Let’s talk about Yelp Reviews.
First I’m going to provide an overview of Yelp Reviews. Then, we’ll discuss steps you can take to get reviews for your practice. And then I’ll talk about how to get reviews removed on Yelp.
Yelp’s review system can be a point of frustration for business owners as Yelp’s algorithm for handling reviews doesn’t always behave in a predictable manner.
There are two places where a Yelp review can appear on your listing – recommended or not currently recommended.
I should point out that reviews can start out as recommended and move to not currently recommended over time – and they can also move from not currently recommended to recommended.
Yelp Reviews Overview
Let’s take a quick video walkthrough of reviews for a dentists office and the recommended and not recommended reviews.
Here we have the Yelp page for a Colorado dental office.
You can see the star rating at the top of the listing. This particular office is rated 5 stars.
The office address and contact information is displayed below the review rating.
Below that as we scroll down a bit, Yelp puts ads for other dental offices on the Yelp page of the current dental office. If you advertise on Yelp, you can put ads for your office on competing dentists Yelp pages. Advertising with Yelp can also prevent other advertisers from showing their ads on your Yelp page.
Next to the ads are the hours on the right hand side.
Scrolling down a bit further, we arrive at Yelp’s recommended reviews. The reviews here are recommended by Yelp’s algorithm.
Usually reviews in the recommended section are from reviewers that are very active on Yelp. Reviewers that leave a lot of reviews, have a lot of friends and post a lot of photos are more likely to have their reviews appear in the recommended section.
As we scroll down further, we see a grayed out link for the reviews that aren’t currently recommended. You have to click on that link to see those reviews.
Yelp’s Recommended vs Not Recommended Seems Arbitrary Sometimes
But before we click on that link, let me show you a review in the recommended section that I think probably shouldn’t be there. This reviewer has just two total reviews. Granted, she did leave a lengthy review, but she only has two reviews, and yet her review is placed in the recommended section by Yelp’s algorithm.
Now we’re going to click twice to dive deep into the not currently recommended reviews section to see a reviewer with 12 total reviews. Despite having 10 more reviews, this reviewer’s opinions are not currently recommended.
It is the seemingly arbitrary nature of Yelp’s algorithm that can be frustrating for small business owners – including dentists.
That said, again I want to point out that in general the more reviews and activity a Yelp reviewer has, the more likely they are to have their reviews in the recommended section.
Getting Yelp Reviews
Yelp specifically advises that you “Don’t Ask for Reviews”.
Facebook and Google don’t prevent business owners from asking for reviews – Yelp must feel that business owners asking for reviews somehow tarnishes the integrity of their website.
I did find a marketer – who says even though Yelp doesn’t want you to ask for reviews it isn’t against Yelp’s terms of services, he recommends that business owners go ahead and ask for Yelp reviews. I’ve linked to his opinion below.
To be on the safe side, I personally would avoid asking for Yelp reviews.
With the exception of not being able to ask for reviews, getting reviews from Yelp is a lot like getting reviews from Google or Facebook.
- Real Patients – Only patients that have received your services should leave reviews
- No Incentives – You can’t incentivize reviews in any way – including gifts, discounts or promotions
- Patients Use Own Device – Patients should leave reviews using their own device – either their smartphone or computer – don’t set up a review station in your dental office or else Yelp will probably delete the reviews as they can tell based on your computer’s IP address where the review came in from
Getting Reviews Removed
If you have some Yelp reviews that you’d like to see removed, there is a process to get rid of those reviews, but probably only if those reviews violate Yelp’s content guidelines (I’ve provided a link to the content guidelines below)
Inappropriate language, relevance, and conflicts of interest would be reasons to get a review removed.
A link to the removal form is provided below.
If a review looks suspicious – for example you never treated the patient who reviewed your office- you can click on the link to the patient and look at their review pattern for strange behavior. If they reviewed multiple dental offices within a short period of time, that would definitely be a red flag that you can use to build your case as to why the review should be removed.
That covers the complicated world of Yelp reviews. There are some links below for you to do further research.
- Yelp: Don’t Ask for Reviews
- Maybe It isn’t Against Yelp’s TOS to Ask For Reviews
- Yelp’s content guidelines
- Reporting a Review for Removal
- Yelp’s Terms of Service