Have you ever noticed a new review of your business pop up on Yelp, only for it to disappear a few days later? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, reviews disappear all the time thanks to Yelp’s review filter, which is designed to remove spam and fake reviews. This is a good thing when the reviews that are filtered out actually are spam, but what about when the filter removes legitimate reviews, particular reviews that are positive? As it turns out, those reviews aren’t actually gone, and if you follow these steps, you might be able to get those positive reviews out of the filter and back onto your page to boost your business’s ratings.
1. Find the “Not Recommended” reviews on your Yelp page
To get started, go to your business page on Yelp and scroll down to the bottom of the first page of reviews. You should see a line of gray text that says “other reviews that are not currently recommended.” Click on the gray text and it’ll expand the page to show you a video, “Why Does Yelp Recommend Reviews?” and then below it, all of the hidden filtered reviews.
If you like, watch the video to get a better understanding of how the filter works. In short, Yelp’s software filters out reviews that seem unreliable, based partly on how active the reviewers are in the “Yelp community.” In other words, a review might simply get hidden because the reviewer hasn’t written many reviews and doesn’t have a lot of Yelp friends.
2. Identify recent reviews from legitimate customers that are positive
Just because you can take action to get reviews out of the filtered section doesn’t mean you want to unhide all of them. The negative reviews, for instance, are better off where they are in the filter where they don’t affect your overall rating.
Rather, your goal should be to identify any recent 4 or 5 star reviews that appear to be written by legitimate visitors to your business. These are the reviews you want to target, with the idea being to get them out of the filter by taking action to show the Yelp filter that the customers who wrote them are active Yelp users.
3. The tricky part: identifying and connecting with those users
Yelp doesn’t make it easy to interact with filtered reviews. You can’t click on the user profiles or even rate the reviews as “Useful.” That leaves you to do some old fashioned sleuthing. The easiest way to do this is to go to your own Yelp profile, and click on the menu item that says “Find Friends.” From there you can search for the customers who wrote the positive reviews. If you successfully find them, you can request to be friends with them on Yelp.
If they accept your friend request, you’ve increased the likelihood of their review getting unfiltered. In addition, you should now have the option of reading their reviews and marking them as “Useful” and “Cool” to show Yelp that the reviewer is a valued member of the Yelp community.
4. Be proactive to prevent new reviews from getting filtered out
Step 3 can be a bit time consuming and frustrating. While still worthwhile, particularly if your business doesn’t yet have a lot of reviews, your main strategy moving forward should be make a point of being proactive with any new positive reviews that are posted to ensure they don’t get filtered out in the first place. Here’s how to do just that.
- Closely monitor your business page for new reviews since the Yelp filter kicks in within 1 - 2 days. Review management tools, like those found in SpotOn Core, can be a huge help here, since they alert you by email or mobile notification the instant you get new reviews.
- Comment on positive reviews immediately, thanking the customer for visiting and writing a great review.
- Mark positive reviews as “Useful” and “Cool” and feel free to ask your employees to do the same.
- Add the the customer as a friend, and again, feel free to ask your employees to do the same.
Follow those actions, and not only will you be taking the necessary steps to prevent the reviews from getting filtered out, but you'll also be interacting with your customers in an engaging, positive way that will help turn them into loyal regulars.
Learn how SpotOn's intuitive tools make it easy to manage your online reviews in real-time so you can take action to protect your online reputation .