How to Get 5 Star Yelp Reviews (Easy, Effective & FREE)

Learn how to get 5-star Yelp reviews from your happy customers. Keep bad Yelp reviews private while getting lots of public 5-star Yelp reviews in this article.

Although Yelp is important for business growth, it’s just as important for you to understand the dangers of Yelp reviews. Knowledge is power and you’ll need all power you can get when navigating through your relationship with Yelp. So be sure to click the link to learn more.

How to generate a Yelp review link the right way

Give your customers an easy-to-use link that takes them directly to Yelp’s “Write a Review” page for your business. A direct link gives you the best chances of getting the most 5-star reviews possible, which will increase your ranking in Yelp search results.

To create the right direct link, use this URL format:

Replace “YOUR-BIZ-ID” with the Yelp Biz ID for your business.

Your Yelp BIZ ID is unique to your business and can be found on your Yelp Business Page. Simply go to your Yelp business profile page and click on “Write a Review.” Yelp will then send you to a unique URL that has the same format as above. If a question mark appears in the URL, then you can delete it along with everything after it. Your unique ID is everything that comes before the question mark.

These direct links make it very simple for the customer to leave a review and can often double your conversion rate.

Link to Profile vs Direct Link to “Write a Review” Page

How to ask customers for a 5 star Yelp review

As a business owner, you already know your company needs reviews to help grow sales.

But you may not know exactly how to get 5-star Yelp reviews. For a more in-depth guide, check out our article on how to get Yelp reviews.

The way to get started is simple: Start by pre-screening customers to get 5-star Yelp reviews. Your business can get 5-star Yelp reviews quickly and efficiently by pre-screening your customers prior to sending them to Yelp to leave a review.

How to pre-screen to get 5-star Yelp reviews

“Pre-screening” doesn’t mean directly asking your customers at the time of sale about their experience.

Pre-screening is the process of asking customers for an honest answer about how satisfied they are with your business before asking for a review.

That way, you only ask for reviews after you already KNOW your business is sure to get 5-star Yelp reviews.

Pre-screen through email or text after the customer has left your business… when they’re more likely to give you an honest answer.

What you ask the customer during the pre-screen process is just as important.

For example, never ask for a thumbs up or thumbs down and don’t allow a 10 point scale.

If you give the like or dislike option, customers might just click on “like” but leave a 3 star review, which is not going to help you increase your yelp ranking.

So the content you send to the customer needs to have a message that’s similar to what they would do on a review site.

So make it simple by giving them the option to rank you 1 to 5 stars, since this is how they’ll rank you on Yelp.

Here is an example of an email sent from our yelp review management app that gives the customer a simple way to rank their experience with your business.

When the customer replies back with 5 stars, send them the Yelp review link so they can go directly to your review page to write a review.

But if they reply with less than 5 stars, don’t send them the link. Ask for feedback instead, so you can attempt to rectify their negative experience prior to them leaving a review.

Avoid fake Yelp reviews

Yelp has filters set in place to hide reviews they feel are in violation of the Yelp reviews policy. They are adamant about making sure there aren’t fake reviews on their site.

DO NOT BUY YELP REVIEWS. Buying Yelp reviews will not only risk you losing all your reviews, but it’s also illegal. Avoid this trap by anyone who offers it to you.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) may fine you tens of thousands of dollars for “undisclosed paid endorsements”—aka “paid reviews.”

Unfortunately, most of the processes you need to put in place to get 5-star Yelp reviews violates the Yelp review policies.

To navigate these dangerous waters around Yelp’s policies and still get 5-star Yelp reviews, check out our more in-depth article on the dangers of Yelp business reviews.

How to keep bad Yelp reviews private

Negative reviews on Yelp dramatically lower your ranking. Every time you get a 1 star review, you will need 5 new 5-Star reviews to maintain a 4.5 average. If you are looking for a 5-star average you will need 15 new 5-star reviews for every 1-star review.

Studies have also shown that bad Yelp business reviews can be worse than no business reviews at all, showing that only 10% of consumers are willing to use a business with less than 3 stars.

Yet, it’s almost impossible to delete negative Yelp reviews or to keep them private from other customers.

How to remove a Yelp review that violates Yelp’s policies

Here’s the list of rules that reviewers can’t violate:

  • Inappropriate content – Threats, harassment, lewdness, hate speech, bigotry
  • Conflicts of interest – Reviews written by employees, competitors or vendors
  • Paid reviews – Reviews written by people who were paid to write the review
  • Promotional content – Reviews designed specifically to promote some other business
  • Irrelevant content – Reviews that have nothing to do with reviewing a customer experience with the business—like political rants, responses to other Yelp reviews, or the incoherent ramblings of a madman
  • Indirect experiences – Reviews written by people who were never customers of the business, such as someone writing about a friend’s experiences instead of their own
  • Wrong business – Reviews written about a different business than the business represented by the Yelp page
  • Privacy violations – Reviews that include people’s private information, including personally identifying information like people’s full names or photos of other customers
  • Copyright violations – Reviews with content that the reviewer didn’t create and doesn’t own the copyright to redistribute
  • Extortion – Reviews in which the reviewer demands payment to remove a Yelp review

Yelp might remove a review if it violates one of the rules listed above. But keep in mind that you may still have problems even after you get a review deleted, since the reviewer could still come back and leave another negative review that doesn’t violate Yelp’s policies.

How to beat negative reviews that can’t be removed

Ultimately, the key to beating negative Yelp reviews is to get as many 5-star reviews from as many happy customers as possible.

So instead of focusing on the negative reviews you may have already received, turn your attention to generating more positive reviews. Use “the cup is half full” thought process.

To get more 5-star reviews while at the same time lowering your negative reviews, you have to make sure you approach every customer about leaving a review.

The steps below show you how to get 5-star Yelp reviews, dilute your negative reviews, and ultimately grow your sales. Remember the cup is half full!

Step #1) Pre-screen

Timing is everything and it’s necessary to engage your customers as soon as possible after they leave your place of business.

Email, text or send both to your clients asking for feedback on their recent experience. Ask if the customer had a good or bad experience at your place of business. Specifically, ask how they would rate you on a sale from 1 to 5 stars.

Only encourage the customer to write a review if they give you 5 stars.

If they give you fewer stars, ask for constructive feedback instead of a review. Specifically, ask how you could earn a 5-star rating in the future.

If you don’t pre-screen, you may get Yelp reviews at a higher volume, but see a drop in your average star rating.

For help with pre-screening, get a free trial of our web app to see how the pro’s do it.

Step #2) Give customers a direct link

For every pre-screened customer who gives you a 5-star rating, send a direct link to your Yelp’s “Write a Review” page.

You’ll have a higher chance of getting more 5-star reviews if you give customers a direct link to your “Write a Review” page instead of a link to your overall Yelp profile page.

Step #3) Follow up

Stay in contact with customers who have yet to respond to your initial pre-screening, or who haven’t left a review from the direct link you provided.

Many businesses double the number of reviews they get simply by following up with customers who don’t respond.

We recommend you start the follow up process about 7 days after you sent the first email/text if you haven’t gotten a response by then.

Your email/text message for follow-up should be different than your original message. But you still need to express how much you appreciate them as a customer and that you’d love their feedback. Don’t be aggressive in your message but kindly ask again.

If you still haven’t gotten a response, send a 3rd message approximately 7 days after the recent follow-up.

We recommend that you attempt to gain feedback a total of 3 times, but every business is different and some continue to follow up after the 3rd try, and have a great success rate. You know your customers best, so experiment with what works best for your customers.

Our web app makes it easy to get 5-star Yelp reviews

Using these processes will get more 5-star Yelp reviews for your business, improve your average Yelp star ranking, show your business more often in Yelp’s search results, and ultimately drive more sales to your business.

If it seems too time-consuming or overwhelming, then you can get a free trial of our web app to automate this entire process for your business. The app makes it super-easy to pre-screen, follow up, manage opt-outs, and more.