Getting a negative review on Yelp is not the end of the world. With a solid game plan in place, you’ll be ready for whatever curveballs the social Web throws your way — negative Yelp reviews included!

Negative Review Removal

Sometimes it is possible to have a negative Yelp review removed, but it takes great effort. You can try resolving the situation by contacting a negative reviewer to offer a refund or free services/products. However, most likely, if the person is really upset, he or she will not respond to you at all. A bigger problem is that many negative reviewers are not active Yelpers, so they may not even see your message for months.

A different situation is one where a review violates Yelp’s own content guidelines. Examples of violations include reviews based on another person’s experience, and reviews copied from other sites. If reviews like these are left for your business, it is your right to flag them, and to contact Yelp. If a review receives enough flags, Yelp will put it through a review process and the offending review might be removed.

Increasing Positive Reviews

Most likely, you will not be able to fool Yelp by posting positive reviews yourself from new accounts, or by asking your friends to do it.

Yelp runs an automated filtering system. This system mostly removes reviews from new users, and it comprises one of Yelp’s biggest tactics for combating spam — likewise for the folks writing fake reviews for their own businesses. Furthermore, Yelp’s filters are also on alert for suspicious surges in review counts. This means that if Yelp notices that a particular business has been getting an inordinate amount of reviews within an unrealistic timeframe, those reviews will come down. Keep in mind that such reviews may remain on the site for 1-2 weeks before they’re taken down.

There’s still no surefire way to know whether a particular Yelp account’s posts will get filtered. Research does show, however, that Yelp accounts with a profile picture, and at least ten reviews and ten friends, are less likely to undergo filtering. Moreover, it seems that factored into the formula that determines whether a posting is filtered is the age of the account. And, Yelp account activity, like liking others’ reviews or sending comments, may make an account more likely to pass muster. A good rule of thumb is that the more active a Yelp account is, the less likely it is to have its reviews filtered.

Encouraging happy customers to leave reviews is probably the best way to get good feedback and to bolster your online reputation. Be warned, however, that it is against Yelp policy to ask customers to leave you Yelp reviews! If your company needs help removing negative reviews and increasing positive ones, you can contact Submit Express for our Yelp consulting services. We also offer proactive reputation management services to keep your brand clear of any potential negative feedback.

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