By on

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.