How to Delete a Yelp Account (And Save Your Business!)
Find out how to delete a Yelp account that’s hurting your business, or how to reverse the damage of negative reviews if Yelp refuses to delete your account.
First the bad news: Yelp rarely ever deletes a Yelp account.
Now the good news: If your business doesn’t meet Yelp’s guidelines, then you win the Yelp account removal lottery! You stand a good chance of being one of the few lucky businesses that can delete your Yelp account. Read “How to delete a Yelp account that doesn’t meet Yelp’s guidelines” to find out how.
Now the better news: Even if Yelp won’t delete your business account, you may be able to turn your Yelp account into an asset instead of a liability.
If you want to delete a Yelp account because bad reviews are hurting your sales, then there’s a better solution than deleting your Yelp account. Instead, get lots of good reviews so Yelp drives more sales for your business than you’d get if you deleted the Yelp account entirely.
Find out how to take back control of your reviews and drive more sales from Yelp in the section below on “How to save your business from a bad Yelp account.”
Don’t want to turn your Yelp account into a sales-generating asset? Just want to delete your Yelp account? But your business doesn’t violate Yelp’s guidelines, so Yelp won’t cooperate?
In that case, check out our section on “How to go to war with Yelp.” This section covers questionable techniques we don’t recommend, but some marketers have used them to defend their businesses from a bad Yelp profile. Although we don’t recommend going with war with Yelp, this section will let you know how it’s done in case that’s what you choose to do.
How to delete a Yelp account that doesn’t meet Yelp’s guidelines
Want to delete a Yelp account that’s hurting your local business?
Well, here’s Yelp’s stance on deleting Yelp accounts….
In other words, Yelp refuses to remove business accounts.
In fact, Yelp sticks its thumb in the eye of local business owners, saying it’s a “legal right” for consumers to have access to Yelp’s “helpful information” about your business… even if you directly ask them not to.
Unfortunately, Yelp’s “helpful information” is often inaccurate, misleading, and tainted with systematic bias from their filter algorithm and “Don’t Ask” policy. These problems create many dangers from Yelp business reviews that threaten to destroy many local businesses like yours.
So it’s understandable if you don’t accept Yelp’s stance on removing accounts, and you still want to delete your Yelp account.
How to know if Yelp will delete a Yelp account
There’s one rare exception that can cause Yelp to delete your Yelp account:
You can get Yelp to delete your Yelp account if your business violates Yelp’s guidelines.
The bad news is that the list of guideline violations is very short and applies to very few businesses listed on Yelp.
Here’s the complete list of guideline violations that will (maybe) allow you to delete your Yelp account:
- Online-only businesses – Your business has no physical location where consumers come to buy from you
- B2B businesses – Your business only sells to other businesses, not consumers
- Direct-sellers – Your business is a direct-seller business that has no formal physical location
- Timbuktu – Your business is located in a country that is not on Yelp’s hit list of countries Yelp “supports”
If you’re like 99%+ of local businesses, you don’t violate any of the above guidelines, and you should probably skip down to the section on “How to save your business from a bad Yelp account.”
But if you do violate one of Yelp’s guidelines, congratulations! You win the Yelp account removal lottery!
How to ask Yelp to delete a Yelp account
To start the process to delete a Yelp account, simply contact Yelp and cite the specific way your business violates Yelp’s guidelines. You may need to argue your case, so be persistent.
Yelp may or may not agree with your case, so may or may not delete your Yelp account.
Sometime, Yelp decides not to delete a Yelp account, but instead to “de-index” it.
This means that Yelp adds code to the web page that tells search engines like Google and Bing not to show your Yelp profile in search results. It also removes your profile from Yelp’s own results.
So if your Yelp account gets “de-indexed” instead of removed entirely, then the page will still exist, but people will almost never find it.
What happens when Yelp de-indexes a Yelp account
Here’s an example of a company that had their Yelp account de-indexed instead of deleted….
Padspin is an online-only business based in New York.
Yelp “gave” them a listing here.
Yelp realized Padspin was an online-only business, but by that time some people had already left reviews for the business. So Yelp didn’t want to delete the Yelp account altogether.
Instead Yelp added this code behind the Padspin Yelp page:
Now, when someone searches Yelp for Padspin in New York, they don’t show up at all….
And when people search Google, they no longer find the Yelp profile anymore. However, they can still potentially find Yelp’s web pages for each individual consumer review.
But people rarely ever search for individual reviews, so this is not a big problem for Padspin.
Normally, people who search Google use terms like “apartment locators in new york city” which show only business profiles, not individual review pages.
So the Padspin Yelp profile is probably rarely ever seen by anyone searching for apartments, even though Yelp did not technically delete the Yelp account.
How to save your business from a bad Yelp account
If Yelp refuses to delete your Yelp account—like 99%+ of all local businesses forced to have listings on Yelp—then we recommend you turn Yelp from a liability into an asset.
As the saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
But in Yelp’s case, “If you can’t un-join them, beat them.”
If you beat Yelp at its own game, you’ll not only stop losing sales from bad Yelp reviews. You’ll actually get more sales than you would if you successfully deleted your Yelp account.
The formula for beating Yelp is simple: High star rating + lots of reviews + frequent reviews.
Let’s break that down….
How to get a high star rating on Yelp
Your average star rating on Yelp is the most important part of your Yelp account. No other single factor does more to drive new customers from Yelp to your local business.
Your goal should be to get at least 4.0 stars on Yelp or the same star rating as your best competitor… whichever is higher.
The key to getting a high star rating on Yelp is pre-screening.
Take Yelp’s badge off your website. Take their “Find us on Yelp” signs out of your window.
Instead, regularly send your customers an email or text message that asks them to rate your business privately.
Here’s an example from our web app.
Whenever a customer responds with a rating that’s higher than your current average star rating on Yelp, then encourage the customer to share their experiences on Yelp.
But when a customer responds with a rating that’s lower than your current average star rating on Yelp, then don’t encourage them to write a Yelp review. Instead, ask for feedback on how you can improve your business to earn a 5-star review from the customer in the future.
One important note: If you take this approach, you will be in violation of Yelp’s policies. However, if you consider Yelp to be in violation of your policies against publishing information about your business without your consent, you may just decide it’s worthwhile to save your business from Yelp, regardless of Yelp’s policies.
To learn more about Yelp’s business-unfriendly policies and how to navigate them, check out our article on “Yelp Business Reviews (Dangers You Need to Know About).”
How to get a lot of reviews on Yelp
The number of customer reviews you have on Yelp is extremely important.
It gives consumers confidence that your star rating is credible. It makes your business show up more often in Yelp’s search results. It helps you rank better in Google search results. And it prevents any single negative review from suddenly destroying your average star rating.
So how do you get as many customer reviews as possible on Yelp?
Simple answer: Ask every customer.
Be systematic about it. Establish a daily or weekly routine to pre-screen all new customers in the past day or week.
Send follow-up emails or text messages to any customers who don’t reply to your initial message. This can easily double the number of customers who respond and write reviews.
If you don’t have a lot of time to put into sending messages and tracking follow-ups, you may want to try our web app, which makes it quick and easy.
Unfortunately, asking customers for a review is against Yelp’s policies, believe it or not. Again, check out “Yelp Business Reviews (Dangers You Need to Know About)” to learn more about how to navigate Yelp’s various business-unfriendly policies.
How to get frequent reviews on Yelp
Consumers trust recent reviews significantly more than older reviews.
So your goal should be to always have 2 or 3 reviews that are just a couple weeks old.
To accomplish this goal, you need a steady, regular flow of new Yelp reviews… not sudden spikes and dips.
So make sure you pre-screen new customers for new reviews every day or every week. Don’t wait longer than 1 week to reach out to a customer you’ve just satisfied.
Never treat reviews like a bulk campaign that you work on every once in a blue moon. Yelp’s algorithms may think your new reviews are fake if they see a sudden spike in new reviews.
If Yelp thinks your reviews are fake, they may filter out all those hard-earned new reviews. They may even stop trusting your entire profile and start filtering out reviews you’ve had for many years. And they’ll make it more difficult for any of your future reviews to avoid Yelp’s notorious “not recommended” filter.
So instead of getting reviews in sudden, infrequent spikes, make sure you have a daily or weekly process that produces a steady, predictable flow of new reviews.
How to go to war with Yelp
For the record, we at Rising Star Reviews don’t recommend going to war with Yelp. And we don’t recommend any of the “dirty tricks” in this section.
We recommend turning Yelp into an asset that drives new customers to your business, as described in the section above on “How to save your business from a bad Yelp account.”
However, if you truly want to go to war with Yelp and violate their policies to save your business from the damage that a bad Yelp account can cause… then this section tells you about the kinds of tactics that some marketers use to fight that kind of war.
Dirty Trick #1) Lie about your type of business
Since you know that Yelp will delete a Yelp account (or de-index it) if it violates Yelp’s guidelines, you could just lie and tell Yelp you have an online-only business, a B2B business or a direct-seller business.
Of course, people at Yelp aren’t stupid. They’re likely to check your profile out to verify what you’re telling them.
So you may not want to use this trick if it’s easy for any Yelp employee to see that your business is a consumer-facing business with an official, physical location that consumers can visit.
Dirty Trick #2) Lie about the status of your business
You could also lie to Yelp and tell them that your business is no longer in business.
Again, we don’t recommend lying to Yelp just to get them to delete your Yelp account.
However, if you want to pursue this dirty trick, you can start the process by going to your Yelp business page and clicking “Edit business info.”
Then update the business information to indicate that your business is permanently closed.
Be warned: Yelp discovered your business once, and it can do it again. So even if Yelp falls for this dirty trick, that doesn’t mean Yelp won’t find and correct the mistake later, marking your business as “open for business” again.
Dirty Trick #3) Hide your business with misinformation
We’ve seen some local businesses use this dirty trick by claiming their Yelp profiles and then changing the name, location, and categories of the business.
For example, a dog groomer in Houston, Texas named ACME Dog Grooming might change its location to New York City, change its name to XYZ Sporting Goods and change its category to “Sports Wear.”
This dirty trick doesn’t delete a Yelp account, and it doesn’t de-index it. But it makes it highly unlikely that anyone searching for a dog groomer in Houston will find the business, since Yelp now thinks the business is a sportswear business in New York City called XYZ Sporting Goods.
Be warned that this dirty trick may not work for very long.
Yelp employees may figure out what you’ve done and fix the problem.
Or Yelp may just “discover” your business again with its correct name and location. Yelp regularly scans the Internet to discover new businesses, so there’s no reason to expect Yelp not to “discover” your true business information again.
So our recommendation is not to use “dirty tricks” with Yelp, but instead to do the work to turn Yelp into an asset that drives more sales.