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Converting Visitors into Customers: Yelp Launches ‘Call to Action’ Feature

If you’re a business owner or marketer who’s been tracking and monitoring online reviews, it’s safe to say that Yelp is probably one of the major rating and review sites you’re watching.

But do you know that Yelp has its own review filtering system that may prevent potential customers from seeing good reviews of your business location?

The automated Yelp Review Filter, implemented shortly after the review site’s launch in 2005, is Yelp’s way of protecting consumers and businesses from the alarming trend of fake, paid, and malicious reviews. The filter is based on a constantly evolving algorithm that’s designed to foster trust among Yelpers and take out spammy and spurious reviews, allowing only authentic consumer-generated content to appear on a business’ Yelp listing.

The Yelp Review Filter has been a controversial subject for both businesses and consumers alike. Many have complained that genuine reviews (either positive or negative) have suddenly disappeared or been filtered from a Yelp business page, raising suspicions that Yelp is telling businesses to advertise on the site so that their ratings would improve.

Others, meanwhile, reportedly have had their reviews filtered out not because these weren’t genuine – but because they were not regular Yelp users.

The system is not a perfect one, and because of that, seeing and monitoring online reviews can sometimes be frustrating. In any event, if you’re serious about managing online reputation and staying on top of what your customers are saying, you’ll want to effectively manage Yelp reviews and maximize all the tools that the review site is providing. That’s why we here at ReviewTrackers came up with this guide on everything you need to know about the Yelp Review Filter.

What happens when a review gets filtered?

When a review gets filtered, it disappears from a business’ Yelp page. All filtered reviews can still be read by users by scrolling down the listing and opening the “Filtered Reviews” section (see picture below), but these would no longer factor into a business’ overall Yelp rating.

Why did my legitimate review get filtered? And how did a fake review escape the filter?

Yelp admits that the Yelp Review Filter is far from perfect: that it sometimes affects authentic reviews written by actual customers while also occasionally letting fake reviews through.

Can a filtered review be reinstated and become unfiltered once proven to be legitimate?

Yelp says that it regularly evaluates the reviews caught by its filter, so that a filtered review can still be reinstated once it’s proven to be legitimate and written by a trustworthy Yelp user. That’s why, if you’re monitoring the reviews on your Yelp listing’s review tab, you’ll 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.

Why does the Yelp Review filter seem only to target good reviews? 

That’s because Yelp generates more good reviews than rants in the first place. According to a study on Yelp’s rating and review distribution, 38 percent of Yelpers have given 5-star ratings; 28 percent have given 4 stars; 14 percent for 3 stars; 8 percent for 2 stars; and 12 percent for one star.

If I pay to advertise on Yelp, will I have fewer reviews filtered out?

No. Yelp – like other review sites your business should know about – are based on the generation and sharing of authentic, unpaid online content written by consumers. That’s why you can be an advertiser on Yelp and still have negative reviews or one-star ratings; and you can definitely be a non-advertiser and have 5-star ratings and glowing reviews across the board of your Yelp business listing.

Looking for a better mousetrap? Sign up today to get started with ReviewTrackers, a scalable data collection and monitoring solution for tracking Yelp reviews.

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.


  1. Kay Morrison

    I understand that there must be a filter to weed out reviews. However, since I don’t expect to become a regular “yelper”, I should expect any review that I write to be filtered. I also don’t wish to post personal info, fill up my friends’ in boxes with “yelp” or or chat on Yelp. I simply want to give my teacher a nice review. I think that I should delete my review since most people I’ve asked say that filtered reviews do not bode well for businesses since they are not considered legitimate. I’m discouraged and think keeping my filtered review on Yelp will do more harm than good.