they have posted multiple Yelp reviews that all read the same way, you can then report the user to Yelp.
Reporting spam comments to Yelp is relatively simple. After logging into Yelp, locate the review you’d like to report as spam. Click on the three dots in the upper right-hand side of the review, where you’ll see two options: “Share Review” and “Report Review.” Select the “Report Review” option, and answer the following prompts provided by Yelp. Be sure to select the appropriate reason for flagging the comment as spam before submitting your report. Yelp's team will review and remove the flagged comment if it violates the platform's guidelines.
After you’ve reported the comment as spam, Yelp’s review moderators will examine the comment and determine if it can be removed. The review process usually takes several days. Yelp will contact your registered business email address after they’ve made a decision. You can expect to see the comment removed shortly after receiving the email from Yelp. If the report is not approved, the comment will remain.
We do not advise calling the Yelp customer service number to request the removal of a spam comment. This process may be more time-consuming than manually detecting and deleting spam online. According to the Yelp customer service website, the Yelp phone number mainly addresses logistical concerns and inquiries related to advertising or other matters. Yelp will probably recommend using the online flagging system instead.
2. Respond to positive and negative Yelp reviews
If you feel spam comments have already affected your Yelp score, you can try responding to real Yelp reviews. On top of removing those Yelp spam comments, interacting with real reviews will show the Yelp algorithms and other guests that an actual person is reading and interacting with the different guests. Of course, responding to positive reviews is a simple way to show some appreciation for the guests who took their time to leave kind words. You can respond with a small thank you that acknowledges how you value their patronage and look forward to seeing them again soon.
Responding to negative Yelp reviews can also be a beneficial way to weed out spam comments. It’ll show that you’re taking the time to notice real comments from real people addressing your actual restaurant or business. However, it can get tricky if you don’t take the right steps to ensure you aren’t justifying their negative review with your negative response. Without arguing or lashing out at the review, take a moment to recognize their concern and issues, then describe how you’ll look further into the problems they’ve brought up. Check out the blog below to learn when to respond to a negative review and what steps you can take to respectfully respond if needed.
3. Monitor your Yelp profile regularly
After you’ve taken down those pesky spam comments, don’t be surprised when more show up in the future. While it’s normal to see spam comments, it’s vital to regularly check and monitor your Yelp page to make sure everything is tidied and up-to-date with the correct information. This process will also let you look closely for any new reviews that show up, which you can use to help heal some pain points in your business.
Of course, monitoring your Yelp page might get a bit tedious and time-consuming, especially if you’re running a restaurant or other small business. Thankfully, you can monitor your Yelp business page, alongside reviews from Google, Facebook, and TripAdvisor pages with review management software to streamline the entire review management process. With SpotOn’s point-of-sale systems, you get built-in tools that will send a notification for new reviews, give you the ability to track trends in guest feedback, and more to streamline how you approach guests online and in person.