Yelp is among the most popular review sites alongside others such as Google My Business and Facebook reviews. Maintaining a positive review profile on Yelp can help build trust which ultimately turns a reader into a customer. The lasting impact of a positive review profile can also mean more customers for your business.
What was originally founded by two ex-paypal employees, Russel Simmons and Jeremy Stoppelman, has fast become the go to place for business reviews and ratings. With over 8 million reviews Yelp is often the go-to place for customers looking to leave business feedback behind Google and Facebook.
Some Yelp Stats:
With more than 170 million monthly users it’s super difficult to ignore Yelp reviews. As reluctant as some businesses are to claim their profile, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the amount of potential customers being left on the table.
Similarly online reviews in general are now a bigger deal than they have been before. It’s estimated that 84 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. More and more consumers are turning to reviews to verify purchase decisions and Yelp is a big place they turn to.
Many small businesses are not the biggest fans of Yelp given some fairly random review removals. Yelp usually puts removals down to its own ‘algorithm’ that tries to detect fake or solicited reviews. They often get this wrong and the hate is at times warranted. Yelps own fact sheet previously showed that a whopping 22% of all reviews were impacted by its filter. To make matters worse for businesses, 33% were positive so negative reviews are filtered out less often.
As annoying as it seems, the best way out of this situation is to simply go back and try to get more positive reviews. Unless you are receiving a huge amount of reviews in one go the chances are that Yelp won’t flag all of them.
It is worth keeping in mind you can do tricks to avoid dreaded Yelp filter. You might want to ask a customer if they already have a Yelp account. ‘by the way are you on Yelp?‘ If they do – chances are it is seen as more trusted than a customer who has to setup a new profile.
The obvious answer would be to do what the standard approach is; ask each customer to leave you a review after purchasing. Unfortunately it is not that simple and Yelp has a rather odd policy. Yelp guidelines specifically state that you should not ask for Yelp reviews from your customers. It is a really strange policy when you think about it, since you are relying on your customers to leave reviews on Yelp and not another platform. Yelp officially states that by asking for reviews you’re interrupting the ‘natural flow’.
To make matters more confusing Yelp states that it is perfectly fine to tell customers ‘You can find us on Yelp‘. Apparently by stating this you are not being overly solicitous. Realistically Yelp does not know whether you have asked or not. Unless you somehow have a Yelp employee standing right next to you. Our recommendation if you do ask is to not ask for too many requests all in one go. Repuzen’s ‘Get Reviews’ takes this approach for all review profiles to try and avoid businesses becoming flagged by review sites. If Yelp suddenly sees a huge rise in reviews they are more likely to be flagged and that means bad things for your profile. Penalties can include;
Yelp actually offers review badges to ‘show off’ your Yelp rating to customers. These badges are automatically updated so you do not have to manually update them every time you get a review. They also have the added bonus of linking to your profile.
Have you ever noticed those ‘Find us on Yelp’ stickers in business shop windows? Well if you have claimed your profile then you can get them for free. They might not always work but it is an obvious way to show customers you have a profile. Although we would totally understand if you don’t want Yelp stickers over your premises.
Follow up with customers:
A lot of customers won’t remember to leave you a review. It is normal after all and many just won’t have the time to provide feedback. Although you may not feel comfortable asking for a review directly you can still remind them by asking how they found the experience. Not only do you get valuable feedback but it also increases the chances of getting a new Yelp review.
Be sure to add your business profile link in your email signature too. Every time you have customer correspondence it will be front and center for all to see. It is worth noting that depending on your view this may also be a bad thing if you are often dealing with negative customers. Hopefully that is not the case.
Offer an incentive:
Leaving a review takes time, and that is what many of us are short of. Offering some kind of incentive to customers might just make it more worthwhile for them. You could try offering discounts like 10% off their next order or a upgrade of some kind (think a large coffee for the price of a small). If you are thinking about this tactic for Yelp reviews be careful as it is going against Yelp’s policy of asking for reviews. Just keep it to an in person conversation and chances are you will be fine.
It might not seem like getting more Yelp reviews is not a particularly fun task to do. As a business owner you have a bunch of stuff on your plate so why should this take priority? We can assure you that it is worthwhile. Having a positive review profile can leave a lasting impact for your online reputation among other benefits. Yelp of course is not the only review site though, if you are more focused on Google or Facebook why not take a look at Repuzen? Many argue that Google reviews now take higher importance since they show up in the ‘local pack’ on search results for your area.
What are your thoughts on Yelp reviews? Do you find it difficult or easy to get more for your own business? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.