Eighty-three million people visit Yelp each month, making it a significant influencer in where consumers spend their money.
If that weren’t enough, Yelp not only has a dominant presence on the first page of the search engine result pages (SERPs), but can also make or break a business in today’s search-first, act-next world.
Several posts offer tips to encourage people to leave reviews (like this one or this one), but very few (or any) discuss the following tactic that can help a company get more positive reviews to appear on its Yelp profile. The most rewarding part of this tactic, is that the positive reviews have already been left for businesses by their patrons – all a business has to do is give them a little “push” to get them viewable.
For those of you who will say this is a questionable tactic, tell me about it in the comments below, for those of you tired of all your hard earned reviews being filtered by Yelp, you’re going to want to save this post. Let’s get to it.
Finding Your Filtered Reviews
If you scroll down to just below the reviews listed on your profiles you will see a clickable link that says “(x) other reviews that are not currently recommended.” Click on that link and you will be able to see the reviews that have been left for your business that are caught in there filters.
Once you click on the link you will see the list of filtered reviews, it looks like this.
As you look through the filtered reviews you will obviously want to choose good reviews to free from the filter such as the examples above. Once you find a good review, simply copy and paste the first few lines of the review into Google, if you cannot find it right away, add parenthesis around the text. In this case, I selected the review above by Paul O. Do a search and click the link to the page of the person leaving a review, it will look like this:
As you will notice above, there are three buttons below the review, useful, funny and cool. According to Yelp’s explanation of its review software, the company aims to show “useful” reviews. See where this is going yet?
Getting “Votes” for Positive Reviews
In order to get your votes released from the filter, you will need to get people to vote your review as “useful,” and for the sake of appearing natural, a few “funny” and “cool” votes won’t hurt anything either. The issue is, you may not be able to get a bunch of random people to take the time to follow the above steps and vote for reviews other people have left for your business, not to worry, there are a few ways around that.
Regardless of how you choose to get votes for your reviews, there are three elements critical to getting them released.
1. The votes need to come from unique IP addresses
2. The votes need to be spread out over several days to look real
3. Getting some votes from people with active Yelp profiles is very helpful.
Gaming the “System”
Yelp has wreaked havoc on a lot of good small businesses, so I do not feel the least bit remorseful for telling you how to “game” its review software to help small business owners. A few weeks back while watching a webinar by Kotton Grammer, one of his associates discussed using Microworkers to get votes spread across numerous IPs, spaced across days or weeks, and even some from active Yelp users.
If you have never used Microworkers, (I hadn’t until recently) signing up is quick and painless. Head over to the site and you will see this page:
All you have to do is click the “register for free” button and fill out some brief information and your account will be setup. Take a moment to review the FAQs and guidelines and then you will be ready to create your job.
When creating your job posting, all you need to do is layout the exact steps I have mentioned above for the freelancer to follow. Since you will want unique votes, you will want to hire several people to complete this task and be sure to space it out over several days per review.
Other Options for Getting Votes
If you are not comfortable using Microworkers, you can post a very similar listing on the freelance site of your choice. Elance is one of my favorite sites to use, just be sure to review the guidelines so you do not use wording in the job description that gets your job removed from the site.
If you want to do it yourself, all you need is a VPN or tools like the internal browser in Scrapebox that will allow you to access the page from various IP addresses when leaving votes for the reviews.
There you have it, a simple strategy for getting more of your Yelp reviews out of the filter and in front of your potential customers.
Over to You…
Have you tried this before? Do you think it is wrong to manually release your reviews from the filter? Have bad Yelp reviews hurt your business? Tell me about it below!
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– This article originally appeared on Website Magazine 9/8/15, written by yours truly!