For small businesses, good reviews are more important now than ever before. In a recent study, 88 percent of buyers said their decision to purchase was influenced by reviews. Yelp is one of the most well-known sources of reviews for businesses and is a good place to start if you don’t have any.
However, the website is known to have a strained relationship with businesses and boasts a significant review filter that will hide any review it deems suspicious. This filter is meant to catch fake or spammy reviews that have been bought or created by business owners, but honest reviews will occasionally be caught and hidden.
Below you will find the three main tips on how to earn business reviews that won’t get filtered and will make a difference for your company.
1. Take Control of Your Listing
Your first priority should be to claim your Yelp page. As with all directories, an unclaimed listing is a potential risk to your business. Yelp users are less likely to care about leaving positive feedback for a business that doesn’t care about Yelp reviews. Customers may find your Yelp page even if they did not start their search there and what they see is up to you.
2. Find Friends
Recommended reviews tend to come from people who are active on Yelp. This commonly means they will have a couple posted reviews already under their belt, some friends on the website, vote on the usefulness of other reviews, and possibly take part in discussions or check in at locations with Yelp’s mobile app. Yelp provides a way to engage these users through an internal friend finder.
Using this method, you can connect your Yelp with your Facebook account. The friend finder will tell you which of your Facebook contacts also have Yelp accounts. Contacting these people and letting them know you have a listing on Yelp could lead to new reviews.
3. Avoid Direct Referrals
At BizTraffic, we advise against directly asking customers for reviews. Yelp strictly forbids this practice and will suspend your listing if they catch you doing it. Other good sources of reviews like Google Places and Facebook also frown on soliciting reviews from customers, so always be cautious and read the fine print before you begin asking for reviews on any review site.
Instead of directly referring customers to your page, Yelp offers stickers you can place in your business to let customers know your business is on Yelp. These visual reminders are a great way to let your clientele know where to find you and remind them to leave some feedback about their experience without directly soliciting for those reviews.
There are also badges you can add to your website that link to your listing. These badges would be a perfect addition to your social media pages that should already be present on your website.
What the Yelp review filter looks for in a review to recommend it is still mostly unknown. We do know that Yelp wants reviews from real customers, so if you increase awareness of your Yelp page among your real customers your page you will eventually get a good number of reviews. Keep in mind that you should always monitor and respond to reviews - especially the negative ones. And remember to take the feedback you are given and improve your service!