Yelp’s Review Filter is the biggest cause of frustration among small business owners, as in most cases it sieves out genuine user reviews alongside the fake ones. Ironically, Yelp does the best job of filtering out fake content among all the review websites. And their filtration system deserves due credit for preventing every attempt to tamper with the Rating Algorithm!
So, the guardian angel that protects small businesses from being victimized by fake negative reviews, also prevents genuine positive experiences from converting into good reviews.
Quite the dilemma, if you ask us!
At Searchmetry we understand your pain, as half of our genuine reviews from real people are pending approval. This got us thinking about Yelp’s Review Filter algorithm and ways to climb over the hurdle.
But in order to cross said hurdle, we had to delve deeper into the details to try and understand Yelp’s filtration algorithm, and what better way to figure out the solution to a problem than by listening to what the creators have to say. Here is the video link to Why Yelp Recommends Reviews. This should give you a decent overview of the situation!
What Elements Qualify a Review as Spam?
In order to help you get a clear picture of the scenario, we have decrypted the information provided in the video.
To begin with, Yelp filters out content that they believe are malicious. For example, reviews from people that are not in the vicinity, or feedback that tips the scale towards either extremities are some of the proven methods of getting a review blocked on Yelp.
Some of the more common types of reviews that get flagged are listed below:
a. Reviews from people that have written just one or no reviews previously.
b. Reviews that are biased either in favor of or against a business.
c. Reviews from people with a sparsely detailed profile. (No display image or links to social media accounts)
d. Reviews that are too short or lack specifics.
e. Reviews from people not located in the business’ proximity.
The only confirmed way around this problem is to ensure that none of the above-mentioned clauses apply to you.
How to Passes Yelp’s Quality Control?
If you wish to have a sizeable amount of user testimonials on your Yelp listing, you need to guide your customers into creating reviews that surpass Yelp’s criteria. Encourage them to update their Yelp profile and start leaving regular reviews to mark their digital presence on Yelp.
We have formulated a 6-step process for you and your customers to survive Yelp’s Review Filter.
a. Update Your Yelp Profile
Start by filling in the details as required in every field and connect your Yelp profile to your Facebook account.
b. Make Friends
Use your email or Facebook account to invite friends. You will be surprised to find many of them already on Yelp. Interact with your friends and mark their reviews as Useful, Funny or both. Accounts with a sizeable number of friends have a greater chance of being considered genuine.
c. Leave a Bunch of Genuine Reviews
Take 10 local businesses on Yelp and review them. Once the reviews go live the business owners will thank you as you have put in a good word for them. Only review businesses that you have dealt with in the past, and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5. Remember, not every experience is positive. Hence, you do not need to shy away from highlighting the shortcomings of each business.
d. Download Yelp on Your Cell Phone and Check-In
If your Yelp account is merged with a phone number, you have a higher chance of being considered unopinionated.
e. Leave Tips
Do not limit your interaction to writing reviews.
f. Take Your Time
It is never a good idea to write 100 reviews per week. Take your time to build your reputation on Yelp. Once you have gained a certain level of trust, your reviews will start making a difference.
The thumb rule of building a reputable Yelp account in 2-3 weeks is spending 10 minutes twice a week updating your profile and reviewing local businesses. Once you have spent enough time on Yelp, you might even be invited to the Yelp Elite Squad.
While Yelp does not promote review soliciting, it is okay to ask your customers to leave their feedback. However, you cannot train your customer’s chain of thought by asking them to leave a good or positive review. There is a very thin line separating review soliciting from requesting reviews!
However, this does make sense if you think about it. You are never going to ask an unsatisfied or angry customer to leave their feedback. You will naturally make the move if you are convinced that a client is excited about your service.
If you have people subscribed to your mailing list or following your Facebook page, they probably like what you have to offer. Leverage the situation and ask them to leave their feedback on Google and Yelp!
After reading this blog if you are getting ideas along the lines of training a professional team of Yelp reviewers, let us warn you that it is not worth the resources spent. We have two reasons justifying our statement.
One. It takes a lot of time and patience to build a successful profile on Yelp, which is not worth getting a couple of positive reviews.
Two. If you are caught soliciting reviews, your business will be permanently banned from Yelp!
None of these are worth the risk if you ask us!
Customer reviews might not define your business, but the fact remains that people want to know what others have to say about you before making a transaction, and that should give you reason enough to take advantage of Yelp’s marketing prowess.
If you need help in getting reviewed on Yelp, Searchmetry can assist you in your endeavor and measure progress along the way. Book a free consultation with the experts NOW!