Getting Past the Yelp Review Filter

By Kyla Donato, 29 July, 2015, 12:00

According to a Harvard University1 study, increasing your business' Yelp profile by just one star can translate into as much 5-9% more revenue. With 80%2 of Yelpers visiting the site with purchasing intentions, it's critical to pay attention to how your business is faring on the largest local review site today.

To achieve a high Yelp rating, all one needs are customers happy enough to leave positive reviews on your Yelp company page. However, in the eyes of the Yelp Gods, not all Yelpers are created equal. In an effort to reduce spammy, fraudulent, or misleading reviews, Yelp has employed a secretive filtering system that will hold certain reviews in limbo until it has vetted the Yelper that wrote it.

Unfortunately, Yelp’s system isn’t perfect, and sometimes even legitimate, positive reviews from actual customers get filtered, leaving both you and your customer wondering how to get reviews out of limbo and onto your company page. That’s why xAmplifier has a Yelp management and maximization service with proven strategies for both companies and their customers on how to avoid and event counteract the erroneous review filtration.

Tips for Companies Trying to De-Filter Yelp Reviews

1. Add the reviewer as a friend3

From your business’ Yelp page or your personal / owner page, reach out and make digital connections with your consumer base. Making more friends makes one’s reviews seem more trustworthy and also gives you a chance to see the top other businesses that your consumer base digs.

2. Send the reviewer a message

By interacting with the Yelp user through messaging, the following conversation helps establish to Yelp’s filters that the user is indeed a real reviewer and not a reviewer-for-hire or robot, boosting reviews past its filter.

3. Respond to the review

As the business owner, it’s usually a good PR move to respond to very negative reviews with attempts to follow up and repair dissatisfaction drivers and thank very positive reviews with words of gratitude. Customers love the one-on-one attention, your business looks caring, and the interaction usually helps reviews escape the filter system.

4. Vote the review as useful or funny or both

When other Yelpers interact with reviews by marking them as funny or helpful, it also sends another signal to Yelp’s filter system that it is a legitimate review.

5. Ask customers to invest in becoming real, legitimate Yelpers

Your happiest customers are only too glad to go online and leave a glowing review for your business. Help them along by passing them the below tips to ensure that they don’t become unfairly filtered.

Tips for Customers Trying to Post Un-Filtered Reviews

6. Write more than one Yelp review

One’s first couple reviews may become censored simply because it’s easy enough for anyone--including business owners or employees--to start an account and post a single positive review in order to boost their rating. But once you start generating more reviews--proving that you’re a legitimate and dedicated reviewer--these early reviews will slowly become unfiltered. Also, be honest and make sure your reviews display a range of ratings from 1 to 5 stars!3

7. Complete that profile

Having a complete profile is also another way to ensure that online reviews are not mistakenly filtered. This includes having a profile picture and writing a little blurb about yourself.

8. Connect to social media

Giving Yelp access to social media accounts such as Facebook or Google + also helps verify that you are indeed a real person, with the added bonus of having an easy way to share Yelp reviews on social media.

9. Make friends

Connecting with other Yelp users is key to busting out of the filter zone. Connecting to social media usually does this automatically for some contacts.

10. Post reviews when you’re near actual the business

Yelp tracks where reviewers are generally located when they post reviews by checking their IP address. So if a brick-and-mortar business in Chicago starts getting reviewers from Bangladesh, Yelp gets suspicious. Leaving reviews while still in the same city can ensure that IP addresses do not trip reviews up. This is key for businesses with traveling customers such as hotels and car services. Using the Yelp app and “checking in” while nearby is also another good tactic to try.4 If you’re interested in learning more about Yelp reviews or xAmplifier, contact us today at or call 866.363.6434!

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