Yelp's Biggest Algorithm Update


CraigJMount

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Hey guys,

Yelp updated its "recommendation software" around November 8th. The result was a massive wipe of thousands of reviews.

What's interesting to me is that there seems to be a lot of collateral damage, even legitimate stagnate Yelp Elites are seeing reviews deleted in favor of consistency.

Does anyone have any examples of massive review losses from Yelp?

The Yelp Purge of 2018 - Yelp's New Algorithm Filters More Reviews - telapost
 

JoyHawkins

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Hey Craig,

Thanks for bringing this up. I have a client I just checked who is in auto repair. At the beginning of November they had 42 reviews on Yelp. On December 7th they had 38. Today they have 35.

They are also a Yelp advertiser (just mentioning that in case anyone tries to throw in a conspiracy theory). They are not using any type of solicitation service for Yelp review


One review that disappeared was actually one we embedded on their site using Yelp's widget (so okay by their standards) and the widget still works and still shows the review, yet when you click it, it redirects you to the business page which doesn't show the actual review we're quoting.

Oh, and look what it did to their average rating. Like usual, Yelp always paints a much-more negative picture of a business than any other review site.
 

Maxw555

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I’ve been keeping a close eye on yelps algorithm “change” which appears to have rolled out late October.

I’ve spoken with dozens of business owners who are being hit hard by this. Some have lost dozens, some hundreds of reviews.

I do find it a little odd that their stock took a dive early November, coincidently that is near the time this mass filter started to roll out.

Reviews that have been up for years are being taken away. I don’t expect them to release a statement on what has happened (that’s typical of yelp), but maybe someone can provide a little more insight as to what has transpired.
 

Len Telapost

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One review that disappeared was actually one we embedded on their site using Yelp's widget (so okay by their standards) and the widget still works and still shows the review, yet when you click it, it redirects you to the business page which doesn't show the actual review we're quoting.
Hi Joy, I take it you took over for Linda? (I am a bit out of the loop I guess). Anyhow, the forum looks great!

I was wondering what happened w/ Yelp embeds. That is good to know.
 

pbarnhart

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Confirming drops in older reviews - we've seen more 1-star reviews filtered in the last 3 months of the year than 5-star reviews. Seems that this is also hitting inactive users - almost all of high-quality reviews (complete profiles with check-ins, friends, etc) that were filtered were from accounts with little or no activity in the past 120 days. This looks like a general revamp of the reviewer trust algorithm. This is the first time I've seen upvoted previously-sticky reviews get filtered this year.

On the plus side, saw at least 10 previously-filtered reviews revived after the reviewer submitted additional reviews and increased friend count.
 
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FWIW, I asked Yelp via Twitter if they had an algorithm change and they responded with, "Which reviews are recommended on business pages will change over time as the software picks up new information that makes a reviewer more trustworthy, or the information we have about a review grows stale."

Sounds like a pre-written non-answer to me.
 

MirageLimo

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We lost half of a star before we knew about the purge. Thanks for the update. Not sure of the review count totals. Haven't been tracking it.
Great article linked above. @Maxw555 the article mentions that they purged inactive users, for one. Hope that helps.
 

Tim Colling

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Yelp is going to become more important to keep track of in the future, since Alexa relies upon Yelp (and Bing) for local search results. <sigh>
 

Justmind

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I would love to know if negative reviews were less impacted than positive reviews by this change.
We lost half of our positive Yelp reviews and are now down to 6... and these are excruciatingly difficult to get in mental health. I noticed another practice that has had a lot of negative ones did not seem to lose any reviews as they still have 17 mostly negative ones.
 

JoyHawkins

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We lost half of our positive Yelp reviews and are now down to 6... and these are excruciatingly difficult to get in mental health. I noticed another practice that has had a lot of negative ones did not seem to lose any reviews as they still have 17 mostly negative ones.
UGH! Do you mind sharing how you got them? Were they just people who happened to find you on Yelp and leave a review randomly (like what Yelp thinks the world should do)?
 

Justmind

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We used to have almost 20 positive reviews on Yelp. We had random clients find us, I had a few clients I knew that were happy that I mentioned Yelp in passing to them as a helpful tool that left reviews (soft nudge), Gatherup had previously helped us in this area too, but now it's virtually impossible to get them. We also have a Yelp badge on our therapists' main page but with the cut down in quality reviews, it is making us rethink having it up at all if the number of reviews are so few.

The ones Yelp took down were positive, had profile pictures, many reviews, and had multiple friends. They were legitimate reviews. It's almost like the person who developed the algorithm hated Yelp and shorted the stock before releasing the update.
 

Tim Colling

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We also have a Yelp badge on our therapists' main page but with the cut down in quality reviews, it is making us rethink having it up at all if the number of reviews are so few.
We can't ignore yelp entirely, since it's one of the primary local search engines used by Alexa. :(
 

Tim Colling

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Gatherup had previously helped us in this area too
My firm uses GatherUp and if I recall correctly, GatherUp doesn't allow you to solicit Yelp reviews with their tool. Maybe I'm not remembering correctly. (And yes, I do know that Yelp says that we should not solicit reviews).
 

Justmind

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Yes, Yelp no longer allows any tools (Gatherup or otherwise) to solicit reviews. Gatherup changed that a while ago, as did other online review engines.
 
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We have a total of 323 (5) star reviews on Yelp (including filtered reviews) and in less then 60 days Yelp removed 105 five star reviews. We had 203 reviews that were showing on Oct 30 and on Christmas day 2018 we're down to 97 reviews.

Since Christmas Day the reviews stopped getting removed, but the damage had been done and we will soon be leaving Yelp after 4.5 years. Yelp can longer be trusted because this BS will only happen again so why bother staying!!

According to what I’ve read on the Internet Yelp no longer likes companies with all 5 star reviews and this is the biggest reason from what I can tell after doing much research. It looks like Yelp wants their listed companies to also have negative reviews so it looks more realistic. Yelps should look at my other reviews on the Internet because we have an additional 2700 more reviews that are also all 5 star rated.

What Yelp has done is wrong and immoral and should sued!! I feel sorry for everyone who’s had their well earned 5 star reviews removed because I know exactly what you’re going through and how you feel!

Anyone who has any questions please call me anytime.

Ken (Roof.net)
 

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