How to Improve Yelp Reviews

Yelp reviews drive Yelp marketing. Yelp reviews make or break local businesses. Good Yelp marketing increases sales. Bad Yelp marketing decreases sales.

Yelp reviews are at the heart of every great Yelp marketing strategy. The key success factors for Yelp reviews are quality, quantity, and authenticity.

Check out “How Yelp Marketing Increases Sales” for a more strategic perspective on Yelp marketing and how the formula for success comes down to “better Yelp reviews,” “more Yelp reviews,” and “authentic Yelp reviews.”

How to get positive Yelp reviews

Improve your Yelp reviews with 3 key tactics: Prequalification, feedback, and unfiltering.

Boost Yelp ratings by prequalifying Yelp reviews

One of the most important things you can do to get 5-star reviews is to prequalify your customers first. Encourage customers to write a review only if you’re confident they’ll give you 5 stars. This can be tricky and a delicate subject to bring up with customers. So Rising Star Reviews offers a tool that prequalifies your customers for you in a subtle and diplomatic way. Then Rising Star Reviews encourages only the 5-star reviewers to write reviews.

Get better Yelp reviews by getting better feedback

If your business is like most, your Yelp reviews will mostly be less than 5 stars. But your not-so-happy customers are just as important as your happiest 5-star customers. In fact, you can double or triple your 5-star reviews just by listening to feedback from customers who gave less than 5 stars. When customers won’t give a 5-star review, ask for feedback on how to earn their 5-star review in the future. Improve your business with the best customer ideas to make more customers happy. One good business improvement could generate countless 5-star reviews in the future. The Rising Star Reviews tool helps by automatically collecting feedback from customers when they’re not ready to give you all 5 stars yet.

Act on the right feedback only

Some customers will give you feedback requesting things you don’t want to do (or shouldn’t do). In fact, most of the feedback you get will not be actionable. Look for ideas that could help lots of your customers, not just the one customer offering the idea. Also, customers are bad at knowing what they want, but good at knowing what they don’t want. Listen carefully to their complaints. Figure out the true underlying reason why they’re complaining. Then come up with your own solutions to solve the problem in ways the customers never imagined.

Avoid implied commitments to feedback

If you ask customers for feedback in person, they may get the impression that you agree and will make the changes they suggest. If you don’t make those changes later on, they may get offended. Avoid this “implied false commitment” by using an online survey tool, email, or other “system” to collect feedback, instead of asking every customer for feedback in person. Of course, Rising Star Reviews does this for you, but if you don’t use Rising Star Reviews, there are plenty of online survey tools like SurveyMonkey that you can use.

Make every review count by unfiltering Yelp reviews

Yelp filters out many positive reviews unintentionally. Spammers try to post fake reviews to boost their businesses. So Yelp created a software algorithm to detect reviews it thinks are not “authentic.” But the algorithm isn’t very accurate. So many positive reviews get filtered out by mistake. Check for this problem yourself. Just go to your Yelp business page and look for where it says, “other reviews that are not currently recommended.” These filtered reviews are rarely ever seen by prospective customers. And they don’t count toward a business’ overall star rating on Yelp. Check out “How Yelp Marketing Increases Sales,” especially the section on “Yelp marketing for authenticity.” There you’ll learn how to unfilter your positive reviews, boosting your overall Yelp rating.

How to deal with negative Yelp reviews

If your overall Yelp rating is below 4 stars, you need to address the problem of negative reviews. The best way to deal with negative reviews is to drown them out with positive reviews. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about negative reviews. Check out “How to Deal with Bad Yelp Reviews” for more tips and advice on the delicate topic of handling negative reviews.

Above all, don’t ignore negative reviews. Respond to the reviewer via Yelp. But realize that your main audience is not the reviewer. It’s the hundreds or thousands of people who will read the review, and your response, in the future. You have an opportunity to impress many future customers. Show them that you care about your customers and provide great customer service. Show them that you make good when you make a mistake. And even when you don’t fix a problem, show them you’re respectful and listen well to customers. You also have a more immediate opportunity to win over the customer who wrote the negative review. If you’re lucky, they just might change their minds and update the review.

Improving Yelp reviews is not enough

Even sites with all 5-star reviews fail to drive sales, because they fail to show up on the first page of Yelp’s search results. There are many other factors that affect Yelp search results. One critically important factor is the number of reviews a local business has. A 4-star business with 100 reviews can easily beat a 5-star business with only 3 reviews in Yelp’s search results. Check out “How to Get Yelp Reviews” to learn how to get more reviews, boosting your local business in Yelp’s search results, and increasing your sales from Yelp.