As a business owner you most likely already understand the importance of online reviews. In addition to its surface benefits, online reviews also play a part in many search engine ranking factors which in turn can benefit your business’ online presence. But if you understand how important online reviews are, you also understand how difficult it is to get your customers and patients to take that extra step to leave their feedback for the world to see. Maybe you have tried to bypass the customer and leave some reviews of your own, but have noticed that on some review sites, such as Yelp, that some reviews get filtered and removed. A constant struggle for business owners is how to get more Yelp reviews. Why do some reviews get filtered on Yelp? Are online reviews really important for my business?
Yes, reviews are incredibly important, and yes, some reviews that are deemed “fake” by Yelp do get removed. We have tested, tried and analyzed the Yelp algorithm and have formulated a plan to get your business more reviews and most importantly, get them to stick. The following outline may seem complicated, but this organized chaos is a proven way to get your business benefitting from more online reviews.
Are Yelp Reviews Really Important?
First we will go into details about reviews in general. On the surface, reviews play an important part in consumer decision making. Over the past couple years, online reviews have emerged and become a staple in consumer behavior. When online shopping started growing in popularity, so did these reviews because shoppers wanted to know more about the product they were buying, since they were buying it sight unseen. But then reviews started spilling over onto all factions of life. Completely unbiased opinions about a service or product and the experience an unconnected consumer had, it’s considered completely trustworthy. Businesses would love to have all their customers telling everyone how great their company is, and that’s why business owners wonder how to get more Yelp reviews!
It was revealed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. For them, the reviewer has nothing to gain by sharing their experience with the internet, so why would they lie? Not only are online reviews trusted, but they also influence approximately 67% of consumers when it came to their purchasing decisions! Consumers love reviews and they are using them to decide whether or not to buy your product or use your service! 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site that has user reviews and according to Reevoo, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates. Reviews also work for services, those businesses with reviews experiencing an average of an 18% uplift in sales!
In addition to the increased levels of revenue that reviews can bring, they also benefit your SEO strategy. By having updated reviews constantly for your business, new content is being uploaded and regularly updated and search engines will recognize that and give you more ranking power over outdated businesses. By having these reviews on results page on search engines, your click through rate also increases, again indicating to search engine algorithms that you are a legitimate and relevant business and thus should be ranked higher. Online reviews also help for long tail targeting because the content is from consumers who are similar to consumers who would be searching for your product or service.
And Yelp specifically is the most frequently visited review site, with 44% of consumers using Yelp to search and write reviews. 90% of Yelpers say that positive reviews impact their buying decisions and there are approximately 142 million unique monthly Yelp visitors! Since the site is so large, Google took notice and it actively takes into account a business’ presence on Yelp; how many reviews, how positive they are, their location and more. Yelp plays a direct role in Google rankings, so yes it is important and your business definitely wants Yelp reviews to grow! But now the real struggle: how to get more Yelp reviews!
How To Get More Yelp Reviews?
So now we’ve determined that Yelp reviews are important you are probably asking how to get more reviews. Yelp is the hardest platform to get reviews, mainly because you have to have Yelpers give you reviews. But why, you may ask?
Yelp has a “recommended reviews” formula, and what that simply means is that Yelp filters out reviews from people they deem fake. There are certain factors, that we will go into more detail on in our plan to get more reviews, that tip off the algorithm and makes the review appear in the not recommended review section at the bottom of the Yelp listing. Reviews that are not recommended, or are filtered, do not get counted towards the overall rating of the business.
A lot of businesses have a hard time circumventing the formula that Yelp has set up and they have seen, first hand, their own reviews get filtered or reviews of friends and colleagues. This algorithm is set up so that Yelp reviews remain legitimate and it continues to be a platform where consumers can share reviews and experiences and seek unbiased opinions about companies. But then everyone is wondering how to get more Yelp reviews! We have developed a plan that you can implement in your office that will get more reviews to stick about your business and ultimately drive more revenues to your business because of it!
To begin, you want to drive the already Yelping consumers to review your business. You can achieve this by reminding those customers/Yelpers about reviews while they are at your business. If you’re a dentist office, have it at the front desk, if you’re a beauty salon, have it at every mirror the customer would be facing: a sign that says “Check-In on Yelp”. Why don’t we ask them to review us on Yelp, if we’re wondering how to get more Yelp reviews? Well, the reason for that is, the Yelpers will see that sign and be reminded to review when they go to “Check-In” to the business and the Yelpers are the only ones you really want to react from that sign. If you ask for reviews from Yelp, a customer that has never used Yelp before will go in and make an account to be nice and try to review you and then possibly forget about Yelp after that. What that equals, is a great review, that won’t stick. If you really want to put a sign up that is asking for reviews, you can do so and just ask for general reviews, don’t specify a place. The Yelpers in the office will automatically go to Yelp to leave feedback because that is what they use the most. You are still reminding them to leave you feedback and at the same time not directing non-Yelpers to Yelp. You are essentially posting that sign up to nudge the Yelpers to open their app while they are in your office and then our plan is to attract other reviews. But when the Yelpers aren’t Yelping about your business, you may be left still wondering how to get more Yelp reviews!
Yelp Review Plan
We told you in the beginning that it was going to involve your staff. They experience your business, they believe in the product, they know you, so why can’t they write a review about you? They can! So if you are wondering how to get more Yelp reviews, turn to them! But, like we mentioned before, you are going to need to implement a little bit of organized chaos to get staff reviews to pass the Yelp filter. This plan will transform your staff into Yelpers and make it count for your company!
Step one:Who Yelps?
Ask your staff to see who is a Yelper and they can review you first. A Yelper is someone with an established presence on Yelp; a person who has reviewed a few businesses already, has their account filled out, is basically an active Yelp user. These employees will leave a review for your business, depending on how many, a couple days apart from each other.
Step two:Make Your Employees, Yelpers
For the staff members that don’t have Yelp accounts, they will now. Have them all create accounts, but it is important that they do it from home on their mobile devices. The email they use to create the account needs to be a non-work related email and their profile picture shouldn’t be just them by themselves. It is recommended that they use either a group photo or a photo of something else. Connecting the Yelp account to their personal Facebook account also helps to legitimize the account. Make sure that they fill out the entire profile. Yelp wants to make sure that their Yelpers are real, so your staffers need to include as much information about themselves as possible on their accounts.
Step three: Have Your Employees Yelp
Over the next 30 days, have the staffers that just created the Yelp accounts review different businesses that they frequent, leaving tips, checking in and adding pictures. The reviews should be for the businesses they attend and they should write the review while they are at the business. All the reviews should be a mix of 2-5 stars and all the reviews need to be hand typed, nothing copy and pasted. Yelp can read the speed at which you are typing and it also can read how much you are typing. If you copy and paste something, it could be construed as someone sending you a review to post, so those reviews do not pass the Yelp filter.
In addition to hand typing the reviews, make sure that your staff members are coordinating and they aren’t all going to the same place and all reviewing it together. The employees should not review any of the same places. They also shouldn’t be friends or connected on Yelp. They need to build up their own reputations and if they are all doing the exact same thing, Yelp will catch on and filter. It is important that over these 30 days they review at least 4-8 different businesses, in addition to leaving tips and checking in to several businesses as well.
The Yelp algorithm will filter any reviews that came from people that have no other reviews or are not active on Yelp, any reviews from people who have an incomplete profile and any reviews that Yelp senses were fake from the manner they were typed in or the language that it used. After about 2-3 weeks of Yelping, your staff should be set to pass the Yelp filter.
Step four:Get Your Reviews
Even though you might be excited about having Yelpers and getting reviews for your business, it is important that your whole staff doesn’t review your business all around the same time. It is important to create a schedule at this point for your employees to follow in regards to leaving Yelp reviews. Space out the reviews, about 8-12 days in between each review from your staff. The day ranges, if you missed it, is an important step in this process as well. It is critical that these reviews look completely normal and regular. So some reviews should have 8 days between them, others 9 days or 10 days, etc. They should be inconsistently posted. The posts should all be typed out, about two long paragraphs and they should be left when the staff is in the office.
Some of the staff members should check in, some of them should leave tips and others should post pictures: organized chaos. Keep in mind that the words that are in the review will be the words that will be attributed to your business on Google. When the reviews are being indexed, search engines will rank you for the words used most commonly in your reviews, so make sure your staff reviews have keywords you want to be found for online! If you’re a dentist, phrases like “best dentist in West Palm Beach” or “knowledgeable dentist” would be things you want to be ranking for online.
Step five: Follow Up
After this whole process, you are likely to see your staff actually taking a liking to Yelp. Most of them will continue to do it on their own, because Yelp is a very useful tool when it comes to finding out more about businesses. However, if there are staffers that do not intend on continuing their Yelping, ensure that after they leave your review, they will review at least 2-3 more businesses. This is important because they need to maintain their Yelp reputations until your review is sure to stick. It would be odd if 20 people all reviewed the same business and then mysteriously stopped Yelping afterwards. Then you can also encourage your staff to get their family and friends into Yelp and ask them for feedback as well! You will have a Yelp army in no time!
And there you go! Your business will see a huge benefit in having a great Yelp presence. By being the great business that you are, and giving your customers experiences they just have to share, in addition to this staff Yelp plan, you will definitely have the Yelp edge in your industry! You won’t have to worry how to get more Yelp reviews after implementing this plan!
With a business degree from Florida Atlantic University, Julie has years of experience advertising and marketing for several businesses including real estate brokerages and photography companies. She brings her background in writing, graphic design and communications, as well as her experience in the field, when assisting clients with their internet marketing needs. She treats every client with the upmost level of professionalism and care, ensuring everyone who works with Digital Resource has a smile throughout the process!