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Online reviews are a major factor in shaping consumers’ decision-making process.

They serve as a research tool to help consumers make decisions about their lives, like where to eat, which bank to trust, where to get healthcare services, or where to stay on their next vacation.

There are a number of review sites that today’s consumers find most trustworthy. Reviews on Google, for example, aren’t only among the highest-authority and fastest-growing; they are also displayed on local search results.

Yelp is also one of the most popular and influential online review sites. But sometimes, for some reason or another, reviews go missing from your Yelp business page.

This can be frustrating to you, the business owner, because the consumer might arrive at your page without being able to read a positive review written by one of your most loyal customers.

Has this issue affected your business? Don’t panic. We’ve got you covered.

“My Yelp Reviews Have Disappeared!”

Here are some reasons why your Yelp reviews have disappeared.  

  1.     The author deleted the review.
  2.     Yelp’s team removed the review because it violated content guidelines.
  3.     Yelp filtered the review.
  4.     The review is fake.

The Author Deleted the Review

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 the Review Because It Violated Content Guidelines

Yelp’s guidelines include:

  • There should be no threats or hate speech 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 or on a Yelp business page.
  • 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.”

The Yelp Review Filter

Yelp filters reviews if the review is considered “not recommended.” The Yelp review filter was 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.”

Here’s why Yelp will filter reviews (based on observation and sample analysis):

  1.     The reviewer does not have a complete profile.

If the reviewers profile is incomplete, then Yelp’s algorithm might call out the review as not recommended.

  1.     The reviewer does not have a social integration.

If the reviewer has their social profiles like Facebook linked to their Yelp profile, then the review is more likely to be considered a trusted review.  

  1.     The reviewer only posts positive reviews.

If the reviewer only posts 5-star reviews, then some of his or her reviews will most likely be filtered out.

  1. The review was submitted from an IP address located somewhere other than the reviewer’s indicated location.
  2. All the reviews on a Yelp business page are coming from the same computer.
  3. The Yelp community has not marked the review as funny or useful.
  4. The reviewer does not have Yelp friends.

As a community with a mission to connect people with great location businesses, reviewers should be friends with other members of the community. Reviewers with friends are seen as having established greater credibility than reviewers who do not have friends.

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.

What can you do (or not do)?

While it’s hard to say exactly what you can do to make sure Yelp does not filter reviews, we know what you should not do. If we look at Yelp’s content guidelines, there are a few rules you can follow that will help from Yelp filtering reviews.

What not do to:

  1. Don’t use promotional content on your site.
  2. Don’t ask for reviews from friends or family.

What to do:

Engage with customers on Yelp. Respond to reviews. Listen to customer’s concerns. If you talk with your Yelp community and build relationships, then you’ll get reviews from reviewers 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.

Megan Wenzl

Megan is the Associate Editor for ReviewTrackers. She's a writer who is committed to finding useful information to help your business succeed. Megan holds an M.A. in journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

Discussion

  1. Cheryl Arnold

    All 5 of the reviews our company has received are now missing. Even if 25% were removed it wouldn’t add up to all 5. I have paperwork to verify that they were all customers who phoned in for a plumber and paid for a service. I find this extremely unsettling. I personally will never post another YELP review for anyone. Too bad!!!

    Reply
    • Irene

      Hi Cheryl.. I have the same issue with you.. Some of our good reviews disappear. I don’t know why… And the numbers of our review never go up cause Yelp keep on take out the review if customer add new review.

      Reply
  2. Mike

    I wish this articles covered the opposite scenario. I’ve had multiple negative reviews disappear from certain businesses’ Yelp pages and see the other negative reviews disappear too. Yet when I log into my account I can see my reviews are still there, they’re just not visible to anyone else. It’s like a shadow ban, and I’m assuming the reason is someone paid for that to happen. I have no faith in Yelp, and it’s weird to me that this article acts like the businesses are victims.

    Reply
  3. Amanda Eicher

    I would be very concerned if I saw my reviews were disappearing on yelp. I don’t think I have lost faith in the company yet. I would contact their customer service and see if you can find any explanation for the deleted comments. And if they were deleted for the reasons in this blog then I would know that yelp is doing their job to protect the integrity of the reviews that have been left.

    Reply
  4. Alex

    Hi Amanda.
    It is wery strange because i called yesterday the costumer service of yelp and they answered me that they do not delete the reviews that are posted. On my question: “where are the revies that i have posted on my instagram page that i made screenshot” she said, that she don’t know and nobody will give me an answer. That was so unprofessional from the yelp. Only the reviewer can delete the review. I have the same problems as the business. I have daily 10 clients in my salon and i ask then to review my salon. Some of them review good some bad. I have noticed that good reviews are deleted. I have a bunch of screenshots af my reviews deleted by yelp with no reason. Interesting fact. I recieved a call from yelp couple weeks ago to rase my budget for yelp ads. I decided not to do that, so i think they are doing it just to keep businesses to pay them for leaving the reviews!

    Reply
  5. Amy Lesemann

    I wonder if it is because my reviews were a few years old? They were all there for quite awhile – now they’re gone! it doesn’t make sense!

    Reply
  6. anne collinsreed

    It is not because they are old. Some kind of scam. Only negatives show up for certain businesses. The same ones rated high on Google and Facebook. Makes Yelp look very bad if keeping track. I do not trust this at all anymore.

    Reply
  7. Terry D Mitchell

    I did not violate any yelp guidelines and somehow the company had my review completely removed, I have contacted yelp to see why. In the meantime, I am wondering if I can leave them another review if Yelp has removed it or should I wait and see what Yelp replies with?

    Reply
  8. Ricardo Giacoman

    I opened a Yelp Account at the beginning of this year and all I did was to let my past clients know about it. I received three Yelp reviews and months later I got two more; however, Yelp decided to hide them and I don’t know why. These people that posted the comments are real clients and I don’t see why Yelp decided to pick and choose what comments to remove. I think they either should have contacted me and ask me for some proof that they are real clients or contact my clients. I wish I hadn’t opened an account.

    Reply

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