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Yelp 101: When to Report a Yelp Review

yelp 101

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

As years go by, reviews continue to gain popularity. Customers rely on them to learn about a product or service quality. It is a given fact that getting good reviews is essential to become a trustworthy business; getting negative feedback can taint your business’s influx of customers. 

Yelp is an online review site and mobile app that allows customers to leave business reviews. These reviews can be honest; some are meant to give praise, and others are posted to provide constructive feedback. But what happens when you get a review on Yelp that you find malicious? Should you report every negative feedback you get? Read more about Yelp reviews management here. 

Review Management: When to Make the Report

Free vector realistic 3d complain concept illustration

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Now, it is important to note you cannot report every review you do not agree with. If you want to report a review, you must determine if it violates Yelp’s review guidelines. Here you will learn the three prominent reasons why you might consider reporting a review. 

Conflict of Interest

Imagine you had issues with an employee, resulting in having to let them go. This employee upset about the situation, decides to leave a review against your establishment on Yelp. Said review could be reported by claiming conflicts of interest. Similarly, you can report reviews from competitors in your industry who might use your page to promote their products or services. The business owner’s friends or family cannot leave reviews, even if they are served as customers and pay full price for the service or product. The goal is to have a review page where you can show unbiased, clear feedback, whether positive or not. 

Note that just stating the review has a conflict of interests is not enough, you will need to provide evidence to make your case. 

The Review Isn’t From First-Hand Experience

Reviews can only be written based on the customers’ own experience. If you get a review written by a customer telling their loved ones’ experience, even if it perfectly describes the situation, you can report it. Posting reviews based on others’ opinions violates Yelp’s content guidelines. 

Additionally, Yelp updated its guidelines after the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on people’s lives, including the way customers interacted with establishments.

If you get a review in which a person claims they contracted the virus from an employee, get complaints about the safety measures against COVID-19 your establishment takes, or express pandemic-related situations such as government regulations, you can report the review. Reporting reviews under this situation is possible, as these are considered extraordinary circumstances. 

Pinpointing plagiarized reviews isn’t always easy, but if you do, and can provide evidence for it, you can report it, too. Similarly, if you spot reviews posted on the wrong Yelp business pages, it qualifies to be reported. 

It’s an Inappropriate Review

As expected, you can report reviews that contain inadequate material. If the feedback has a privacy breach, meaning it provides personal information about employees or owners of the business, it can be reported. Posting things such as the employees’ full names, addresses, or phone numbers is prohibited.  

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Writing a doctor or realtor’s full name is allowed. 

Furthermore, if the review has any of the following items in it, you can report it:

  1. Hate speech. If the review is focused on attacking a person or group based on traits such as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and more. 
  2. Obscene language. Suppose the review contains offensive or crude comments with sexual connotations. 
  3. Threats. If the review expresses the intent of harm in whatever way, such as damage, injury, infliction of pain, and others.

Should I Report Negative Yelp Reviews, Too?

Here is where it might get tricky for you: You cannot report bad Yelp reviews. While you may consider it an unfair review, or perhaps don’t agree with the customers’ opinion, that does not mean you can delete it. Remember that positive and negative reviews are excellent for businesses if the bad reviews come from a constructive perspective. 

However, you can learn how to handle negative reviews favorably. 

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Handle Negative Reviews Like a Pro

The first thing you must do is answer their comments. To do so, click on the review you want to answer and click on Comment. Yelp also offers the option to send direct messages, but it’s better to approach the customer publicly first and then provide the option of having a private conversation. 

To handle these reviews in a better way, you can give these tips a try: 

  1. First and foremost, apologize to your customer. Let them know it’s a regretful situation for you, too.
  2. Don’t make up excuses. Be honest about what happened without trying to justify yourself, and let the customer know it won’t be a common occurrence. 
  3.  Keep it professional, friendly, and not impersonal. Try addressing the customer by their name, and keep the tone professional but not overly serious. 
  4. Offer to approach the customer privately so you can handle the situation better.

Now That You Know When Learn the How To

Until now, you learned which reviews can be reported by business owners, if you can remove Yelp reviews, and even got some tips on how to handle negative ones. It is time to take it further: learn to report a review to Yelp. 

Spot the Review

The first thing you need to do is the one review you would like to report and see if it violates the content guidelines. This is a crucial step, as this is where you can determine if the review can be reported or not. Remember: you cannot report a comment stating a real negative experience. 

To complete this step, click More Options (three dots in the right corner). Afterward, click on the flag icon. 

Choose Why

Once you start the process, you must let Yelp moderators know why you are making the report. There will be a menu that will provide you with several options to choose from. Then, select the one that is closest to your complaint.

If Possible, Add More Information

In addition, add any evidence or any extra details you have based on your report. These can be the key for reports approval. 

The Next Steps for Yelp Reviews Removal

Once you complete the previous steps, the review removal process will begin. One of the most important things you need to know is that they take reported reviews seriously, which means it might take some time to see any results. First, once you submit your complaint, providing as much evidence as possible, Yelp moderators will begin their process. 

Once moderators have completed their evaluation based on Yelp’s content guidelines, you will receive an email informing you of your report approval status. The review may get approved for removal, get a statement from Yelp, or they could reject your complaint. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Yelp Reviews Go to Google?

Yelp reviews do not appear on Google since the customer posts them on Yelp’s platform or mobile app. 

Not recommended reviews on Yelp are reviews that got filtered out by the platform. These reviews do not count for the business’s reputation. 

How Do You Attract Positive Reviews?

While it may sound obvious, the first step is to provide an excellent product or service that fulfills the customer’s needs. You can do other things, such as making the process faster by creating a QR code that customers can scan easily or a pop-up form when they open your business’ website. 

Does Yelp Exist Outside The US?

Yes, it does. People in Canada and Australia use the platform. This makes it beneficial in famous tourist destinations in these countries.

Can You Ask For Positive Reviews?

You can ask them to leave reviews, but you can slightly persuade them to leave positive reviews. Something you can do is suggest the customer leave an online review if they praise your product or service at the establishment, as happy customers are more inclined to leave excellent feedback. But even then you should be careful of the words you use to make this suggestion.

Wrapping Up

Managing your business’s online reputation is crucial for popularity and, consequently, for revenue. Paying attention to what people say about your business is fundamental to the company’s improvement. On one hand, being thankful for positive feedback, and increasing your customers’ praise can lead to upgrading your business to a higher level. 

On the other hand, receiving and responding to negative reviews is not always easy. Bad reviews might make you feel hopeless or make you think you are not doing a good job. However, they provide you with a fantastic improvement opportunity. Attention to customer complaints can be a starting point for your business growth. 

Yelp has become a tool for businesses’ popularity. Despite that, it is important to know when to report a Yelp review and to familiarize yourself with their content guidelines so you can do the report properly and successfully. 

Joe Troyer

Joe Troyer is the Founder of Review Grower. He is leading expert in all things Internet Marketing: Pay Per Click Marketing, Search Engine Optimization, Google Business, Reputation Management, Landing Page Conversion, and Call Tracking.

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