Mastering the Mystery of YELP Reviews

Many businesses have a love/hate relationship with Yelp. They love it when Yelp appears to be working to promote them. But they hate how fickle and unpredictable Yelp seems to be. Business owners and managers can easily be baffled by the seeming randomness of Yelp’s recommendations and filtering of legitimate reviews. They ask questions like:

Why did Yelp recommend that negative review?

What happened to that great 5-star review on my listing?

Why have all the reviews on my business disappeared?

Some businesses have become frustrated and decided that Yelp isn’t worth the trouble. That’s a mistake, especially if you are in one of the top five industries represented on Yelp— restaurants, local services, retail shops, beauty/fitness, and health services.

A Basic Understanding of Yelp Is Worth the Investment
The users of Yelp are evenly distributed across the spectrum of ages. If your customers are in their twenties, they use Yelp. If they are over 60, they use Yelp. And, of course, everyone in the age brackets in between.

When it comes to education and income, reviewers on Yelp tend to be college graduates and have the incomes to match. Grad school has been a part of the lives of 18% of Yelp users.

Fear of negative reviews shouldn’t figure into your view of Yelp. At least 50% of reviews on Yelp are 5-stars. Plus, Yelp gives their coveted “recommendation” to over 70% of the posted reviews. Your chances of a 4 to 5-star rating on Yelp are quite favorable.

Yelp remains one of the most used and trusted sources of honest business review. Over 28 million unique users logged onto their app during the three months of April through June of 2020. Yes, your presence and rating on Yelp are important.

Behind the Scenes at Yelp
If you’re looking for an easy formula for keeping your best reviews recommended by Yelp and not hidden, it doesn’t exist. One of Yelp’s big selling points to those who use its app and online platform is their internal control. They put forth significant effort to communicate that the platform is unbiased and does not allow businesses to manipulate reviews or ratings.

Some of the ways Yelp establishes its claim to impartiality is through its recommendation choices and using filters to hide reviews. It’s important to remember that Yelp’s choices in those areas are intended to benefit one entity – Yelp.

They don’t want to be seen as only recommending positive reviews, so they’ll recommend some 1-star and 3-star reviews as well. After all, negative reviews are “helpful” to those searching Yelp. It is also vital for Yelp reviews to be current. Older reviews are more likely to be filtered out than new ones.

Yelp is also vigilant in flagging reviews that appear to have been solicited or do not appear to be genuine customers. They scan the internet for businesses offering rewards for positive reviews or businesses claiming to “sell” Yelp reviews.

The Keys to a Stellar Yelp Rating
We have established that Yelp reviews and star ratings can be significant to your online marketing strategies. At the same time, Yelp strictly protects the reliability of its platform from outside influence. The good news is, there are still several avenues available for businesses to have a positive effect on their Yelp ratings.

  1. Claim and Use Your Yelp Business Listing
    Yelp allows you to verify and enter information on your business listing. To do this, you must “claim” your listing. By doing this, you can make your business listing on Yelp more attractive to searchers looking for recommendations in your industry or location. Claiming your listing also gives you the ability to respond to reviews of your business.
  2. Respond to Your Reviews
    Promptly respond to every Yelp review that is posted, both positive and negative. Yelpers value your acknowledgment and comments on reviews. It demonstrates an appreciation for customer feedback and a strong commitment to customer service. Your responses should maintain the same level of respect and thoughtfulness that you would provide to feedback given in person.
  3. Encourage Your Customers to Leave Yelp Reviews
    Offering rewards for Yelp reviews is against Yelp’s Terms and Conditions. But you can encourage your customers to leave an honest review on Yelp. Posting positive Yelp reviews on your social media or website is a great way to inspire a review from other customers. Yelp also provides code to insert on your website to show a current count of your reviews and your star rating. Your goal should be to keep a constant stream of reviews appearing on your Yelp listing.

Responsive Businesses on Yelp Get Noticed
Consumers who read reviews online are just as interested in what a company has to say as what other reviewers say. 97% of consumers reading reviews say they also read the responses to those reviews. Make no mistake; consumers draw a correlation between your delivery of “customer service” on review sites and the type of customer service they can expect when they visit your establishment.

Who responds to Yelp reviews, the appropriateness of the response, and the timeliness of the response are all important. Guest-Note offers an innovative solution to managing your online customer communication and allows you to deliver a personalized response in record time. We’d love to show you what we can do.

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