Question. What can be done about yelps negative reviews that are obviously not real? They have some extortionist if practices and I’m hearing horrible practices across the board.
Answer. This is a tough question. It’s one of those proverbial layers of the onion questions.
Short answer: nothing. There’s really nothing you can do. You can complain as a YELPER about fake, negative reviews but 99% of the time they do nothing. Real negative reviews are even more of a problem.
Here’s a very quick run down on YELP and YELP REVIEWS from the perspective of the business marketer –
Official Policy. Yelp’s official policy on reviews is that you should do NOTHING. You should NOT solicit reviews, etc. etc… This is a totally stupid, head-in-the-sand approach to review marketing. Here’s why. Let’s take a plumbing business.
You get your toilet fixed by a local plumber (perhaps you even found him on Yelp). Your toilet works! You’re overjoyed! You have a working toilet! You pay him his money. Now – REALISTICALLY – do you pop onto Yelp and proclaim to the whole world: YEAH!!!!! I have a working toilet! This plumber was AWESOME! Do you post it to Facebook? NO NO NO NO.
The reality is that MOST reviews that are spontaneously posted on Yelp are for “look at me” sorts of activities. Like – LOOK AT ME – I’m at an expensive restaurant (and you aren’t). Yum, yum, yum. Or look at me, I’m at a bar or a theater.
But plumber? Nope. Lawyers? Nope. Outside of these LOOK AT ME industries, the reality is that the MOST likely person to write a review about your business is the UNHAPPY CAMPER. WHY?
You tried to fix my toilet. It took forever. It costs too much. You did a bad job. I still have to pay you. I hate you. Let me go on Yelp and vent.
So official policy: STUPID. Head in sand. Not realistic.
Basically you can NOT remove negative reviews on Yelp. So you’re best strategy is to encourage positive (HONEST / REAL) reviews by asking happy customers. A simply “PLEASE do us a favor” face-to-face is the best way to swamp any negative reviews with positive reviews.
Do not go to the dark side. Do not pay for reviews. It will backfire.
Got a question? Click this link to email Jason or call 888-993-1122. Dr. Jason McDonald is founder and Senior SEO / Social Media Director of the JM Internet Group. He teaches the SEO training classes for the group, and therefore provides most of the SEO tips for this blog. His goal with this blog is to provide an easy 'one-stop shop' for the busy marketer looking for tips, tricks, and secrets on how to get to the top of Google and Bing for free using proven SEO tactics. When not dreaming up SEO tips, Dr. McDonald lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two dogs, a cat, four iguanas and twelve children (just kidding). Really you read down to the bio on this guy? Enjoy the blog.
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