How to Make Yelp Work for You

Yelp is one of the most popular and recognizable review sites out there, with over 30 million (and growing) monthly users who have posted over 177 million reviews since the platform’s inception in 2004. Yelp reviewers post in multiple business categories, with the most popular being Restaurants, Shopping, Home and Local Services and Beauty and Fitness.

One of the biggest frustrations of Yelp, for both business owners and customers, is the Yelp filter. According to Yelp, “Every review is automatically evaluated by Yelp’s recommendation software based on Quality, Reliability, and User Activity.” The filter hides or removes fake or illegitimate reviews by evaluating the origins of the review, profile info about the reviewer and multiple other criteria – all with the intention to protect businesses.

This is great in that fake or inappropriate reviews don’t count toward your Yelp score, but sometimes authentic, positive reviews could also get caught in the filter. So what can business owners do to help ensure that the genuine reviews get through the Yelp filter?

  1. Make sure Yelp reviewers are already good at this! They must have a complete Yelp profile, including a profile photo, and a history of reviewing on Yelp. Without all of these, their review won’t make it through the filter. So asking your good friends, who’ve never been on Yelp, to get onto Yelp and give your shop a 5-star review won’t do you any good.

  2. Encourage customers to include detail in their review. Describe the dish they loved, tell us the city they were in, etc. Reviews that are too short or unspecific, such as “Great place!” are more likely to get filtered out.

  3. As with every other review platform, be sure to respond to every review. This helps you rank higher in the Yelp search.

So while the Yelp filter can be frustrating, if you encourage your loyal Yelp reviewers to follow these simple guidelines, they’ll not only get past the filter, but they’ll post interesting, content-rich reviews that will tell a much better story, help you get found in Yelp search, and reflect your business much more positively.

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