How to Remove A Negative Yelp Review?

You don’t have a delete button to get rid of a negative Yelp review, but you’ve got some options:

Respond Quickly
If you think a reviewer can be reasoned with, respond to his grievances promptly and professionally. If you take the time to make things right, you have a very good chance of getting an unhappy reviewer to change his mind.

“Nine out of ten will have a better experience, and will amend, edit, or delete the review,” according to Flagship Restaurant Group (FSR Magazine). 

Dealing with a potentially angry customer can be a delicate process, and people are far more aggressive behind the keyboard. So when you do respond, stay calm, listen, be direct and follow through. Click here for more tips on how to respond to a negative Yelp review.

Bury It
Prospective customers will have a tougher time focusing on a negative review if positive ones overshadow it.  Here are some tips on how to get positive reviews on Yelp.

UPDATE: Burying reviews by soliciting for positive ones is a big no-no.  In fact, it is against Yelp’s terms of service to ask for any reviews.

Flag It
A negative review may be in violation of Yelp’s Content Guidelines. In that case, you can flag the review to alert Yelp administrators. Such reviews may include slurs, comments on anything that is not relevant to the business, or explicit statements that their review is a second-hand experience. If the review violates Yelp’s guidelines, it will be deleted in three to five business days. But keep in mind that flagging a reviews is no guarantee that the review will be removed. Removal is Yelp’s discretion.

Sue? 😐
Your final option is a lawsuit. (Cue “Law & Order” gavel). If a comment is a blatant lie that is slandering your business, you may have a case. A Yelper in 2011 was found guilty of defamation after posting a scathing review on a contractor’s Yelp page. So it can work. But of course, it’s a lawsuit, i.e. very time consuming and costly with no guarantees you’ll win.

How do I get Positive Reviews on Yelp…

Sorry, gang. You won’t find any quick-fixes here. In fact, if you hear that claim anywhere, your time would be better spent kicking back and watching this instead. (Oh, that Carlton!)

But some simple strategies do exist that can help encourage your customers to leave positive reviews.

Respond to reviews
A Yelp page with responses from the business owner shows that you are active and care about what your customers think. A positive review with a response can show appreciation. A negative review with a response can show concern. And about 8 out of 10 times, unhappy reviewers will change their mind if responded to quickly and professionally. A review monitoring platform (*cough* *snort* *cough* Reputology *cough* *cough*) will alert you if your business has received a negative review on any of the major business review websites. That way, you can respond to an unhappy customer ASAP.

Claim your business’s Yelp page
You can’t respond to a review unless you’ve claimed your business listing. You can do that right here.

To ask or not to ask
Actively asking customers for reviews is considered a no-no by Yelp. But a simple Google search will show you dozens of services offering an easy way to get positive reviews from happy customers. Your customers fill out an online survey, and whoever responds positively gets routed to a review site. And you know what? This probably works for some businesses. But you may face undesired consequences if you get caught or are outed by a customer. And we’ve been told by a few businesses who’ve dabbled with this that it can irk even happy customers. We leave this tactic to your discretion.

Should you pay or incentivize people to post reviews?  That’s off-limits. This may get your page slapped with a consumer alert for 90 days. Not only is this practice unethical, the Federal Trade Commission says that it is illegal to pay for reviews without disclosing this to your customers.

yelp car solicitation

Remind customers that you have a Yelp page
Asking for reviews is debatable. But simply mentioning Yelp is a-okay and actually effective. Customers sometimes just forget that there is a platform for them to express themselves and that you would very much like to hear about it. Bringing Yelp up in casual conversation in a sort of subliminal way has worked very well for some businesses. Occasionally posting your Yelp page on social media sites is a good way to remind your customers, too.

Apply the Yelp sticker
Yelp has a sticker that you can stamp on your window to let customers know that you are on Yelp and seeking out their feedback. It says that you are actively engaging customers on their experience with you. On your website, you can post an icon that links to your Yelp page to make it easier for customers to find and rate you.

No shortcuts
The very best way to get positive reviews is to continue improving and being the best you can be. An excellent business will garner excellent reviews. No substitute exists for doing good work.

Why does Yelp filter my reviews?

find those reviews

Congratulations – your business received a glowing review on Yelp! Just as you feel the waves of validation tingling through your bod, though, that positive review disappears…

What happened?

Most likely, your positive review was filtered out by Yelp’s automated recommendation software.  (You can see filtered reviews by clicking on the link below the first page of reviews that says “… other reviews that are not currently recommended”).

Yelp recommends certain reviews based on a number of factors. Yelp’s software looks at quality, reliability and activity – if a user is new, not active or does not post consistently useful reviews, their reviews may not be recommended.

Although your positive review came from an authentic customer, the reviewer probably isn’t a user who is established on the Yelp community. Yelp software will also filter reviews if it detects anomalies in the language. Specifically, Yelp will not recommend a review if it is written like a rant or rave because that type of language can be an indicator of a biased opinion, whether it’s coming from your mom or a disgruntled former employee.

Believe it or not, Yelp’s ability to detect fake reviews is 98% accurate… Just kidding. You shouldn’t believe that. We have no idea.

Yelp’s software also updates on a daily basis, as it collects new information. What was a relevant review last month may be considered a stale review tomorrow and no longer be front and center.

Your positive review may have disappeared because your happy customer deleted her Yelp account. This is rare, but there is a chance that she decided to clean house and slim down her internet presence. This probably has nothing to do with your business, but there is a better chance that your positive review was filtered out.

Appealing to Yelp to bring back a positive review back is probably not going to be fruitful because their software (though not perfect) is still the best way for them to systematically recommend or not recommend reviews without making a human judgement call. So if you find that a positive review on your business’s Yelp page is missing, your best course of action is to keep doing good work.