Yelp reviews for restaurants – A Q&A directly from Yelp
Bar Marketing Basics Q&A
Attributed to John Carroll, Senior Manager of Business Outreach & Brand Evangelist at Yelp
1. What goes into the process to determine what reviews get flagged and what reviews are allowed to stay?
Yelp’s goal is to protect consumers and provide trustworthy and reliable content. We have an automated recommendation software in place that is engineered to highlight the most useful and reliable content to consumers. Our recommendation software weeds out possible fake reviews, biased reviews, and unhelpful rants or raves.
Yelp looks to reviewers to write honestly and stand behind their reviews, and we look to businesses to engage constructively with customers who haven’t had a positive experience. We provide a platform for two-way communication as well as free messaging tools for business owners to connect directly with customers.
Our stance is quality over quantity and we use a multi-faceted approach to protecting the quality of content on Yelp:
- Our community of users contributes quality content and we encourage consumers and businesses to flag content that might violate our Terms of Service and Content Guidelines.
- Our user operations team reviews content for violations of our Terms of Service and Content Guidelines, and determines if they will remove it from the site. This includes hate speech and reviews that are not from a firsthand experience. You can read more about this, here.
- Yelp’s automated recommendation software works constantly to evaluate many data points about every review and determine if it will be recommended on the business page, or moved to a separate “not recommended” page where a consumer can still read it, but it won’t be factored into the business’s star rating. We currently recommend about 75% of reviews contributed to Yelp.
2. Is there (or will there be) any way to “opt-out” of Yelp in the future?
Yelp does not remove business pages because it is typically a matter of public record and public concern. We encourage business owners to claim their business page and engage with their fans and critics alike through the free tools Yelp provides. It’s actually been proven that small businesses with a free business owner’s account saw an average of $8,000 in annual revenue from Yelp.
While we understand some businesses would prefer to keep a low profile, consumers have the right to find and share helpful information about great local businesses. Once they claim their Yelp page, business owners can update or change information to ensure it’s as accurate as possible. And as always, we evaluate every suggested change to information on business listings.
3. Does Yelp manipulate reviews or change algorithms depending on if they advertise with Yelp or not?
Yelp does not treat non-advertisers any differently than advertisers. These claims have been investigated and debunked in multiple courtrooms and by independent scholarly studies. Our goal is to help thousands of small businesses connect with consumers every day, so there’s no amount of money you can pay Yelp to alter a business’s reviews or rating.
For business owners looking to maintain or improve their rating on Yelp, we recommend unlocking their free business owner account and using the free tools we offer – like responding to reviews. A Yelp study found that reviews mentioning “good” or “great” customer service were over 5 times more likely to be a 5-star review than a 1-star review. Another study found that users are 33% more likely to upgrade their review if a business owner responds with a personalized message within a day.
4. Who does Yelp side with when obvious lies are posted?
Yelp does not take sides in factual disputes. However, business owners and consumers can flag reviews to our user operations team that violate our Terms of Service and Content Guidelines. Yelp looks to reviewers to write honestly and stand behind their reviews, but we also give business owners the opportunity to respond publicly and share their side of the story through our free suite of tools.
For more on restaurant and bar online review strategy