Why are my Yelp reviews disappearing? This is one of the most frequently asked questions coming from Yelp business page owners.
On Yelp — one of today’s most popular and influential business review sites — reviews and ratings have the power to shape your brand reputation, influence consumer behavior, and improve search engine visibility.
Sometimes, these online reviews might suddenly go missing from your Yelp business page.
This can be frustrating. Imagine a Yelp user arriving at your page without being able to read the positive reviews shared by your loyal customers.
Why Do Yelp Reviews Disappear?
There are a number of reasons why a Yelp review has disappeared. Let’s break down some of the most common ones:
- The review is fake
- The author deleted the review
- Yelp removed the review because it violated content guidelines
- Yelp filtered the review, and it’s considered “not recommended”
The Review is Fake
The most obvious reason for Yelp removing a review from a business page is that the review is fake.
While the site does not typically take sides in factual disputes, Yelp moderators can independently verify questionable reviews that have been flagged and reported.
For reviews deemed by moderators to be fake, the result is removal of the review from the Yelp business page.
The Author Deleted the Review
“What happened to my Yelp review?” Sometimes, the answer to this question is a simple one: the author decided to remove it.
If the author deleted the review, you will not be able to get the review back, regardless of whether it was positive or negative.
The only way you can have it displayed again on your Yelp page is if the author writes the exact same review.
Yelp Removed It Because It Violated Content Guidelines
Yelp’s guidelines include:
- There should be no threats or hate speech in any review.
- There should be no conflicts of interest in a review. So if a consumer posts a review on a relative’s business site, for example, then it’s against Yelp’s content guidelines.
- There should be no promotional content found in a Yelp review.
- Review content should be relevant to the business.
- Review content shouldn’t violate another person’s privacy. For example, a review shouldn’t contain a photo of other customers without their permission.
- The review must be original.
So what kind of reviews does Yelp accept? “The best reviews are passionate and personal,” according to Yelp. “They offer a rich narrative, a wealth of detail, and a helpful tip or two for other consumers.”
Yelp Filtered the Review
Why does Yelp remove reviews, even if the reviews aren’t fake or don’t seem to violate content guidelines?
Sometimes, this boils down to the results of Yelp’s review filter or automated recommendation software.
If a review is considered “not recommended” by Yelp’s recommendation software, it won’t be visible on your Yelp business page, which, by default, shows only the recommended reviews.
Reviews that Yelp doesn’t recommend can still be seen via a link on the bottom of each business’s Yelp page. But they don’t factor into the business’s overall star rating or review count.
“Yelp Reviews Not Recommended”: What Does It Mean?
The Yelp review filter is built to make sure reviews are as unbiased and organic as possible.
According to Yelp, “Every review is automatically evaluated by Yelp’s recommendation software based on Quality, Reliability, and User Activity.”
The review could be filtered if:
- The reviewer does not have a complete profile
- The reviewer does not have social integration
- The reviewer has only positive reviews
- The review was submitted from an IP address located somewhere else
- The reviews are originating from the same computer
- The reviewer does not have Yelp friends
Yelp says that it regularly evaluates the reviews caught by its filter, so that a “not recommended” Yelp review can still be reinstated once it’s proven to be legitimate and written by a trustworthy Yelp user.
It’s also worth noting that the Yelp review filter is automated, which means that Yelp’s support team cannot manually override the software in order to recommend or not recommend a review.
This is why, if you’re regularly logged into your Yelp for Business dashboard to track Yelp reviews, you may notice some come and some go. The order of reviews can even change, depending on the trustworthiness of the Yelp users who’ve written a review of your business.
Yelp Reviews Disappeared: Next Steps You Can Take
While it’s hard to say exactly what you can do to make sure Yelp does not remove or filter reviews, we know what you should not do.
If we look at Yelp’s content guidelines, there are a few steps you can take to prevent problems of Yelp reviews disappearing from your business page.
Follow the Rules
Don’t use promotional content on your site. And don’t try asking for reviews from your customers, at least not on Yelp.
The site’s recommendation software actively tries to identify and not recommend reviews prompted or encouraged by the business.
Engage with Yelp Users
Make the effort to engage with your customers on Yelp. Listen to their concerns. Know how to respond to negative reviews.
If you engage with your Yelp community and grow your relationships with customers, you’ll organically get reviews from people who are consistently active on Yelp, who have complete profiles that link to social accounts, who post negative and positive reviews, and who have friends in the Yelp community.
Respond to Yelp Reviews
Responding to your online reviews is one of the most effective ways to build and protect your brand presence on Yelp.
Not only is it likely that Yelp’s search algorithms reward businesses that are active in managing reviews left on their page; responding to reviews — and doing so in a manner that’s sincere and professional — also shows that you value customer feedback, and that you care about the customer experience.
As a business owner, you should also feel free to use your Yelp business account to publicly or directly respond to any inaccuracies in the review.
Click the line of gray text to find your filtered reviews. Then identify the positive ones that you’d like to display publicly on your Yelp business page.
Interact with these reviews by leaving a public comment or sending the customer a direct message. You can also visit the customer’s profile page to add them as a friend, follow their reviews, compliment them on their feedback, and tag their reviews as either Useful, Funny, and/or Cool.
Again, these steps can go a long way in legitimizing your customers as valued and trusted members of the Yelp community.
If you find your Yelp reviews disappearing, or if your reviews have been removed or tagged as “not recommended,” be sure to act quickly and follow the tips outlined above.
Yelp is an essential tool for businesses of almost every type and industry. Managed effectively, your business’s presence on the review website can improve your brand reputation and foster bottom line improvements.
For more tips on how to grow your business presence on Yelp, check out the complete Yelp for Business Handbook.