Yelp Ranking Factors - From the Source


Colan Nielsen

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A colleague of mine passed along this reply he received from a Yelp Support rep. It validates many of the previous Yelp Ranking Factors that Phil went over on this great post - Yelp Ranking Factors | LocalVisibilitySystem.com

What do you guys think?

Yelp search results are based on a confidential algorithm and while we do not have the exact formula, a few things that may influence search and rankings include review text, star ratings, number of reviews, text that a business includes in their listing in the Specialties/History/Meet the Business Owner sections, key words that a searcher types in and location the searcher seeks.

Yelp functions similarly to the other search engines in that it looks to match the key words that the searcher types in. There are a few reasons why you are not likely to be presented in a search for ??? Agent? near ?Mooresville, NC?. Currently, you do not have the key word ?Agent? anywhere in your Specialties, History or Meet the Business Owner sections of your listings. You also do not have any reviews from consumers who reference the word ?Agent? in their text.

If you perform a search with the key words ?Allstate?, ?Allstate Insurance? or ?Insurance? near ?Mooresville, IL? you will likely find the your listings do show up in the search results because all of the key words typed in appear in your listing. If you would like to increase the odds that you appear in search results for a specific key word, we would recommend that you add it to the Specialties, History or Meet the Business Owner section of your listing. We would caution against what search engines call ?key word stuffing?, which is adding key words to game the system and attain better results. Ultimately, text should be written for a consumer as they would be reading it and should have a nice flow ? it should not just be a laundry list of words that you would like be tied to your search results. Pages/listings/websites that are suspected of key word stuffing, could potentially see a decrease in traffic over time as the search engines become aware and remove or block you from appearing at all in search results.

Another thing that will help you to appear more often in search results is to receive more reviews. As you receive more reviews, the text from consumers becomes ?eligible? to be searched for key words, in addition to the limited character space available in the Specialties, History or Meet the Business Owner sections. Reviews not only help you with searches on Yelp, they also have the potential to show up in search outside of Yelp (on Google, Yahoo, etc.).

One last thing worth mentioning is that adding additional photographs or the agency video from Marketing Package will make a listing more dynamic and interesting from a consumers perspective. Our recommendation would be to add pictures of the agency, of staff, a group photo, of events that you have worked, etc. to further personalize your listing. Certain pictures may be displayed in mobile search (for example the street view may appear for people seeking out directions and maps to a location) to help consumers find the agency more easily. These things may have an indirect effect on search results.
 
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Good stuff! What do you think about buying ads from Yelp? I know many have speculated that buying into Yelp ads would help with the review filter or listing ranking, so is there any proof to credit or discredit that speculation?
 

Blake Denman

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Good stuff! What do you think about buying ads from Yelp? I know many have speculated that buying into Yelp ads would help with the review filter or listing ranking, so is there any proof to credit or discredit that speculation?
I have had 2 clients cancel Yelp ads and have not had anything drastic happen to reviews being filtered. 2 is a small sample size, but that is just my experience.
 

Lloyd Silver

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Going to bump this as I just got a call from someone regarding ranking within Yelp, which really isn't a specific service that I offer.

Any additional insight into the Yelp algo?
 
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Does anyone know what the "magic number" is for a person's reviews to not get auto-filtered? The ones with 0 friends and 1 review are filtered virtually all the time, we know that, but in looking at some clients' competitor w/ reviews that stick, there is not an obvious baseline.

Anyone been able to figure one out? The filtering of genuine reviews is so frustrating for businesses.

Thanks!
 

Phil Rozek

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After about 5-10 they start getting filtered a lot less. But it varies, and it also depends on how active the reviewer is over a period of a few months. If a reviewer goes dormant for more than a month or two, even if he or she has written 15-20 reviews, they'll start getting filtered even if they weren't filtered originally.

I'd say the "magic number" is 20+, but even then, you can't go dormant.

Of course, if you're "Elite" your reviews never get filtered.
 
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Thanks for weighing in.

Though your answer will be quite disheartening for most businesses. :( It's extra frustrating too since Yelp reviews and average star ratings are displayed in other search results and on other sites.

Curious if there are there any stats out there on whether anyone besides search marketers read the "not recommended" reviews? Which, of course don't even matter if the only one that sticks for a business is a 1 star, even when they have 10 times as many 5 stars in the "not recommended" section!

Can you tell that I find Yelp maddening?

Again, thanks.
 
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I make it a practice of having my clients contact their filtered reviews. I've trained them on what to look for such as a thin profile or too few reviews. They email the reviewer and suggest they complete their profile or add a few more reviews of other businesses - whatever the problem is. We've been pretty successful at getting many of them unfiltered.

You'd be surprised. People don't like being filtered and want their opinion visible, especially if they've made an effort to write a detailed review.
 

Dave

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I'm just reading this. That is very interesting. It would suggest you can influence how you are seen via your efforts to claim the listing and especially in the meet the owner section. That is a specific rich area. Very insightful. Now I have to go out and give it a "shot".
 

heckler

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This would tell me that Yelp is likely more valuable to have an actual claim on as opposed to just using a data-aggregator (like Yext) to build/update Yelp.

You don't get the 'Meet the Business Owner' or 'History' sections without an actual claim.

I knew I had a fake Yelp listing for a reason. :)
 

MichaelJ

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We've been pretty successful at getting many of them unfiltered.

You'd be surprised. People don't like being filtered and want their opinion visible, especially if they've made an effort to write a detailed review.
I've never heard of a review becoming "unfiltered." Do they have to contact Yelp after adding photos, doing more reviews, etc., or are you suggesting that it later happens just as result of doing what your clients recommend to the reviewers?
 
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Reviewers can gain Yelp's trust by posting more reviews and becoming a better and more frequent user. Once this happens, some of the reviews may get unfiltered.
 

Colan Nielsen

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Thanks Dino!

David Mihm touched on the subject in this great post from 2013 - https://moz.com/blog/operation-clean-air-yelp-review-filter

"Filtered reviews" ≠ "reviews lost forever"

A review once-filtered does not necessarily mean a review filtered-for-alltime. There are steps that I believe will make their review more likely to be promoted from the filter onto your actual business page:

  1. Complete their personal Yelp profile, including photo and bio information.
  2. Download the Yelp app to their mobile device and sign in.
  3. Connect their Facebook account to their Yelp profile.
  4. Make friends with at least a handful of other Yelpers.
  5. Review at least 8-10 other businesses besides yours.
  6. Leave at least one review with each star rating (i.e. 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-).

For those customers who are super-frustrated by Yelp's filtering of their review or with whom you, as a business owner, have particularly a strong relationship, consider requesting that they undertake at least a couple of those tactics. I certainly don't guarantee their success, but it's worth a shot.
 

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