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How the Yelp Filter Works

yelp-logoThe Yelp review filter was a feature that was baked into Yelp since the beginning, but has only become more developed over the years. After a brief history of why the filter is needed, we’ll dive into an explanation of how it works and what your business can do to avoid having your positive reviews disappear.

The History of the Review

From the beginning, Yelp understood that its value would diminish rapidly if the site was unable to create a mechanism that identified fake reviews and disposed of them. In the beginning of the site’s lifespan, this filter was very rudimentary. Those rules weren’t very advanced and caught a lot of false positives, filtering real reviews as fakes.

Over time, Yelp devoted more resources to strengthening this tool.

SEOs and marketing managers have also developed a basic understanding of how it works. At the least, there are some hard and fast rules to follow if you don’t want your business’ reviews to get caught in the filter:

  • Users who review should have more than one review to their name.
  • Reviewers should have developed profiles that express the user’s interests, potentially show a photo and have a realistic-looking bio for that user. Check-ins help with verification of a user’s locale, ensuring that location-based reviews are filtered accordingly.
  • Reviews should refrain from slanting too far one way or another. No one has the most incredible service they’ve ever had outside of a handful of examples. This rule is perhaps the hardest to quantify.

User Behavior

Yelp understands how its users think, which plays a role in the kinds of reviews the site chooses to display. Yelp knows, for example, that users are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one.

With that in mind, businesses should take a few distinct steps to improve the quality of reviews they receive. First, don’t be shy! Reach out to the reviewer. If the review is positive, consider becoming that user’s friend on Yelp. Vote the review useful, and encourage others to do the same.

If you’re reviewing, make sure your profile has a picture associated with it. You should also reach out to other users and make friends. If possible, vote their reviews funny or useful. Then begin writing your own reviews. With luck and time, your work will be accepted by Yelp as legitimate.

In Summary

The filter that Yelp employs to remove faked reviews has all the right intentions, but it still leads to false positives. If your business is seeing positive reviews disappear, take a look at the profiles for the users that left those reviews. Look for some of the “fake” attributes and encourage your authentic customers to leave reviews on your page.

Some businesses even look to reputation management firms to help with this outreach and engagement. You might contract these companies to help create an email list, or design a campaign to aggregate positive reviews and testimonials. If you can’t use them for Yelp, you can still list them on your website.