How to Get Yelp Reviews
Get Yelp reviews frequently to increase sales. Get Yelp reviews often and systematically to get more sales from customers who discover your local business on Yelp. It’s not enough to get good reviews. You have to get a lot of reviews, and keep your reviews fresh.
The formula for Yelp marketing success is to focus on 3 key success factors: better reviews, more reviews, and authenticity. This post focuses on how to get “more reviews.” For more information on getting “better reviews” (reviews with more stars) check out “How to Improve Yelp Reviews.” Or for more information on boosting “authenticity” or understanding Yelp marketing in general, check out “How Yelp Marketing Increases Sales.”
Why It’s Important to Get Yelp Reviews Frequently
Yelp punishes sites that don’t get enough Yelp reviews. It doesn’t matter how many stars your business has if you don’t get enough Yelp reviews. It only takes one bad review to turn a 5-star business into a 4-star business if it has only 3 reviews. But no single bad review can change a 5-star rating based on 100 reviews. Yelp understands this. So Yelp treats the number of reviews as a measurement of your overall rating’s accuracy.
Yelp marketing is all about showing up in search results when people search for a business. Businesses with few reviews usually don’t show up on the first page of Yelp search results, even if they have 5 stars. And most people only look at the first page of search results and don’t continue to page 2 and beyond.
When people search for a local business to buy from, Yelp shows them businesses based on many different factors. Two very important factors include the number of stars and the number of reviews. Some lower-star businesses will show up at the top of the search results if they have many reviews. Some high-star businesses won’t show up on the first page of search results if they have few reviews.
So…if you want to get more customers by showing up higher in search results…get Yelp reviews as often as possible. As your business climbs toward the #1 spot in search results, you’ll get more and more customers coming to you from Yelp.
Get Yelp Reviews Systematically
The key to getting lots of Yelp reviews is being systematic. Put policies in place whereby employees know exactly when and how to get Yelp reviews. Then make it fast and easy for employees to do it, and for customers to respond. Never miss an opportunity for a great review simply because an employee didn’t think of it, know how, or have time to do it. Make it a quick, easy, natural part of doing business with every customer.
For example, let’s take a realty firm. The firm might create a policy of approaching every client for a review or feedback within 3 days after closing escrow on a new house. The firm might put one employee in charge of approaching clients within the 3-day time frame.
To make that employee’s job fast and easy, the employee might use Rising Star Reviews. They would enter the client’s name and email and let the Rising Star Reviews system takes care of the rest. Rising Star Reviews would email the client, sending a couple follow-up emails if the client doesn’t respond. The emails would prequalify the client as either “extra happy” enough to write a 5-star review or “not extra happy” (4 stars or below). The system would automatically send “extra happy” clients to Yelp for a review. It would send “not extra happy” clients to a feedback page.
This example process would be quick and easy for both the employee and the firm’s clients. The employee would know it’s their job to approach every client about reviews. And they would know exactly when to do it–within 3 days of closings. This is a “systematic” process that leads to getting lots of Yelp reviews.
Get Yelp Reviews Out of Yelp’s Filter
After you’ve gone to all the trouble of getting customers to write reviews, you might still not get Yelp reviews. Yelp filters out reviews they think might be fake. Many perfectly good 5-star reviews get filtered out by mistake. In fact, it’s extremely common to find perfectly legitimate reviews filtered out. Just go to your Yelp page and look for “other reviews that are not currently recommended.” These filtered reviews can only be seen when people click the link to view them…which they almost never do. Filtered reviews also do not help your overall star rating.
The best way to move filtered 5-star reviews out of the filter is to boost the “authenticity” of both the review and the reviewer. Yes, Yelp has a formula for calculating “authenticity” it uses to separate spammers from real people and fake reviews from real reviews. For detailed information about how to boost the authenticity of your customers and their reviews, check out the “Yelp Marketing for Authenticity” section at the bottom of “Yelp Marketing Increases Sales.”
Get Yelp Reviews Legitimately (Beware Yelp Policies and the Law)
Be careful not to run afoul of Yelp’s policies, or your business will rank worse in Yelp’s search results. Also be careful not to run afoul of the FTC, or you could expose your business to potential lawsuits.
Get Yelp Reviews that are Legal
Did you know it’s literally illegal to pay for a Yelp review? In 2009, the FTC made it illegal to make undisclosed paid endorsements in an effort to protect American consumers. Don’t buy fake reviews. And don’t pay real customers for real reviews. Just don’t do it!
However, it is OK to reward customers after they have posted a positive review. So feel free to follow up with customers who give you 5-star reviews with coupons or other rewards.
Don’t Ask Directly for Reviews
Yelp has specific policies about how they want you to approach customers for reviews. They don’t want you to ask a customer specifically to give a review. But they do think it’s OK for you to encourage customers to “check you out” on Yelp. Many in the industry think Yelp is splitting hairs with this distinction. And many also think Yelp may be a bit out of touch with reality, too. Local businesses have been asking customers to “tell all your friends about us” for centuries, if not millennia. Yelp doesn’t want you to do this on their site, because they fear it will lead to inaccurate ratings.
Many (if not most) local businesses ignore Yelp’s policy not to ask for reviews. However, you should be aware that Yelp does have an algorithm for detecting requested reviews. If Yelp thinks you have asked customers explicitly for a review, your business will suffer. Your business will show up lower in the search results. And more of your positive reviews will get filtered out.
You can get Yelp reviews without violating Yelp’s “don’t ask” policy. In the offline world, tell customers to “check us out on Yelp” instead of “review us on Yelp.” In the online world, Rising Star Reviews makes sure you stay compliant with Yelp’s policies. The system first asks for a generic rating (not a Yelp rating). If the customer gives you a 5-star rating, the system forwards the customer to your Yelp page. The system doesn’t specifically ask for a review. But it makes it extremely simple and easy for your customers to give you a 5-star Yelp review.