Best Practices for Getting "Recommended" Yelp Reviews?

Joined
Sep 8, 2016
Messages
66
I have a client who has 16 reviews on Yelp but only 3 of them Yelp considers "recommended" and are displayed on the company profile and factor into the average rating. That's pretty frustrating for me and the client.

1) Is there anything that can be done to get Yelp to reconsider those 13 "not recommended" reviews?

2) Is there anything that can be done to increase the odds future reviews will be "recommended?"

Since Yelp shows the number of friends, reviews, and photos a reviewer has posted below their name, it seems likely those are factors.

FWIW, one of the "recommended" reviews was from someone with only 0 friends, 5 reviews and 1 photo. Meanwhile, one "not recommended" review was by someone with 22 friends, 3 reviews and 1 photo and another 22 friends and 10 reviews. The one thing I can see that may have gotten that one "recommended" is they included a photo with their review.
 

mattheffner

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Joined
Aug 23, 2018
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General opinion I've seen has been that their review will be hidden if they have done less than 5 reviews on their profile. Also no friends or other activity increases the odds it gets hidden.

But with their last few updates these past months I've seen them break those "rules" such as a first time negative reviewer be recommended on a client's site and stick.

Darren Shaw at Whitespark had some creative ideas last year in a blog that we've tried with some success. Mostly we just ignore to their games and focus on other areas.
 

Tony Wang

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Oct 13, 2014
Messages
125
What Rich said, you just have to get lots of Yelp reviews cuz most will get filtered. Reviews that get filtered tend to be for reviewers that are not very active, like few reviews written, and also not so recently. Longer reviews with good details also seem to stick better.

With that being the case, I tell clients to ask for Google reviews primarily, but also mention other places they might leave a review, such as Yelp. Don't bother giving a link or instructions, if they're active Yelpers they'll know how.

Also, depending on how well you track your leads, if you know someone came through yelp or is active on yelp, definitely hit them up. Of course, you aren't supposed to ask, so be careful how you do it.
 

keyserholiday

Local Search Expert
Joined
Jul 27, 2017
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114
Yelp is super aggressive with filtering out reviews. Activity of the users doesn’t matter much, however, if the reviewer doesn’t have a photo, lots of reviews and friends, Yelp is more willing to remove or not recommended the review. Don’t friend your reviewers as that has been known to cause reviews to filtered out.

Please note, it violates Yelps TOS to ask for reviews, so if you include a link in your email, make sure it doesn’t state review us on Yelp. Yelp will remove your reviews and can slap a consumer alert on your listing. It’s better to get your users to to check in, which doesn’t apply to your business as you visit customer’s at their location.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
34
Echoing the sentiment of others here, Yelp generally isn't the most helpful website to focus on because their practices around filtering reviews are so overzealous. I wouldn't change your strategy to try and push Yelp reviews more. They're not as helpful as Google reviews. Unless your client is in a city with a very active Yelper population like NYC, you can pretty safely focus your efforts on other channels and get more bang out of it. Most people start their searches for home improvement professionals through Google, making your reviews and activity there easier to see by a broader audience.

If you really do want to engage with Yelp more, consider posting responses to all reviews there, positive or negative, and possibly turning on the Request a Quote feature. That shows people who do browse Yelp that you're actively involved even if your review numbers are low.
 

dannanelli

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Joined
May 24, 2014
Messages
35
I have a client who has 16 reviews on Yelp but only 3 of them Yelp considers "recommended" and are displayed on the company profile and factor into the average rating. That's pretty frustrating for me and the client.

1) Is there anything that can be done to get Yelp to reconsider those 13 "not recommended" reviews?

2) Is there anything that can be done to increase the odds future reviews will be "recommended?"

Since Yelp shows the number of friends, reviews, and photos a reviewer has posted below their name, it seems likely those are factors.

FWIW, one of the "recommended" reviews was from someone with only 0 friends, 5 reviews and 1 photo. Meanwhile, one "not recommended" review was by someone with 22 friends, 3 reviews and 1 photo and another 22 friends and 10 reviews. The one thing I can see that may have gotten that one "recommended" is they included a photo with their review.
Hi Paul,

1) I don’t think so. I don’t know of any way. I’ve contacted Yelp about this before and they basically said “too bad”.

2) Increasing review volume in general should help. You can try the Find a Friend strategy and the query string strategy listed here: Is There Anything You Can DO to Get Yelp Reviews These Days – without a Public Shaming? | LocalVisibilitySystem.com
 

Phil Rozek

Local Search Expert
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Jul 26, 2012
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1,557
@PaulSteinbrueck, what Dani said.

In theory, some of those filtered reviews could rise from the crypt if those reviewers became semi-active Yelp reviewers. (And stuck with it long-term; they can't just blast out 27 reviews in a weekend.) Of course, there's not much you can do to bring that about. It's hard enough to get anyone to review your business, let alone others' businesses.

The only practical thing you can do is ask everyone for a review. Even if you don't specifically ask anyone for a Yelp review, I still recommend using the "find friends" strategy for one simple reason: so you don't send people who aren't active Yelpers into the filter. You direct those people to Google or some other site(s). When you identify an active Yelper you just ask for a review on any old site (leave it vague), knowing that that person's preferred site is Yelp.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
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Sep 12, 2012
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You may be able to become an advertiser and get them out of "not recommended". People say this all the time. I used to not believe them but you could argue where there's smoke there's a fire. And there has been a ton of smoke on this. Super shady but possible.

The other idea is what everyone else is saying, just keep getting reviews. All of your competitors are facing the same rules (unless you can pay for the privilege as mentioned above) so just outwork them.

And I would say if you're top the ranked company in your local area on Google by a significant amount, 40+ reviews or so, and when you Google your keywords Yelp is near the top of search results, then I would keep trying Yelp. I have a client who pays Yelp $0 and makes a killing off of them. All because he hammered Yelp with reviews. Lots are also "not recommended" but he just kept after it.
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
34
You may be able to become an advertiser and get them out of "not recommended". People say this all the time. I used to not believe them but you could argue where there's smoke there's a fire. And there has been a ton of smoke on this. Super shady but possible.
This used to be true but I can confirm that it is no longer the case. Even high level advertisers have no power to pull reviews out of the dreaded not recommended bucket.
 

JoshuaMackens

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Sep 12, 2012
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This used to be true but I can confirm that it is no longer the case. Even high level advertisers have no power to pull reviews out of the dreaded not recommended bucket.
Glad to hear that!

Not to hijack the thread but have you noticed Yelp putting 10 "sponsored" results on pages now before the "organic" results by chance?
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
34
Glad to hear that!

Not to hijack the thread but have you noticed Yelp putting 10 "sponsored" results on pages now before the "organic" results by chance?
Oh yeah, I've definitely noticed. Yelp has been steadily dropping organic content lower and lower for years. I just did a few searches and one home improvement-related term had five advertisements above the organic and two ads in the right-side column. It's funny that a company so concerned with getting genuine customer reviews works so hard to push paid listings. I wonder if they've been having trouble since they decided to cut ties with all of the review solicitation companies like Reputation.com?
 

JoshuaMackens

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Sep 12, 2012
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Oh yeah, I've definitely noticed. Yelp has been steadily dropping organic content lower and lower for years. I just did a few searches and one home improvement-related term had five advertisements above the organic and two ads in the right-side column. It's funny that a company so concerned with getting genuine customer reviews works so hard to push paid listings. I wonder if they've been having trouble since they decided to cut ties with all of the review solicitation companies like Reputation.com?
How long has this been going on? I felt like I would usually only see 3? And in the results I'm looking at I see 10 sponsored for desktop, 3 sponsored in app. Is that usual?
 
Joined
Mar 28, 2019
Messages
34
How long has this been going on? I felt like I would usually only see 3? And in the results I'm looking at I see 10 sponsored for desktop, 3 sponsored in app. Is that usual?
At least a year, I'd say. I don't spend too much time on Yelp but I noticed it over the winter. Number and style of ads seems to vary by category. I've seen as few as two with large pictures (for bakeries) and as many as ten with smaller images (for plumbers). It seems almost like they're trying to obscure their own organic results by pushing them down further than the average person is willing to scroll. I think they've also been pushing reviews down further on business pages.
 

JoshuaMackens

Local Search Expert
Joined
Sep 12, 2012
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At least a year, I'd say. I don't spend too much time on Yelp but I noticed it over the winter. Number and style of ads seems to vary by category. I've seen as few as two with large pictures (for bakeries) and as many as ten with smaller images (for plumbers). It seems almost like they're trying to obscure their own organic results by pushing them down further than the average person is willing to scroll. I think they've also been pushing reviews down further on business pages.
Interesting. Thanks for the insight!
 

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