How to Get Yelp to Show "Filtered" Reviews

  • By Alexis Mintz
  • 19 May, 2017
If you're a business with a Yelp listing, you're likely familiar with "filtered" reviews, now officially called "not recommended" reviews. It can be incredibly frustrating as a business owner to see a legitimate customer review banished to the hidden, filtered reviews section. 

So let's take a look at exactly what Yelp filtered reviews are and how you can fight back.

What exactly are Yelp filtered reviews and why do reviews get filtered?

Yelp uses an automated algorithm to filter certain reviews to the "not recommended" section of your listing. The filter is intended to both protect businesses and preserve the integrity of Yelp by catching and removing fake or illegitimate reviews.

Unfortunately, because the filter is automated, it is common for authentic customer reviews to be filtered.

There are number of reasons an authentic review might get flagged for filtering by Yelp:

  1. Not enough reviews  - Yelp doesn't trust reviewers until they have left a number of Yelp reviews. So if your customer is not a frequent "Yelper", their review is likely to be filtered.
  2. Suspicious review content  - If the review is too overtly positive or negative, or if the review is too short, it may get filtered
  3. Location is wrong  - Yelp will look at the IP address of the reviewer, and if it's not close to the location of the business, it is likely to be filtered. Unfortunately this means if a legitimate customer visited your business while traveling, but waited to leave the review until back home, their review probably won't see the light of day.

So how can you get Yelp to unfilter your reviews?

The bad news can't. Once Yelp filters a review, there is no way to force those reviews to become unfiltered, even if you can prove that reviewer is a real customer. Over time, the review may appear in the recommended reviews if the automated algorithm decides it is legitimate, but there is no action that the business owner can take to make this happen.

But don't despair - there are a number of things you can do to fight back:

1. To get reviews that stick, give people options

If you push ONLY for Yelp reviews, you'll end up with a lot of reviews that are likely to be filtered just because the reviewer is not an active "Yelper". 

Focus on increasing your online reviews across ALL the major sites that could impact your business. For most businesses, this is Google and Facebook, but you may also have industry-specific sites that are important for your niche.

By giving people a few options, you maximize the chance that you'll get a new, public, 5-star review. Your customers who are active on Yelp will choose that site, and their review will probably stick. And all the rest of your customers will choose a site like Google or Facebook, and their reviews will stick there as well. It's a win-win.

P.S. Think Yelp is the most important review site? Think again. Facebook has 1.8 BILLION active monthly users (compared to 145 million on Yelp) and Google is making reviews more important by the day. 

2. Focus on volume - it's a numbers game

One of the best things you can to do is to ask customers for reviews regularly and consistently. By putting a system in place to get as many reviews as possible, you accomplish a few things:

Again, it's a numbers game - the more reviews you get overall, the less of an impact the Yelp filter will have. You'll have more reviews on Yelp specifically, but you'll also have more reviews across ALL sites, and so the sting of having a legitimate customer review filtered on Yelp will sting a little less.

Second, the more reviews you get, the more likely people are to engage with those reviews. On Yelp, visitors can mark a review as "Useful" or "Funny" - and useful and funny reviews are less likely to be filtered.
I totally get how annoying the "Not Recommended" reviews section is on Yelp. But focus instead on getting as many customer reviews as you can across SEVERAL top review sites, and you won't feel such an impact when Yelp filters a review.

Need help getting more customer reviews and fighting the Yelp review filter? We'd love to help.

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