Between a tourist passing through a particular area and a local who eats out here often, you’d probably be more likely to trust the latter’s reviews on Yelp for a restaurant you’re checking out. This is precisely why Yelp filters reviews by “recommended” and “non-recommended” – it’s an effort to promote reliable and useful reviews on Yelp.
But in the process, Yelp hides good reviews if they don’t meet certain quality standards. As a business owner, the last thing you want is for positive Yelp reviews to be sent to the Yelp not recommended reviews list. Naturally, you’d want to feature positive Yelp business reviews for all the benefits they provide.
Businesses need Yelp reviews because they serve as social proof and instill trust in existing and potential customers. They also contribute to improved search engine rankings and boost your online visibility. Most importantly, Yelp business reviews are proven to impact your sales positively.
So, what can you do about Yelp hidden reviews? And then there’s the question of how to get Yelp reviews back to where you need them to be. Both these answers start with a complete understanding of why and how Yelp filters reviews.
This blog explains why Yelp hides good reviews and provides tips on how to get Yelp reviews unfiltered in 2021. Read on to learn the industry best practices on how to get not recommended reviews back on Yelp, how to get Yelp reviews the right way and how to get better Yelp reviews.
Why Does Yelp Remove Good Reviews?
Let’s start by answering the most important question: Why does Yelp remove good reviews in the first place? And considering how much businesses need and rely on them, why does Yelp remove good reviews at all?
Customers should be able to trust reviews on Yelp wholeheartedly, and businesses don’t deserve to be targeted with inaccurate feedback. As a result, Yelp hides good reviews and bad reviews based on fairness and accuracy, with specific rules in place to avoid anyone abusing the power of online reviews. In line with the concept of fairness, Yelp filters reviews automatically through its recommendation software, which analyzes billions of data points.
Yelp reviews that are confirmed to be fake or in violation of Yelp content guidelines are removed, while other reviews are (by Yelp’s standards) questionable or leave room for doubt but don’t necessarily qualify for removal. These are filtered as Yelp not recommended reviews.
For instance, Yelp is against businesses asking for reviews – even if this is (or was) common practice of Yelp review management services. Solicited reviews are considered biased and unfair because customers might be pressured to leave positive feedback. One example of how Yelp discovers this frowned-upon practice is if many new reviews appear in a very short period.
What you need to know is that Yelp says it “showcases the reviews that it determines are most helpful” and “typically written by active members of the Yelp community who are self-motivated to share their personal, detailed experiences about local businesses.”
With this in mind, let’s dig deeper into how Yelp filters reviews.
What Makes Yelp Reviews Not Recommended?
Yelp values quality over quantity and enforces strict review quality standards. Yelp states that great Yelp reviews “should come from consumers who had a great experience that they’re inspired to tell others about.” Any review that falls short of this but is not removed will go to the Yelp reviews not recommended list.
So, where can you find Yelp not recommended reviews? Below the recommended reviews list, you will see a link, x other reviews that are not currently recommended, at the bottom of the business page. Clicking the link will take you to the Yelp hidden reviews on a different page. Take note that Yelp confirms these “don’t factor into the business’s overall star rating or review count.”
Keep in mind that the software works with the well-being of both customers and businesses in mind. And there are four general signals the Yelp recommendation software bases its decisions on: conflicts of interest, solicited reviews, reliability and usefulness.
Specific examples of Yelp reviews not recommended by the algorithm:
Conflicts of Interest
- Unfair bias from friends or family members
- Written by people with undisclosed ties to a business
- Written by a competitor or disgruntled employees
- A sudden surge of reviews in a short period
- A business’s website is the referring domain
- A succession of only positive reviews
- Written by less active or recently active users
- Users with empty or incomplete profiles
- Users with not enough Yelp friends and engagement
- Not enough information about the user
- Reviews originating from the same IP address
- Reviews originating from the same device
- Reviews originating far away from the business
- Reviews originating from strange IP addresses or locations
- Unhelpful rants
- Short reviews or reviews with no explanation
- Users who only leave 1- or 5-star reviews
- The review isn’t tagged as useful, funny or cool by other Yelp users
How To Get Not Recommended Reviews Back on Yelp
Remember that Yelp describes non-recommended reviews as “other reviews that are not currently recommended” – revealing the potential for Yelp hidden reviews to be recommended.
This is what Yelp has to say about how to get not recommended reviews back on Yelp: “The software improves its recommendations as it learns new information from reviews and reviewers. Its decisions can change over time.”
While this doesn’t specify how to get Yelp reviews unfiltered, it opens up the possibility. The best approach is to revisit the scenarios that cause reviews to be flagged and act on the ones you can – usually the engagement-related factors.
Actionable tips on how to get not recommended reviews back on your Yelp business reviews page:
- Find the reviewers with the best chances of being unfiltered.
- Request users to complete their Yelp profile with their personal information.
- Ask users to link their social media accounts for added credibility.
- Encourage users to increase the quantity and quality of their reviews.
- Encourage users to increase their Yelp activity and grow their friend list.
- Respond to reviews and initiate all possible forms of engagement.
Take every opportunity you can to improve your reviewer’s profile on Yelp. You have the highest chance of saving your Yelp hidden reviews if your customer is willing to improve their Yelp profile and you take steps to boost their activity. Specific initiatives include adding them as a friend, sending them a message on Yelp, “upvoting” their review by using the useful, funny and cool tags and crafting a thoughtful review response.
Pivoting Your Yelp Review Management Strategy
Remember this: Yelp has explicitly stated that even a Yelp employee can’t help you save Yelp not recommended reviews because the process is fully automated. If a Yelp review management agency guarantees they know how to get Yelp reviews unfiltered, think twice! A Yelp review management company can only really suggest based on Yelp review management best practices.
Yelp Review Management Challenges
One of the biggest red flags that the recommendation software picks up is solicited reviews. Review generation or acquisition is effective and offered by most online review management services. However, a knowledgeable Yelp review management agency would tell you to steer clear of this.
Yelp recommends reviews from users who are “self-motivated to share.” So if your Yelp review management services include acquisition, then you could be wasting money on reviews that will not count towards your review rating.
Tim Clarke, senior reputation manager at Rize Reviews, shares another challenge: “Most businesses have their lowest review rating or score on Yelp because people looking to leave negative reviews do so there more than on other sites.”
The Right Yelp Review Management Approach
Any reputable Yelp review management company references this popular statistic: increasing your Yelp rating by one star leads to a 5-9 percent increase in revenue (Harvard Business Review). This is used by most online review management companies – offering Yelp review management services or not – to prove the impact of online review management services on sales. Businesses undoubtedly need online review management services.
Many businesses rely on a Yelp review management agency to improve their scores, but if review generation is discouraged, what can be done?
“Since so many Yelp reviews are not being recommended these days, online review management companies are adjusting their strategies. For instance, we no longer suggest asking for Yelp reviews through review solicitation campaigns, but we still monitor your reviews for its role in boosting sales,” said Clarke.
He shares other ways a Yelp review management company can support businesses:
- Responding to reviews and increase engagement on Yelp
- Monitoring reviews for brand perception and social listening purposes
- Using an online review management software for brand mention alerts
- Advising on advertising strategies on Yelp
- Contacting Yelp on your behalf to report fake reviews and resolve issues
Seek Advice From Online Review Management Experts
Clarke describes Yelp as “likely the most challenging to manage for most online review management companies,” primarily because of the strict guidelines and constant platform changes. Reviews being increasingly sent to a “not recommended” list is just the latest among the ways Yelp strives to improve its platform.
“Providing great products and services should be your primary focus. You can verbally ask happy customers to leave a Yelp review, and that wouldn’t be an issue,” added Clarke. He recommends expanding your review strategy to include Google, Facebook and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reviews for a holistic online review management strategy.
The challenge of how to get better Yelp reviews and improve your Yelp score requires a multi-faceted approach. It requires constant learning, adjusting and testing. Your best course of action is to seek the help of industry professionals to build a strategy that works for your unique business.
Rize Reviews is a Yelp review management company offering 100 percent done-for-you Yelp review management services. We guide you through how to get Yelp reviews unfiltered, how to get better Yelp reviews and how to get Yelp reviews the right way.
Our online review management software helps you stay on top of your online reputation and leverage reviews on Yelp and other review sites. This online review management software also enables us to see new reviews and respond to them quickly and supports any non-review-related email or SMS communications you might need.
Contact us today to learn more about improving your review ratings through customized online review management solutions.