Online Reputation Management & Yelp
Online reputation management is a significant facet of digital PR and must be monitored and maintained accordingly. In the modern digital age, many consumers turn to online resources and websites to search for local businesses to accommodate their needs and wants. This is why having a positive online reputation is essential as it increases your opportunity to gain new business, establish loyal customers, etc.
Yelp is just one of the many online business directory services and crowd-sourced review forums available to consumers. However, it is also one of the most well-known and most frequently used, making it an important channel on which companies should maintain a positive presence.
Read on to learn more about a current process Yelp enforces to remain unbiased and some tips for maintaining your business profile.
If you’re a business owner, employee, etc., you’ve likely spent time tracking your business’ Yelp reviews and star rating. And, if that is the case, you’ve likely noticed that reviews posted by users seem to have disappeared, which can be very frustrating, especially if the review that no longer appears was positive. Recently, it does seem as though this is happening more frequently and, in some instances, affects the overall star rating of your business’ page.
So, where do they go? Yelp filters them out. If you select the “Reviews” tab from the right-hand menu, then scroll to the bottom, you’ll see light gray text that says “other reviews that are currently not recommended.”
If a Yelper decides to dig deep and locates these reviews, they may read them, but otherwise, these reviews are hard to find and they don’t contribute to your overall star rating or review count.
Why does this happen?
According to Yelp, there is an algorithm in place that functions to not recommend certain reviews because it’s believed that the review is unhelpful, fake, or biased. On the other hand, some reviews get filtered out just because the reviewer isn’t an established user or because there are concerns that the Yelper’s review of their experience is inaccurate.
Yelp’s recommendation software evaluates every review submitted based on quality, reliability, and user activity. This software runs constantly and continuously evaluates users and their reviews as it learns more about them, which is why a review may appear for a while before being placed in the “not recommended” category.
The software also monitors user activity. For instance, if a user searches for local dentists, then later shares a review of their experience at a local practice, this would likely be deemed accurate and reliable. Conversely, if a user doesn’t participate in much Yelp activity, then writes a review (positive or negative) for a business, this may be flagged as fake, unreliable, and/or inaccurate.
Unfortunately, the Yelp Support team can’t manually override the recommendation software to reinstate a review as recommended. This is because the software is entirely automated. However, on a positive note, this automation ensures that all businesses and their reviews are evaluated the same, regardless of who advertises with Yelp and who doesn’t.
What can you do?
Though it’s unlikely you can do anything to have your reviews removed from the “not recommended” section, here are three things you can do to maintain your business account, engage with customers, and nurture your reputation.
- Actively monitor your account for new reviews. Use a document to record the name of the reviewer, as well as the date and star rating of the review. Then, at least when and if a review gets filtered out, you know which one it is and you can make a note of it accordingly.
- Respond to ALL reviews… even if they’re negative. According to Jay Baer’s book, Hug Your Haters, 53% of customers expect a response on review sites. In addition, Yelp’s data science team claims that 33% of users are more likely to upgrade their review if they receive a personalized response.
- Report reviews that are inaccurate, fake, or false. Again, if you’re actively monitoring your business account, do pay attention to reviews that might violate Yelp policies. If you feel as though a review does violate appropriate conduct, you can flag the review and work with Yelp to resolve it.
The filtering process can be frustrating, but Yelp still offers a valuable digital PR component for any business – big or small. It also allows business owners to engage with their clientele and forge positive relationships or address negative experiences.
For more information on how PTE can help manage your Yelp business account and other online reputation management channels, contact us.