Why is Yelp Filtering My Reviews?

Why is Yelp Filtering My Reviews?

Content Writer: Isabella Andersen Isabella Andersen Blog Contributor

 Yelp. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay.
As of Q1 2018, Yelp had 74 million monthly unique visitors on desktop computers alone. Despite its growing popularity, lots of small business owners report issues with the review and rating service (namely, the Yelp filter). 
Yelp lets consumers (Yelpers) be the jury. Yelp trusts consumers to leave authentic reviews about their experiences. And with the importance of online reviews, nothing is more frustrating than when Yelp filters a perfectly legitimate review into the dreaded "not recommended" section.
In this blog post we'll tell you why Yelp sometimes filters legitimate reviews and give you some tips for improving the chances that your reviews stay recommended.
In episode 1 of Ask Us Anything, marketing experts, Anne and Alex tell you why your Yelp Reviews are getting filtered.

What is the Yelp filter?

Yelp uses an automated filter to hide certain reviews in order to display only the most helpful and honest reviews. The purpose of the filter is to remove fake or illegitimate reviews. The filter is intended to protect businesses.
But there’s a problem with this. Because the filter is automated, sometimes even authentic reviews get filtered. This is an issue for business owners, who need the feedback (both positive and negative) from their actual customers.
Positive Yelp reviews can impact small businesses in a huge way. Seventy-nine percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Businesses can even see a 5-9 percent increase in revenue if their Yelp rating increases by one star (and all those five-star reviews that are being filtered out also don’t count toward your star rating). 

Why does Yelp filter your business's legitimate reviews?

When real reviews get filtered, it's frustrating. It’s especially annoying to think that, while your legitimate client reviews are being filtered by Yelp, fake reviews, or even an entirely fake business, can still appear on Yelp. 
Kashmir Hill, an editor at Fusion, decided to try an experiment to see if she could trick the Internet. She created local business listings for a fake karaoke company. She then paid for social media followers and reviews, in order to make her phony business to appear to be real.
Even Yelp, with all its suspicion and scrutiny, allowed her to set up a business listing after verifying the "real existence" of her fake business. And while many of the fake reviews she paid for didn’t make it past Yelp’s filter, others did. Isn't the Internet fun?
Anyway, here are some common reasons why reviews get filtered on Yelp:
  1. Yelp doesn’t trust users who have only written a few reviews, especially if they have no Yelp friends or profile information.
  2. The review is too positive or too negative. This also goes for reviewers who only post positive reviews everywhere they go. I guess Yelp assumes you can’t enjoy every experience.
  3. It isn’t funny or useful. Other Yelp reviewers can mark a review as funny or useful. Reviews that are too short also get filtered. “Great service!” really isn’t helping anyone.
  4. The review violated Yelp’s Content Guidelines, which are pretty straightforward.
  5. The IP is wrong. Yelp uses IP addresses to determine whether or not a review is fake. So, if a reviewer is on vacation and visits your business but waits until they get home to review it, that review is probably going to get filtered.
  6. The CEO thinks your reviews stink. Okay, that’s probably not a real reason, but he does say so in his Yelp profile.


Is there a way to work around the Yelp filter?

While you have no real control over what gets filtered, you can still do a few things to make sure nothing you do causes problems for your Yelp page.
  • Never pay someone to review your business. That’s illegal, and if you do, Yelp will find you and they will make sure everyone knows about it.
  • Don’t offer a promotion to Yelpers in exchange for a review.
  • Don’t use Yelp as a contest or ad space. I mean, unless you’re actually paying for Yelp’s slightly shady advertising service. (Yelp has been accused of pushing this service on businesses by threatening to push negative reviews higher on the business’ Yelp page.)
  • Don’t ask your family and friends to write reviews for you. They will spot Grandma’s glowing assessment a mile away.
  • You can also attempt to help legitimate reviews be recognized by Yelp. If you see a review a real customer has written on your Yelp page, but the review is being filtered, you can add the reviewer as a friend or vote the review useful, funny, or cool.
And if that doesn’t work, consider finding a solution that works around the Yelp filter. We've developed a review marketing platform called Renown to aggregate all reviews into one place. So, those five-star reviews your clients write might not show up on Yelp since the reviewer has no Yelp friends, but they will show up elsewhere. Click here to find out more about Renown.

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I read the artical but still have issue with yelp. We always have a hard time with them. We did a huge party for someone and it was very well done and the client was thrilled so she wrote a review for us. For some reason it never posted and our marketing person found it in the "flagged" Catagory. Yet there is a competor down the stree who has people writting terrible reviews and they are rediculous and they are posted all the time. None of our 5 star reviews ever gets posted. Feeling frusterated.

Monday, February 15, 2016 by Jennifer

Yelp Reviews

For a long time Yelp hosted Market Parties for their elite helpers. Free booze and food at a great location. Not sure if they still do that but isn't it more fun to read a creatively nasty review vs a plain old "well done"?

Interesting also that you get advertising calls after a bad review. Pretty sleazy.

It does not surprise me that Yelp has grown so large. A symptom of our current culture and Yelp does a great job of playing to egocentric millenials.

I'll take the honesty of Urbanspoon any time.

Monday, February 15, 2016 by Tom Geis

Pure BS Yelp Hiding Reviews

A new user with a negative review although honest and didn't really share all of the horrible things that happened and yet it gets buried. Thankfully, I have Facebook and twitter where they cannot hide the reviews and I can say what I experienced in the open. Let the business owners come on and refute any claims but they honestly couldn't in my case because everything I said was true. They want honest reviews and then hide them saying they are not helpful. Well that makes their service not helpful and even though they have a lot of users now, thanks to social media, their user base will drop.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 by TJ

The IP is wrong.

I take notes when I travel, especially if something exceptionally good or bad, and then I post when I have time and I write the date of the visit. Such a shame that real reviews are discarded. I've seen it happen more than once

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 by Christine

review not showing

One 3/17/19 I wrote a review of Cornerstone Kitchen & Tap. I was polite, but it was a bad review that was well deserved. Perhaps I did something wrong but am not sure. It ONLY shows up if I log in and look for it on my home page. I had reviewed CKT a year or 2 ago, and deleted that review when I posted this yesterday. Was that incorrect to do? I have to get used to editing I guess, but last nights review was very valid. I am thinking that they ordered low quality meat and perhaps have a new cook (I will not refer to him as a chef). Please let me know why my review does not show under a normal search online and what I should do in the future. Thank you.

Monday, March 18, 2019 by Barbara Merz

Keep up the good work!

I'm a former employee who needed a refresher on filtered Yelp! reviews, and this informational result was the first in Google! Keep up the good work guys.

Thursday, March 28, 2019 by Kaitlyn C.

Filtered Comments

I have had numerous comments censored by Yelp and delegated to the "not recommended pile" for no other reason than they are negative (and not all of my posts are). They are phonies and since I go to the bother of writing them and they are not obscene nor foul in any way I will not post again on Yelp.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020 by Wayne