Yelp has become the most popular business review site on the Internet. Most people today are relying on Yelp to determine the credibility of local businesses like restaurants, auto repair shops, real estate brokers, etc. Yelp is known as the most trusted source for local business reviews because of its strict standards. Yelp uses filters that can effectively figure out fake and false reviews thus makes it difficult to crack. This is the reason why people tend to believe the reviews posted on the site.

Good reviews are always beneficial for the small business owners. On the flip side negative reviews bother them. If the reviews are not genuine, it’s even more painful. Though no one can control the reviews on Yelp, by following some practices small business owners can at least neutralize the effect of negative reviews. Here are a few effective ways to address negative reviews on Yelp.

Update your account
Claim your business before you are planning to do anything on your Yelp account. This includes claiming that you are the owner of the business listed on Yelp, updating your location, contact address, profile photo, etc., so that the account looks genuine.

Responding to negative comments
If you have any negative comments on your business, you need to handle them carefully, because your every action will be monitored by people who came to read reviews on your business. Respond to the negative comments as follows.

  • Apologize publicly, and then try to resolve the issue by reaching the customer privately.
  • Be honest and open how the mistake was made, and communicate clearly what you have done to correct it.
  • Take some steps to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
  • After the problem is solved, ask the customer for a positive review.

Minimizing the effect of negative comments
Your overall rating on Yelp will be the average of all your ratings – both negative and positive. So one of the best and easiest things that you can do is get high ratings and positive reviews.

  • Ask customers who are satisfied with your service to give positive reviews. Out of fifty positive reviews, having one or two negative reviews will impact very less on your business.
  • Communicate through the social media sites like Facebook, and Twitter with your fans and ask for reviews on Yelp.
  • If you have your customer email database, send a formal email to your customers for a review.
  • Give out something to customers or display something at your business premises to encourage reviews.

Responding topositive reviews is also a good practice. The reviewers feel happy when you thank for their review.

Responding to false reviews
If there is any false review on your business, the best practice is to respond to it publicly. Explain why the review is false. Make sure that you are responding firmly and politely.

Preventing positive reviews from getting filtered
To avoid false, fake and spam reviews, Yelp uses some automated filters. Remember not all the filtered reviews are fake or spam. Sometimes similar reviews also get filtered. Yelp tries to display the most helpful messages on the main page. However, if you feel like most of your positive reviews are getting filtered, here are tips to prevent it.

  • – Ask customers and other people to vote the reviews as “useful”
  • – Add reviewers as friends
  • – Send a message to the reviewer
  • – Respond to all reviews
  • – If an individual wrote a review for the first time on Yelp, it is likely to get filtered. So, ask your customers to write more detailed reviews, rather than simply writing good place, friendly staff, etc.

What you cannot do on Yelp

  • – You cannot ask Yelp to remove the negative reviews on your business
  • – You cannot ask Yelp to display the positive reviews on your business
  • – Your business listing from Yelp cannot be deleted

What not to do on Yelp

  • – Don’t ask a large number of people to give reviews for your business on a same day
  • – Don’t give reviews from same IP address