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3 Reasons You Still Need Online Reviews in 2022

Background shows two businesspeople shaking hands. Text says: Get reviews. Build trust.

If you have any experience with digital marketing in the last decade, there’s a good chance you know about the importance of online reviews.

With the web becoming increasingly sophisticated and more people turning to online search engines for the information they need, reviews continue to provide consumers with reliable testimonials and a personal touch to their online queries.

In 2022, online reviews remain one of the most important factors for businesses looking to expand their reach and build credibility for their brand. If this sounds like what you are trying to achieve, continue reading to learn more about why you should care about reviews.

Here are 3 big reasons you need to get online reviews in 2022:

1. Online Reviews Directly Affect SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the name of the game when it comes to online marketing. It’s no secret that the overwhelming majority of internet users turn to search engines to find what they need online.

Google and other search engines are constantly tweaking their ranking factors, but reviews are almost near the top in terms of importance. Location-based searches are trending upwards, and more people are turning to places like Google to find local products and services. This means that Google is attempting to cater to its userbase by highlighting reviews and promoting top-rated businesses.

Quality and quantity are both important when it comes to boosting your SEO through reviews, so it makes sense to have a review generation strategy if you want to rank highly in your area.

2. Your Audience is Looking for Reviews

According to recent studies, about 93% of consumers claim that online testimonials influence their purchasing decisions—the majority of which also say that they trust reviews just as much as personal recommendations.

This means that your online reviews can have a tremendous effect—both positive and negative—on your audience. Managing your online reputation is a great way to improve your lead generation and conversion rate, especially if users see authentic reviews praising your business.

3. Online Reviews Help You Build Brand Equity

Although it’s easy to focus on the numbers and your place in the search rankings, online reviews also provide you with less tangible but just as important benefits.

Feedback from real customers allows you to build credibility with your audience. Nothing helps you earn trust quite like testimonials to the quality of your services or products. Plus, by taking your reviews to heart, you may find helpful suggestions about how you can improve your business. Reviews can be a treasure trove of  insights into your customer base: what they want out of a business like yours. What they expect from a business like yours. What they appreciate about a business like yours. Even negative can offer an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and responding to them demonstrates that you truly care about your business.

Bottom line? Reviews are a crucial component to any business’s reputation, and getting good ones is a monumental first step to building a stellar web presence. Before you do anything else to market your services or grow your customer base, you should ask yourself: Am I doing enough to get online reviews?

Need to Level-Up Your Online-Review Strategy?

LinkNow’s Here to Help

Whether you need help getting more reviews or managing your online reputation, the team at LinkNow is here to help. Our innovative digital solutions make getting reviews from customers as easy as clicking a button. Save time, money, and effort—and see your business soar like never before.

Call us at 1.888.667.7186 or email website@linknowmedia.com for a free consultation.

 

How Reviews Give Your Business a Natural Boost on Google

Picture of a cartoon rocket ship taking off. Caption says: Get a natural SEO boost with online reviews.Most business owners know that getting reviews online is important. But do you know how important?

In this post, you’ll learn just how important they are–and how they can even give you a natural boost on Google.

Read on to find out how reviews can help you improve your search rankings, and read to the end to learn our top tip to getting more reviews for your business.

What Is a “Natural Boost”?

First things first: What do we mean when we say reviews can give you a “natural boost” on Google?

Having more positive online reviews than your competitors can help improve your ranking in local search results. It’s a natural boost because it improves your natural search ranking.
Why do reviews help? Online reviews contain keywords, which Google crawls to identify search terms and find relevant results for user’s search queries. What’s more, Google wants to show the most reputable, trustworthy sources first. If you have lots of 5-star online reviews, Google is more likely to see you as an authority. And in turn, they’re more likely to rank you more favourably.

Google’s Algorithm Prioritizes Thoughtful Reviews

Google doesn’t just look at the number of reviews. It also analyzes their content.

Google prioritizes thoughtful, detailed reviews, and it’s those kinds of reviews that will give you the most significant search boost. The more thoughtful, detailed, and praiseworthy your reviews, the better your ranking.

Google Searchers Rely on Reviews More and More

This update in how Google provides search results is with the searchers’ tendency to consider reviews before deciding on which business to choose.

Essentially, Google would be silly not to adjust to the searcher’s tendency to consider reviews because it inevitably leads searchers to more reliable results.

The moment Google is no longer a reliable search engine, it goes kaput.

Key Takeaways

It’s time to get some reviews on your Google Business Profile.

You might be asking yourself how on earth to do that. The answer is very simple:

Ask your previous clients to review you.

This might sound tedious, but having past clients review your business and services will pay off in dividends once they start rolling in.

And it’s not as much of a chore for your clients as you might think. In many cases, if you send an email asking them to review your business or the experience they had with you, they’ll be happy to make the time.

Long story short, there is no harm in asking your clients – and having more positive reviews about your business on your business’s profile will be very positive for your business.


Looking for more wayson how to get reviews on Google, and how to ask clients for reviews? Check out our blog post Should You Ask Clients to Review You on Google for some killer insider tips.

Click here to read the post!

Should I Ask Clients to Use Keywords in Reviews?

A business woman talks to a client, both sitting at a desk. Caption says: How to ask for reviews the right way.

Did you know keywords in reviews can significantly improve your local search ranking?

Research consistently shows a strong connection between keywords in reviews and improved rankings on Google. One study even called it the number one way to boost local search results.

So, should you ask clients to use keywords in their reviews?

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Asking clients to use specific words or phrases can make their reviews feel inauthentic or forced—which is never a good thing.

So what do we recommend?

Don’t Ask for Keywords. Ask for Details.

Simply asking your clients for detailed reviews can get them to naturally use keywords that will improve your local search results. It may seem foreign and a little awkward at first, but it will come naturally with a bit of practice.

When you ask your clients to leave detailed reviews face to face, you gain the opportunity to coach them on the type of review that would benefit you the most.

While you are not trying to influence their opinion, you should ask them to use specifics to clarify what services or products they liked the best and how your business went above and beyond to deliver exceptional quality and attention to detail. The more detail, the more your reviews will naturally incorporate keyword-heavy language, in turn boosting your search rankings.

Here are two examples showing you the difference between a serviceable review and a review that hits it out of the ballpark in richness and detail:

Example 1: 

Exceptional work. Professional and fast.

Example 2:

John arrived on time and brought all the electrical equipment he needed to install my new panel box and do some re-wiring safely. John’s customer service and level of attention were very much appreciated when he explained how to check the breaker panel and why the old wiring was not up to par with local building and safety codes. As far as electricians go, John’s rates are very reasonable. The turnaround times were so reasonable. I would recommend this company to anyone!

The first example doesn’t provide enough information to give Google a good sense of which services the client liked the most. From a consumer’s perspective, it’s not the most compelling review, either.

By contrast, the second example includes specifics like the electrician’s name, a handful of the services they received, and what made this electrician stand out from the rest. Notice how the text naturally incorporates industry-specific keywords, such as breaker panel, wiring, and electricians.

It’s not hard to see why the second example is preferred. But it can be hard to get your clients to leave such detailed reviews.

Read on to learn more about how to ask for longer reviews like a pro.

Prompt Your Clients for Detailed, Long-Form Reviews by Asking Questions

Using a template to ask for long-form reviews is a great way to get your client’s honest feedback while ensuring a more robust and full review that attracts Google’s attention.

Instead of just providing your clients with a blank forum to fill out, why not ask them a few questions that prompt them to be more descriptive?

You can ask questions like:

  • What services did you receive today?
  • Which of our locations did you visit?
  • How did our technicians do?
  • Was there a specific technique that you’d like to recognize here?
  • What aspects of working with us did you like most?
  • Is this your first interaction with our team?
  • Have you experienced other services we have provided?
  • How do we measure up against the competition?
  • Do you have any tips for us?

Be sure to let your clients know that you’d still appreciate a short and to-the-point review if they don’t have a lot of time.

While long-form reviews are ideal, the quantity of positive reviews you receive also plays a part in your ranking success.

What Is The Best Way to Ask for a Review?

If a follow-up email is already a regular part of your business, why not attach a link to the invoice you’re providing that takes your client to your business’s review forum?

This can be the perfect opportunity to politely request a review without putting too much pressure on the client.

In addition to this, you can use your social media platforms to request reviews and have your technicians let your clients know that while not required, leaving a review would be the perfect way to show appreciation for a job well done.

You could also put together a direct email, which you can send to clients on your mailing list.

How to Craft an Email to Ask for a Review

Do you have questions about how to craft an email to ask for a review?

We have answers.

Below, you’ll find a list of pointers that will help you create the ideal template you can go on to send to all of your preferred clients:

  • Personalize the subject line with something attention-worthy
  • Ask them directly to leave a review
  • Provide a direct link to the review forum

Here is an example that will show you how each piece comes into play:

Subject: Hello Mark, we need your help!

Hello Mark,

It was our pleasure to complete your electrical panel box installation recently.

Thank you for choosing us.

Online reviews help us bring our reasonable electrical services to more households and businesses like yours.

Could you take a moment to leave us a review?

Follow this direct link to let us know what you liked about our services: <link>

Here are some things you could touch on if you need some inspiration:

  • Specific services or products provided
  • Location of services provided
  • Did we meet your expectations?
  • Did you work with a particular person who went above and beyond?
  • Would you recommend our company?

We appreciate you taking a minute to leave us a detailed review, but short thoughts are also appreciated if you only have a second to spare.

Thanks for your help,

John

Now that you know that robust customer reviews can boost your site’s visibility in SERPs, you can craft a strategy that aligns best with your business model.

Looking for More Review-Management Tips?

LinkNow to the Rescue!

Liked what you read? Feel inspired to rework your review-management strategy? Leave us a comment below and we’ll get back to you.

If you’re looking for more tips to manage your online presence, LinkNow’s here to help. We develop data-driven solutions to help you build your brand, grow your audience, and manage your reputation online.

Discover how we can help you in a free consultation. Contact us to website@linknowmedia.com at (888) 667-7186 to get started today.

 

4 Reasons Online Reviews Are Essential to Business Success

Two professionals speak while in front of a laptop. Text says: Reviews matter. Here's why.

The internet has revolutionized the way we make purchasing decisions.

Thanks to tools like online reviews, consumers can access a lot of information about a product that answers questions in detail, better than any FAQ page ever could.

While recent statistics point to 90% of online shoppers having admitted to speed reading at least one online review before heading to their cart to complete a purchase, the figure we really want to draw your attention to is the 94% of consumers who have aborted a purchase that they had to have, due to a negative review.

Here’s an overview of the 4 ways fostering a large selection of favorable online reviews is paramount to the success of your business:

1. Peer Reviews Are Type of Social Proof

Let’s face it, you can say everything there is to say about your products and the services you provide, but you’ll never be able to anticipate every single question consumers have about what you provide.

That’s only one of the ways online reviews can come in handy.

When other people post their experience and say it’s a good idea to go ahead and make the purchase, consumers are more likely to take the leap. In this way, cultivating social proof from other consumers can be more powerful than the media you produce on your own.

2. Including Reviews on Your Site Helps You Build Trust

What’s so good about a consistent flow of positive feedback from your clients?

In a word, trust is the name of the game.

5-star reviews are the goal here since anything less will give your consumer a reason to pause and rethink their purchasing decision.

Don’t overlook this powerful resource when you want to build upon your brand’s online identity. Building trust is truly a fundamental strategy that ensures you’re creating positive visibility.

3. Reviews Have a Direct Impact on Purchases

Like we said above, reviews have been proven to impact sales directly, but don’t just take our word for it. This case study from Harvard speaks volumes about how a brand’s online reputation can affect sales volume over the short and long term.

As you work to improve your star ratings and begin to gain traction, you’ll see a corresponding jump in revenue.

It goes without saying that brands with the a large and consistent number of positive reviews are viewed more favorably by consumers and therefore benefit from increased sales.

Are you doing everything in your power to foster positive comments and higher star ratings?

There’s no better time to start than now.

4. Online Reviews Open Up a Direct Chanel of Communication with Your Target Consumers

The majority of people who post online reviews of your products and services will be expecting a prompt response from you.

This presents you with a handy way to quickly solve problems with unfavorable reviews, give thanks to customers who post positive feedback, and tip your loyal clients off with information on upcoming promotions.

Let’s Review

The takeaway?

You need an review-management strategy. Online reviews help you grow your web presence, build trust with customers, and drive traffic to your site. If you aren’t actively seeking reviews, you’re missing out.


Need help managing your online reviews? LinkNow has your back! As one of North America’s leading digital marketers, we offer all-in-one solutions to help you manage your web presence, and online reviews are no exception.

Get a free consultation by calling 888.667.7186, emailing website@linknowmedia.com, or commenting below.

 

How Online Reviews Affect Your Local SEO

Woman raises arms in confusion. Text says: Do online reviews matter?

The importance of reviews is something that comes up a lot when discussing digital marketing. But how much do they actually impact your business?

It’s no secret that online reviews play a role in your search ranking and can influence potential customers. But you might be surprised to know that generating and managing reviews for your business can provide a big boost in traffic and sales.

Read on to learn more about the significance of online reviews and why you need to pay attention to them.

Local Search Engines Love Online Reviews

So how much do reviews matter to search engines?

As a ranking factor, review signals are huge. According to MOZ, online reviews make up 15.44% of how Google ranks you in local search results.

In other words, the more positive reviews you have on Google, the better you’ll rank. It’s as simple as that: Get more reviews, get more business.

This approach makes sense from a business perspective. Not only does it reward businesses that provide positive experiences. It also provides consumers with a reason to continue returning to the review website. Search engines gain traffic based on their ability to produce the most accurate and helpful information, so connecting people with highly-rated local businesses will make them more likely to use that search engine again.

Consumers Love Online Reviews

In addition to their role in search rankings, online reviews are often the deciding factor on whether somebody decides to contact your business. 93% of customers claim that their buying decisions are influenced by the testimonials they read, and 84% say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from people they know.

When someone is searching for a particular service or product, they typically already know what they need. Your audience will also usually have an idea of what their ideal business looks like, and testimonials can help reinforce that your company fulfills their needs. The time between reading reviews and making a purchasing decision happens almost immediately, so putting positive reviews in front of your audience will almost certainly bring more leads your way.

Managing Your Online Reputation Is Crucial

Although every business owner wishes they could maintain that 5-star rating forever, it’s hard to please everybody. That said, the way you deal with negative reviews can help highlight your composure as a business owner. It can show future clients that you value their opinions, and that you take customer feedback seriously, whether it’s good or bad.

When you receive reviews on Google (or any platform), respond to them. Keep a close eye on your review page so you can catch new reviews as they come in, and always leave a note of appreciation when someone leaves you some feedback. You never know what useful pieces of praise or constructive criticism you might find.

Looking for Help Managing Your Online Reputation?

LinkNow to the Rescue!

If you want some assistance with developing a review generation strategy or managing your online reputation, LinkNow Media is the name you can trust. We’ve already helped many business owners with their local SEO, and we would love to do the same for you.

Reach us 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com to speak with one of our digital marketing specialists.

Top 5 Sites to Get Reviews and Grow Your Business

Man holding a heart sign. Text says: Top 5 sites to get reviews.

It’s no secret: Getting reviews is super important to growing your business. And online is the best place to make happen.

But with so many different websites and apps around to get reviews, it’s not always easy to determine where you should be directing your clients to leave testimonials. What platforms should you focus on? How can you maximize the impact your reviews make?

In this post, we’ll look at the 5 best websites to get reviews. If you want to grow your business, these are the 5 review platforms you have to target.

1. Google My Business

If you had to focus on only one review platform, Google would be it. The undisputed champion of search engines, Google reviews can have a significant effect on the credibility of your business and how high you rank in local search results.

Many consumers put a lot of trust in Google reviews, which appear on many of the company’s apps, such as Search and Maps. This means that you get a lot of potential value from collecting reviews on Google and should typically be putting the biggest emphasis on this platform when asking for testimonials.

2. Facebook

Another reliable website for spreading word of mouth about your business is Facebook. This social networking giant has well over a billion users, making it a powerful resource for small business owners.

Facebook provides you with a great opportunity to connect with your client base and your community. Reviews on this platform can help you gain the trust of your target audience and improve the organic reach of your business.

3. Better Business Bureau

The BBB is a non-profit organization with the mission of helping consumers find businesses and charities that they can trust. For over 100 years, people have put their faith in this organization for honest and accurate information.

A high rating on this platform implies that you are a reputable business that can be trusted for top-notch service, so reviews here will do wonders for your credibility. An A+ rating on the BBB is a common selling point for many companies, and sharing testimonials from this platform can help earn the trust of your audience.

4. Yellow Pages

Years ago, when you wanted to find local businesses, you would just open the Yellow Pages. Although the print version has been scrapped in favor of online listings, the Yellow Pages is still a great place to promote your business.

It is a good idea to claim a free business listing on this website to manage the reviews you receive.

5. Yelp

Yelp is a name that people commonly associate with business reviews. Users can leave ratings and testimonials about local businesses in their area, with an emphasis on providing accurate information about their experience.

Yelp is also known for providing information that helps teach small business owners how to appropriately respond to reviews, which will serve you well across the other review platforms.

Looking to Grow Your Business with Online Reviews?

LinkNow Has You Covered!

If you could use some extra help with managing your online reviews and other aspects of digital marketing, LinkNow Media has you covered.

We invite you to contact us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com for more details.

Do Online Reviews Matter in 2021?

Man in suit scratching his head with caption: Do reviews even matter?

Countless online marketing studies indicate that most consumers will read reviews before hiring a service, visiting a restaurant, or shopping online. Consumers read reviews because they want to know what they’re getting and recognize that there are many businesses to choose from—and they see the value of their dollar.

But if you provide quality services and have developed an excellent reputation by word of mouth, are online reviews really important?

Short Answer: YES!

In short, if consumers are reading reviews online, you should be encouraging your clients to write them. You should also be interacting with these reviews directly, be it on your Google my Business Page, Yahoo Reviews, or Facebook – why you may ask? Let’s take a look.

Reviews Boost SEO

For starters, online reviews can really help online traffic and SEO – and isn’t that what we’re all here for?

Google, the Internet’s most prominent and essential review platform, prioritizes customer experience. Because so many people read reviews, especially when searching their local area, Google has included these reviews as a local search ranking signal.

The bottom line is the more reviews you have, the better your search results will be.

Reviews Are Key to Customer Service

Though it may seem awkward to ask your clients to leave you an online review, most will be happy to do so as long as you let them know how. Expressing interest in feedback also bodes well for your business, as it exemplifies your commitment to the customer experience and its betterment overall.

Responding to reviews is also important as it allows the client to feel heard and understood by the company, making it more likely they’ll return for more business in the future.

Reviews Help You Improve Client Experiences

Reading reviews and receiving feedback is also perhaps the most valuable way to learn how to improve your business moving forward.

If you are getting the same kind of complaints over and over, you’ll know you’re doing something wrong. Customers who are invested in your business may also have great suggestions for changes you can make to modernize the operation or make it more accessible to different demographics – just to name a few examples.

Reviews Help Build Community

Building a community is a huge part of building a business. Having customers comment not only on your products and services but also on your approach to client care, the atmosphere of your commercial space, and how they feel will give people a richer understanding of the culture of your business.

Question and answer interactions can also play a significant role in developing community ties. Responding to negative reviews can give potential customers an idea of how you deal with conflict resolution.


Overall, online reviews play a significant role in your business, and they shouldn’t be overlooked. So start reading, replying, and asking your customers to write their own, especially when they have a great experience.

Convinced of the power of reviews? Got any review-generation tips yourself? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below! And if you need help managing your online reputation, contact LinkNow at 888-667-7186 or website@linknowmedia.com.

Should You Ask Clients to Review You on Google? [2021]

Should You Ask for Google Reviews(1)By now, everyone knows how important it is to get their customers to leave positive, positive, thoughtful, and detailed reviews on Google.

But the rules for soliciting reviews remain foggy. At best.

Part of the problem is that different review sites have different rules, and many people conflate them accidentally.

Today we’re going to clear the air. We’re going to explain, as precisely as possible, Google’s rules around asking for reviews.

So, let’s be clear. Should you ask your customers for Google reviews?

Yes, You Should Ask Your Customers to Leave Google Reviews

In fact, if you look up Google’s own policy on soliciting reviews, you’ll find this:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

—Google My Business Help

Pretty clear, I’d say! Google uses reviews to find out whether businesses are trustworthy or not. It uses that information to rank businesses on Google Maps searches and to rank webpages on their regular organic search. That’s also why they value reviews that are detailed, include keywords, and identify excellent services in direct and concrete ways. It all shows that you are running a business that they can be comfortable pushing on their platform.

Google Reviews Can Attract Clicks from New Customers

Positive reviews are important for gaining more traffic.

It’s not just about search algorithms, either. There’s a very human component too. Consumers almost always read reviews before trying any new service or product. They depend on those reviews to help them make an informed decision, and the content in those reviews is often the deciding factor.

In general, consumers want to see reviews with:

  1. High ratings
  2. Positive words in review text
  3. Many positive, detailed reviews

People are naturally drawn to businesses with those 3 factors going for them.

Search for businesses in your industry and see which Google My Business (GMB) profiles you are most attracted to, and which ones you think you would call. You’ll notice that profiles with more reviews and a higher rating are much more appealing than those without.

How to Ask Clients for Google Reviews

Now that you know how important it is to ask clients to review you, let’s look at how you should ask them.

Ask Every Customer for a Review

It’s important to ask every customer for a review. Behind Google My Business profiles, reviews are the 2nd most important ranking factor Google looks at for their local finder results. This means that the amount and quality of reviews you receive has a significant impact on the ranking of your business on Google.

If you are just getting started on asking customers for reviews, it can take some time before it has any impact on your ranking.

Our advice?

Be persistent and you’ll start reaping the rewards of your hard work before you know it.

4 Proven Techniques for Asking for Google Reviews

It’s time to start drafting and asking clients to leave you a review! Here are 4 of our top practices to keep in mind.

1. Ask for Google Reviews by Email

The easiest way to get reviews is to ask for reviews by email. Whenever you do work for somebody, send them an email thanking them for choosing your company. This shows your clients that you care about their experiences. And just when they feel appreciated, gently ask them to leave their feedback on your Google My Business page.

Say something like:

“If you enjoyed working with us, please take a moment to leave us your thoughts on Google. 60 seconds of your time will help us continue delivering top-quality service to others just like you! Follow this link to our Google page.”

If they’ve had a great experience with you and feel appreciated, they’ll be happy to leave a review that will help you out.

2. Ask for Google Reviews in Person

Although it can feel a little bit weird to ask for a review in person, it’s the surest way to get those reviews on your GMB listing. Don’t think of it like you’re bothering them or being sleazy. We live in a time when reviews can make or break a business. If you don’t ask for reviews from clients that know you and respect your work, you’re not taking the necessary precautions to protect and manage your online reputation.

Don’t be shy! It’s just business in 2021.

3. Ask for Google Reviews on Your Website

This one takes a little bit of tact. You don’t want to make it appear like you’re offering an incentive for people to leave reviews. You want to remind people that leaving a review will help you continue to provide top-quality service and improve your business.

One way that works well is to include testimonials from Google on your website. This will remind and encourage your clients to leave their own review. A simple phrase like “Liked our service? Let us know on Google!” is all you need to increase the number of daily, weekly, and monthly reviews.

4. Do Not Incentivize Reviews

Offering high-quality service should be incentive enough! But offering compensation for reviews will get you into a lot of trouble with Google.

A Louisville, Kentucky law firm offered their clients a chance to win a contest for a review. When they got caught, Google removed 100 online reviews. No mercy!

As we repeat over and over, Google’s whole business model depends on being a trustworthy source of information. Artificial or fake reviews damage Google’s reputation. That hurts their bottom line. And they don’t like that too much.

Google Review “Snippets”

Snippets are a feature Google has implemented to make searching easier for the user.

Review snippets appear on a business’s Google My Business page, just below their contact details. These snippets provide a snapshot of one customer review highlighting a keyword in the user’s search query:

Google search results showing local heating repair companies. Highlighted is a listing with a review snippet that reads: "I had a furnace/heating issue and called Martin."

Your clients leave important keywords while reviewing your business. So, the more reviews you have under your belt, the more opportunity Google has to select from your reviews to match people’s searches. This will inevitably draw people to your business because it will make you stand out from the competition—yet another excellent reason to ask every customer for a review on your Google My Business profile.

Google Reviews are an Easy Way to Grow Your Business Online!

Consistently asking your clients to review your services will help your business grow. As Google emphasizes its reviews feature in different ways, business owners like yourself should take advantage of it.

Using these simple methods will improve your reputation and grow your business. Let us know how they help in the comments below!

 

 

 

Understanding the Yelp Review Filter

In background, a woman works on math equations with a laptop. Text in foreground says: Cracking the code on Yelp's Review Filter.

In our last post, we looked at everything you need to know about Yelp Reviews. This week, we’ll look in more depth at Yelp’s review filter and how it works.

Yelp is one of the most popular online review platforms, with almost 100 million unique visitors last year.

It’s also one of the most notorious.

Why?

Yelp uses a proprietary algorithm to identify, filter, and remove fake reviews. The Yelp review filter removes scores of reviews every day. In theory, it sounds admirable that they go to such lengths to combat fake reviews. But in practice, it proves complicated.

Let’s look at how the Yelp review filter works, why some love it, and why others detest it.

First: The Power of Reviews

First things first: Why are fake reviews such a problem to begin with?

The reason’s simple: Reviews are a powerful tool.

87% of consumers read online reviews before making a purchase.

The influence reviews have is enormous. They can compel shoppers to try a new brand, buy a new product, or look the other way. They inform customer decisions on a vast, global scale, leading some brands to soar and others to crash.

That power means review platforms like Yelp have some responsibility. It means they need to monitor their reviews and ensure they’re truthful and authentic, not fake. Otherwise, a slew of fake reviews could hurt the user experience—especially if those users get conned by a false word or two.

Fake reviews can put a brand like Yelp’s reputation at risk. But Yelp has a strategy to stop them.

The Yelp Review Filter

To filter out fake reviews, Yelp uses a proprietary algorithm it calls its “recommendation software.

Yelp’s recommendation software filters reviews based on several factors, including:

  • The reviewer’s user profile
  • How active the reviewer is on Yelp
  • The content in the review

After reviewing that information, Yelp will make a decision either to recommend the review or not recommend it.

Recommended reviews automatically appear on a business’s Yelp page. They also count toward the business’s rating on Yelp.

Unrecommended reviews are not immediately visible. They’re hidden from most users’ sight, and they do not factor into the business’s Yelp score.

Yelp hides unrecommended reviews, but they never delete reviews. Instead, they hide those they deem unworthy. You can read unrecommended reviews by following the link at the bottom of a business’s Yelp page:The bottom of a Yelp review page, which shows "161 other reviews that are not currently recommended."

How Does the Yelp Review Filter Work?

Yelp’s review filter considers several factors to identify and hide potentially fake reviews. It’s overzealous by design, removing anything with even a hint of phoniness.

Yelp doesn’t release many details about its recommendation software because they don’t want people trying to cheat it. Still, we know the software considers several factors when evaluating reviews. Three of the most important are:

  • The Reviewer’s User History. One way that Yelp filters reviews is by identifying established users – users that review often. The software works to syndicate established users’ reviews onto business pages for the world to see. While reviews of less active users are never deleted, they may seem more suspicious to the algorithm and not pop up on the business’ site.
  • The Content of the Review. Yelp’s recommendation software examines reviews’ content, including their length and style Reviews that are shorter, overly glowing, or less detailed are often flagged as fraudulent and tend to be removed. Likewise, reviews that are overly combative, hinting at a conflict of interest, may also be removed.
  • Solicitation. Unlike Google, Yelp strictly forbids any sort of review solicitation. If they suspect a business asked a customer to review them on Yelp, they will hide that review. Yelp wants its review system to replicate “word of mouth” as much as possible, and according to them, solicited reviews diminishes that word-of-mouth experience.

The Yelp review filter is constantly evolving. The reviews it recommends (and doesn’t recommend) may change from day to day because it’s always evaluating new signals. As such, you may notice reviews “disappear” then “reappear” from time to time. According to Yelp, it’s not a flaw. It’s a feature.

Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews?

Yelp filters reviews to combat malicious reviewing and give the consumer a more genuine understanding of a business’s reputation.

Yelp and its competitors know how critical authentic reviews are to the overall reliability of their site, and it’s in their best interest to ensure they’re as genuine as possible.

What’s the Problem with Yelp’s Review Filter?

If you’ve read up to here, you might have already noticed some problems with Yelp’s review filter:

  • It hides real reviews as well as fake reviews
  • Removing genuine reviews can hurt a business’s reputation
  • The number of hidden reviews is constantly changing (and feels arbitrary)

Yelp says its review filter is supposed to capture the word-of-mouth reputation of a business. But there’s a problem with this:

Some industries feel the Yelp review filter’s effects far more than others. 

Meanwhile, others are not nearly as affected.

Take the service industry, for example. Restaurants are one of the most regularly reviewed businesses on Yelp. They tend to acquire many reviews from dedicated Yelp users.

Those Yelp users might visit dozens of restaurants, leaving a detailed review for each of them. And because the Yelp review filter prioritizes reviews from regular Yelp users, those reviews will all look authentic and stay unfiltered.

But other industries can’t count on their customers to be regular Yelp users.

Consider the general contractor. A contractor might take on 1-2 jobs a month. Already, they’re at a disadvantage because they have far fewer customers.

Worse yet, the contractor’s clients are far less likely to be regular Yelp users. They might only write a review on Yelp as an afterthought. They might even have to create a Yelp account because they’ve never used the platform before. And because those reviews are coming from new accounts, they’re far more likely to be filtered out.

Plus, that contractor can’t ask clients to write a review: That’d be against Yelp’s policy. So, if you’re a service provider that targets a certain demographic—such as the older, not-so-tech-savvy crowd—you’re left in a bit of a catch-22: Your clients might not think to leave you a Yelp review, yet you can’t remind them, either. And even if the occasional one remembers to write a review, it’s at a much greater risk of being removed anyway.

We Still Have Much to Learn

Deterring fraudsters and making review pages more reliable is a worthy pursuit in the internet age. While we still have a lot to learn about navigating downfalls and ironing out discrepancies, using algorithms and communication analytics to monitor reviews is a step in the right direction.


Have you had a run-in with the Yelp review filter? Got a tip for how to overcome it? Leave a comment below! And if you need help managing your business’s online reputation, don’t hesitate to reach out to LinkNow at 888-667-71864 or by emailing website@linknowmedia.com.

Yelp Reviews: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Everything you need to know about Yelp reviews.
It’s no secret that online reviews can make or break a business—and Yelp is the undisputed king of dedicated review sites.

Most business owners in 2021 will have likely already heard the name Yelp, but they might not be aware of just how large a role it can play in their success. Founded in 2004, Yelp has maintained steady growth and a consistent user base, many of whom take the platform’s ratings as gospel.

The result? Yelp can be a powerful tool, or a thorn in your side. Here’s what you need to know—the good, the bad, and the ugly about Yelp—to make the most of it.

The Good

Making the Most of Your Yelp Page

Though you can’t directly control the feedback that your customers provide, you can use Yelp to promote positive reviews for your business.

By taking the time to give your Yelp page some attention (and by providing good service overall), you can increase the likelihood your customers will leave you a glowing testimonial.

Follow these three guidelines, and you’ll be on your way to Yelp greatness.

1.     Claim and Manage Your Yelp Page

First, activate your business page on Yelp. If your business is already on Yelp, claim your page so you have ownership. Doing so is essential, giving you the authority to make changes and respond to reviews.

After you have claimed or created a listing for your business, take the time to add photos, phone numbers, and hours of operation—it will make you look more professional and provide customers with all the information they need.

2.     Advertise That You Are on Yelp

Customers will be much more likely to leave you a rating on Yelp if they know you are on there.

Yelp offers many different ways to promote pages, both physically and digitally.

Posting a “Find us on Yelp” sign on your door or inside your establishment is a great way to subtly advocate for reviews. You can also add a Yelp QR code to your storefront, or a digital badge that links your website to your Yelp page.

3.     Respond to Yelp Reviews

Receiving reviews on your Yelp page—positive or negative—provides a great opportunity to show that you care about your business. Taking a few minutes to acknowledge people’s experiences will show you take all feedback seriously.

You might not be able to resolve all the issues that appear in your reviews, but by replying, you can prove that you are passionate about providing the best service possible.

The Bad

Avoid These Yelp Blunders

You might be eager to start promoting your Yelp page, but there are some important things to note first.

There are a few rules for advertising your business on the platform that should be followed to avoid any penalties. Yelp is strict with scammy, spammy, and unsavvy behavior, so don’t get yourself caught doing something against their guidelines.

Above all, heed the following:

1.     Do Not Offer Rewards for Reviews

Never advertise any discount or deal in exchange for Yelp reviews. It is perfectly acceptable to request reviews from your customers, but they must never be bribed in order to do so.

2.     Do Not Ask for Positive Reviews

Yelp clarifies that while it is perfectly okay to remind your customers to leave reviews, you must not specifically request positive reviews. Instead, you should focus on providing the best experience possible and hope that the feedback you receive accurately reflects your hard work.

3.     Do Not Buy Yelp Reviews

Paying a review-generating service to bump up your rating on Yelp may seem like a fast track to the top, but it is absolutely not worth the risk. Not only is it dishonest—it could result in a large warning being attached to your Yelp page to alert customers of your shady reviews.

Buying fake reviews is never worth it, least of all on Yelp. Their review filter is notoriously strict, removing almost any review that has even a hint of phoniness.

The Ugly

Dealing with Negative Reviews

If your business is available to be reviewed online, it is only a matter of time before you receive your first negative review. That being said, you don’t need to panic just because you noticed a 1-star rating.

No business is perfect, but it is important to acknowledge your mistakes and move forward as gracefully as possible. It never feels good to receive a negative testimonial, but you can mitigate the damage and put a positive spin on things by keeping the following tips in mind.

Remain Calm

Your first instinct might be to push back against your unsatisfied customer, but this will never help your situation. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the review and why the person left it before drafting your reply.

By taking a level-headed approach and treating your reviewer with respect, you can highlight your professionalism to prospective customers in the future.

Acknowledge Criticism and Promise to Do Better

Negative reviews don’t always have to be a bad thing. They provide a great opportunity to reflect on your customer service and improve on any shortcomings.

If you receive complaints about a particular aspect of your business, try to empathize with the person leaving the review and offer solutions about how you can make things right.

Focus on the Good

It is also a smart idea to highlight any positive content in the bad reviews you receive.

Did someone receive poor service at your restaurant but enjoy their food? Take a moment to apologize for the bad experience and express your pride in your product and invite them to give you another shot.

Read more on how respond to negative online reviews

Using Yelp to Your Advantage

Yelp is a fantastic platform for increasing awareness of your business and showcasing your top-notch service. But it’s not the only factor that determines your success.

Your primary focus should always be to provide the best experience for your customers—do this, and everything else will fall into place. Give good service, and your standing in Yelp will follow. Think of your Yelp as the result of your hard work rather than the goal you strive for.


 

Have your own Yelp story to share? Got any tips that worked for you? Leave a comment below!

If  you need help managing your online reputation, the digital marketing masters at LinkNow are here to help. Contact us at 1.888.667.7186 or website@linknowmedia.com for more details about what we can do for you.

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