You’ve put in the hard work to build your business, and it deserves a stellar reputation. However, even with exceptional services, your efforts can go unnoticed without positive reviews to back them up. So, what’s the next step?

In a world where traditional word-of-mouth marketing is losing its impact, Yelp fills the gap. It offers a platform where customers can share their experiences to help others make informed decisions, whether it’s about the best burger joint in town or a reliable auto repair shop.

Dive into our comprehensive Yelp guide to find out how to manage your online reputation and use Yelp reviews to boost your business’s visibility!

The Impact of Yelp Reviews on Your Business

Since its founding in 2004, Yelp has become a powerhouse for local business reviews online. Maintaining a rating of 3.5 stars or higher on Yelp can be a game-changer, positioning your business favourably and opening doors to new opportunities.

On the flip side, ratings below three stars can lead to significant challenges.  Negative Yelp ratings are known to have a severe impact on businesses, sometimes even causing them to close their doors for good.

It’s true—the world of Yelp and online reviews can be overwhelming for business owners, having to monitor their digital presence constantly. Yet, burying your head in the sand and ignoring Yelp isn’t the answer. Customers will share their experiences about your business, whether you’re actively managing your Yelp page or not.

That’s why it’s super important to take a proactive approach! You need to claim your business page and ensure success on Yelp. You can showcase your business in the best possible way by sprucing it up with eye-catching images and relevant information. 

How to Encourage Yelp Reviews

Depending on how you manage your Yelp account, it can either be a major boost or a potential challenge for your business. So, how can you boost your Yelp reviews? 

online reviews

While you can’t ask for positive feedback directly, there are other ways to encourage customers to share their experiences:

  1. Activate Your Yelp Page: Make sure your business stands out by fully activating your Yelp page. Add compelling photos, detailed descriptions, menus, contact information, and operating hours to provide customers with all the information they need. That’s a sure way to make it more appealing to your target audience.
  2. Display a “Find us on Yelp” Sign: Enhance your restaurant or local business’s visibility by displaying Yelp posters, badges, and other materials. In the digital era, customers often spot these signs and immediately turn to Yelp to share their thoughts while they’re still on-site.
  3. Offer a Yelp Deal: Offering a Yelp Deal can draw customers to your business and boost the chances of receiving Yelp reviews. Unlike other deal platforms, customers who use Yelp Deals are often active users, increasing the chances that they’ll share their experience about your business.
  4. Engage with Your Yelp Reviews: It’s wise to respond to those reviews you already have on Yelp, especially if they raise specific questions or concerns. Responding to feedback not only shows that you care about your customers’ experiences but also demonstrates your commitment to providing excellent customer service.
  5. Showcase Positive Yelp Reviews: A great way to get more Yelp reviews is to showcase your positive ones. Enlarge them for easy reading, frame them, and hang them where they can be seen by customers waiting in line. This can encourage new customers to think positively about your business. It may inspire them to leave their own upbeat review on Yelp.
  6. Use Yelp QR Codes: Make it easy for customers to find your Yelp page and leave reviews by displaying a Yelp QR code in-store. This simple step offers a convenient way for patrons with smartphones to connect with your business on Yelp.
  7. Promote on Other Networks: Boost your Yelp reviews by subtly asking for feedback on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Yelp recommends using phrases like  “Check us out on Yelp” instead of directly asking for reviews. So, avoid being too pushy. Instead, use a casual approach like “We’re now on Yelp and would love to hear what you think of us!” 
  8. Add a Yelp Link to Your Newsletter: Don’t forget to include a Yelp link in your newsletter! Remind your newsletter subscribers about your presence on Yelp and encourage them to share their experiences. This gentle reminder can prompt subscribers to leave positive reviews.

Dealing with Negative Yelp Reviews

symbol of negative Yelp reviews

Dealing with Negative Yelp Reviews

Let’s face it: you can’t make everyone happy all the time. Even the best businesses get the occasional negative Yelp review, and it can be a bit of a downer. Sometimes, these reviews point out genuine mistakes, and other times, they might seem completely unfair.

So, how do you respond to a Yelp review if it’s not the kindest one? Here’s how to handle negative Yelp reviews:

  • Avoid Immediate Response: It’s natural to feel upset by a negative Yelp review, but responding in haste can escalate the situation. Instead, take time to cool off before crafting a response. Wait at least half a day, ideally two or three days, before addressing the review.
  • Understand the Reviewer’s Perspective: After you’ve had time to process the review, try to understand the reviewer’s mindset. Is there merit to their complaints, or do they seem overly emotional? Viewing the review objectively can help you formulate a constructive response.
  • Choose Between Public or Private Response: Decide whether to respond publicly or privately to the review. Public responses are beneficial for addressing inaccuracies, but a private message may be more appropriate for resolving the issue discreetly.
  • Address the Reviewer’s Concerns Professionally: Stay calm, take the high road, and remain polite and respectful. Avoid responding in an angry or emotional state, as this can escalate the situation and reflect poorly on your business.
  • Extend a Gesture of Goodwill: Can the situation be salvaged? Consider offering an olive branch. Send a private message inviting the unhappy reviewer back for a tour of your bakery or a complimentary dessert. Yelp allows reviewers to update their initial review, so providing exceptional service might prompt them to reconsider their opinion.
  • Learn from Constructive Criticism: Negative reviews, when justified, offer valuable insights for improvement. Use this feedback to enhance your business practices. Address legitimate concerns raised by reviewers and communicate the changes you’ve made to the Yelp community. Demonstrating your responsiveness and dedication to improvement can earn you respect and loyalty from customers.

Can You Remove Yelp Reviews?

Removing Yelp reviews is possible, but Yelp only takes action if the reviews violate their Terms of Service or Content Guidelines. Here are some instances where Yelp might remove a review:

  • Fake or Defamatory Reviews: Yelp may remove reviews that are clearly fake or defamatory.
  • Promotional Reviews: Reviews that promote another business or commercial venture may also be removed.
  • Irrelevant Content: Yelp may also remove spam comments, rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, or other matters unrelated to the consumer experience.

It’s important to note that Yelp has the final say on whether a review is removed, and their decision is based on their guidelines and policies.

  • Pro Tip #1: Avoid hiring reputation management companies claiming they can remove Yelp reviews from your Yelp page. This is a scam—Yelp does not accept bribes or financial incentives for review removals, plain and simple.
  • Pro Tip #2: Rumour has it that Yelp gives advertisers the option to remove negative Yelp reviews from their business page, but this is completely false. Yelp will only remove a review if it violates their Terms of Service.

Can You Delete Your Business from Yelp?

The short answer is no. You can have your page remain unclaimed. You can also close your business account completely. It’s important to note, though, that closing your account doesn’t automatically delete your business page on Yelp. Typically, Yelp doesn’t remove business pages once they’re created.

Yelp Review Filter 

The Yelp filter prioritises established reviewers with detailed profiles, aiming to remove reviews with questionable authenticity. Filtered reviews can be found at the bottom of a Yelp business page and are accessible to any user who clicks to view them.

However, while the filter is intended to work well, in reality, it can be inconsistent. It sifts through about 20% of its over 39 million reviews. This significant filtering is why many businesses argue that legitimate reviews are often mistakenly filtered out along with fake ones. This can be nerve-wracking, especially for small businesses, since every star rating can impact your overall score.

Avoiding Yelp Review Filter

Avoiding the Yelp review filter requires strategic steps. Businesses can engage with reviewers by adding them as friends, upvoting their reviews, and sending compliments. If you’re aiming to bypass the Yelp review filter, consider some of these strategies:

  • Write numerous Yelp reviews: An account that reviews only one business raises red flags. Writing at least ten reviews boosts your authenticity. So, post reviews of other businesses and make sure your reviews cover a range of 1-5 stars, as exclusively positive or negative reviews can look suspicious.
  • Expand Your Yelp Network: Add friends on Yelp and engage with them by liking their reviews or leaving compliments. Active participation shows you’re a genuine member of the Yelp community.
  • Offer Tips Alongside Reviews: Use the Yelp mobile app to leave concise, insightful tips when checking in at locations. This demonstrates your versatility as an online user.
  • Be Consistent: Avoid posting a large number of reviews in a short period. Instead, build your reputation steadily by reviewing different businesses over several weeks or months.

Supportive Community

a man posting a Yelp review

There’s no need to fear—most Yelp reviews are positive!

Despite the occasional challenging aspects we’ve discussed, Yelp is a valuable community striving to assist consumers in making informed decisions. In general, Yelpers are individuals who want to acknowledge and support deserving small local businesses.

For example, in 2022, according to Yelp Metrics, a whopping 52% of Yelp reviews turned out to be 5-star ratings. This statistic emphasises the positive nature of Yelp’s community, where users are eager to highlight exceptional experiences and recommend businesses to others.

Maximising Your Yelp Business Potential with Canty Digital

Managing Yelp reviews can be tricky, especially for businesses new to the platform. However, getting help from digital marketers experienced in managing online reviews and reputations can be incredibly beneficial.

At Canty Digital, we specialise in marketing strategies to boost your online reputation and manage customer reviews effectively. Our team of experts understands the intricacies of Yelp’s review system and can help you get your Yelp Australia reviews in no time.

Whether you need assistance responding to reviews, improving your overall rating, or implementing strategies to encourage positive feedback, we’re here to help. Partner with us today, and let us help you take control of your online reputation and attract more customers to your business.

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