Yelp Reviews Provide Significant Benefit

Yelp Reviews Provide Significant Benefit for Business Owners

Serving up more than 95 million reviews (as of December 31, 2015), Yelp has overwhelmed the competition with its sheer numbers of consumer reviews about everything from dentists to mechanics to floral boutiques. Whether they’re exploring the local community or traveling to new destinations, people are naturally curious about the services available to them. And many of them enjoy reading and commenting on Yelp due to the site’s convenient format.


Yelp Reviews Receive Widespread Syndication

The Yelp website and mobile app aren’t the only places where consumers can see Yelp reviews. Yelp reviews are also syndicated to several other major review sites and search engines. A recent study found Yelp reviews on the following major review sites:

The most recent addition to the mix is Yahoo. In March 2014, Yahoo and Yelp established a partnership in hopes of competing with Google. Yelp reviews are now included in Yahoo Search for all users in the United States. Yelp’s business information, photos, ratings and reviews are intended to help Yahoo users find businesses with greater ease. The partnership will bring more photos, reviews and business listings to both Yahoo Maps and Local Search experiences.

Instead of simply replacing the current supply of Yahoo Local reviews, Yelp is supplementing the site by allowing users to search for hospitals and doctors, restaurants, spas, retail chains and small businesses. Yelp agreed to a similar deal with Microsoft’s Bing in 2012.


Yelp Will Rarely Remove or Delete Reviews

Unfortunately for business owners, Yelp has generated controversy by allowing “fake” negative reviews on business profile pages. Although a business owner may believe that a negative Yelp review is fake, the site will likely decline to delete or remove it. In order to delete or remove the review, it must contain profane language or sensitive information. On numerous occasions as reported in the media, Yelp has been accused of using fake or negative reviews to force businesses to pay for advertising. Since Yelp shares customer-generated reviews on the profile of each particular business or service, the system is open to manipulation from unscrupulous competitors. Yelp says it allows advertisers the opportunity to choose a positive review for the top position on its pages, although some critics have alleged that Yelp places negative ads into top positions to motivate advertising sales. Yelp has denied these allegations.

In 2012, Yelp announced it would allow public responses from business owners after some complained they were being locked out of the Yelp community. Without the opportunity to delete or remove fake Yelp reviews, they felt powerless. That same year, Yelp eliminated the Favorite Review feature that allowed advertisers to post a favorite review at the top of their profiles. Yelp also now gives users access to posts previously disguised by the review filter.

According to Yelp

25%

of Yelp reviews – positive or negative – never get published because they fail to pass Yelp’s internal filter.


In the Terms of Service, Yelp states that its filter algorithm sorts through more than 40 million reviews, weeding out the 25 percent found to be fake or submitted by the businesses themselves.


Yelp Reviews Receive Widespread Syndication

Yelp uses a “secret ops team” to ferret out businesses trying to game the system.

Many individuals and organizations have boasted about their ability to game the Yelp filtering process on Craigslist, Fiverr and other sites. Even online reputation management companies have claimed knowledge allowing them to procure positive reviews that are unfiltered. For this reason, Yelp uses a “secret ops team” to ferret out businesses trying to game the system and then penalizes them by adding the following Alert to the business’ Yelp profile:

Business owners are advised to show great concern about the influence and impact of Yelp reviews. While the system is far from perfect, an online presence is necessary in order to maintain good standing with customers. The benefits of Yelp reviews are more significant than any complaints about them. Business owners that ignore those ramifications will lose customers to the competition who are engaging with the online audience.

With that said, what can you do to generate more reviews on Yelp?

Yelp uses a “secret ops team” to ferret out businesses trying to game the system.


The Review Solution Helps Businesses Acquire Yelp Reviews

The Review Solution® allows businesses to collect authentic reviews at the point of sale, in real time. After customers leave a review and a 1-5 star rating, they receive an email requesting that they post the same review to the business’ Yelp profile. The Review Solution also has a built-in function to identify customers that are already active Yelp users. Those users are specifically targeted with a request that they post a review on Yelp.

If your business is a member of the Better Business Bureau in a participating region, these reviews can also be automatically pushed to your BBB review page*. In addition to the BBB review page, the reviews will be automatically syndicated to ReviewStar.com. But the system is not just limited to Yelp, the BBB and ReviewStar.com. In fact, you can utilize The Review Solution to generate positive reviews on practically any online review site, as well as popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

Instead of simply replacing the current supply of Yahoo Local reviews, Yelp is supplementing the site by allowing users to search for hospitals and doctors, restaurants, spas, retail chains and small businesses. Yelp agreed to a similar deal with Microsoft’s Bing in 2012.

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