Ratings and reviews on Yelp are everything for businesses today. According to a Yelp Nielsen study, 92 percent of users make a purchase after using the platform. ReviewTrackers also reported that around 45 percent of customers consult Yelp reviews before visiting a business.
And with its 33 million unique app users and 244 million cumulative reviews in 2021, your online reputation on this high-visibility platform can make or break your brand. Particularly, a bad Yelp review can:
- Drive your customers away from your business and toward your competitors
- Taint the reputation you’ve built for years
- Harm your performance on search engines
- Decrease your profitability
This is why it’s crucial to conduct regular review monitoring. Promptly tracking and addressing negative feedback not only protects your brand’s name but also helps ensure your business’s continued success.
But this leads us to the question: How can you protect your online reputation? Can you actually remove bad reviews from Yelp?
The quick answer is YES. You can remove Yelp reviews.
But there’s a catch – it’s not a straightforward process where you simply log in and click on a button to delete a problematic comment. Instead, it requires knowledge of Yelp review guidelines and brand reputation management in general.
To help you get started on maximizing Yelp reviews for business, we’ll tackle these topics in the following sections:
- The Yelp review removal policy
- Bad and fake Yelp reviews
- How to delete reviews on Yelp
- How to respond to a negative review
The Yelp Review Removal Policy
As a massive customer review site, dissenting opinions will inevitably appear on the platform. So to keep an honest and proper tone for discourse, Yelp stated its right to remove a review that violates its Content Guidelines in its Terms of Service.
This means it can remove contributions that fall under any of these categories, as enumerated in the Yelp review guidelines:
- Irrelevant content – Rants about matters not related to the consumer experience, like a business’s political ideologies or employment practices.
- Inappropriate content – Reviews that include threats, harassment, hate speech, lewdness or other displays of bigotry.
- Conflicts of interest – Reviews of your own business or your friends’ and relatives’ brands, as well as your reviews on a competitor.
- Promotional content – Ads and other commercial content.
- Intellectual property – Photos, videos or copies stolen from other users, sites or businesses.
Dealing With Bad and Fake Yelp Reviews
There are certain situations where it makes sense to remove Yelp reviews. For example, the negative feedback no longer applies to your business, or the comments left do not represent your brand but can harm your online reputation.
There are no explicit statements in the Yelp review guidelines about fake reviews. With that said, the customer review site does accept reports about false contributions.
In this age where buying and selling online reviews is rampant, you can flag fake Yelp reviews and safeguard your brand’s reputation by doing these:
- Learn whether the contributor is a genuine customer by looking into your client records. According to Yelp’s content guidelines, their contributions must reflect their own experience with your business.
- Look at their review activity. If the contributor has a brand new account with just your review, they’re likely leaving fake Yelp reviews.
- Study the tone and language they’re using in their reviews. They might be working under a broader fake review campaign if they have been writing similar comments simultaneously.
Gather evidence proving your case and present them to Yelp to free your business profile of false ratings and reviews.
How To Delete Reviews on Yelp
As mentioned earlier, deleting a bad Yelp review is not a simple task you can complete with a few clicks. Instead, it is often a long process that requires time and effort.
To report and remove bad reviews from Yelp, you have to first claim your business page at business.yelp.com. This is a fairly standard process, and you will be guided through the steps you’ll have to take to claim your listing.
Once you have your business account, here’s a brief outline of how to delete reviews on Yelp:
- Log into your account and find the review you want to be removed.
- Click on the three dots: the “More options” button and select “Report review.”
- Complete the form that shows up. Here, you’ll have to choose the most appropriate reason for your removal request and provide as much information about it as possible.
- After sending the form, wait for their reply. Yelp moderators usually take anywhere from 24 hours to a week to evaluate requests according to the Yelp review removal policy.
If moderators decide to remove the review in question, they’ll delete it immediately and notify the user that they did so because it violated their guidelines.
However, there are also cases where they turn down removal requests. If you disagree with their decision, you can contact them for a reevaluation – but remember that removing your unwanted ratings and reviews is still ultimately up to them.
How To Respond to a Negative Review
As mentioned above, moderators don’t always approve requests to remove Yelp reviews. Fortunately, this isn’t the end for you and your online reputation.
There are other ways to succeed in brand reputation management online, like learning how to respond to a negative review. Discovering the best ways to handle these kinds of feedback with professionalism can help you turn the situation around and even create a favorable impression on other Yelp users.
On that note, here are some tips worth keeping in mind:
TIP #1: Never Rush in To Respond
Seeing a fake or bad Yelp review on your profile can tempt you to respond with a strongly worded reply, but this will do more harm than good to your brand. So rather than making your business look worse with biting remarks, take a moment to think about what you want to say.
Pausing to craft your message and finding the right words to use can save your reputation from further damage.
TIP #2: But Don’t Forget To Respond
While it’s necessary to think about your response carefully, remember that you still have to promptly get back to the contributor. The longer you wait before addressing a bad review, the more your brand’s name can be smeared.
Going forward, it’s also best that you invest in online reputation management software. Doing so lets you keep track of reviews as they appear and respond to them right away.
TIP #3: Actually Resolve the Issue
Formulating a constructive and professional response is crucial, but that’s just half the job done. You also have to make an effort to understand why the reviewer was dissatisfied, what went wrong and how you can solve the problem. Doing these shows the customer, along with other Yelp users, that you take their concerns seriously.
TIP #4: Move the Discussion Forward – Offline
Some reviewers leave negative reviews to seek attention. But rather than dismiss them, it’s better to acknowledge their feedback – and then take the discussion offline as quickly as possible. Then, invite them to reach you through phone or email to discuss their concerns further.
TIP #5: Generate More Positive Reviews
Since Yelp reviews for business are often displayed chronologically, keeping positive feedback coming in can help push down the negative ones.
Of course, this isn’t to encourage you to resort to buying fake reviews. Your best bet is to work with reputation management consultants who offer review response generation and review response services.
Boost Your Business Reputation Management With Expert ORM Professionals
While you won’t be able to please your customers all the time, there are ways to protect your brand and remove bad reviews from Yelp. However, doing the latter isn’t as simple as logging into your account and clicking on a button. You’ll have to learn how to delete reviews on Yelp according to its content guidelines.
It’s also worth noting that deleting contributions won’t work all the time. It’s not likely that you’ll be able to report and successfully remove negative reviews all the time, and some comments are better addressed head-on than deleted or ignored.
Maximizing Yelp reviews for business reputation management can be overwhelming, but Rize Reviews has the solutions to aid your review monitoring efforts. So whether you need a customizable online reputation management software, a listings management tool or review generation services, we have everything you need to stay on top of your digital footprint.
If you’re ready to learn how Rize Reviews can optimize your review responses and supercharge your brand reputation management, contact us today! Our reputation management consultants will be happy to help you maintain a spotless brand identity moving forward.