What to do if your review is not showing on Yelp


“Why is my review not showing or not recommended on Yelp?”

Here at FlipFall magazine we will cover common possible reasons why your review is not showing on Yelp and what you can do about it.

“First, where did my review go?”

If you don’t see your review on Yelp, it’s probably actually on there but not being recommended, which means it’s somewhat hidden. You can easily find out if this is the case by simply scrolling down to the end of the reviews on Yelp for the business that you reviewed, and down at the end you will see a line saying “x other reviews that are not recommended”. Click on that heading to expand it. You will probably find your review in there. Next let’s take a look at why your review is in this hidden “not recommended” group.



Why is my review not recommended?”

If your review was not recommended it is because it was caught by the automated filters from Yelp.

This does not necessarily mean there was anything wrong with your review. Yelp filters are far from perfect. Yelp has published an explanation of the reasons why Yelp filters categorize reviews as not recommended (reference 1). These are:

1. The review is overly positive or overly negative, and therefore may be less genuine.
2. It’s a fake review, many of which originate from particular IP addresses.
3. Yelp has reason to believe the review is from a friend of the business owner and therefore suggests a bias.
4. The review is real but it’s from someone who Yelp doesn’t know much about and therefore cannot recommend.

If your review doesn’t fit any of the first three categories then it’s probably the fourth one. Let’s take a look at what you can do.

How to get your review recommended on Yelp

Understandably, you’d like your review to be one of those displayed as recommended reviews for that business. And yes, there are some things you can do but you are limited. Unfortunately the Yelp automated filters cannot be manually overridden in any way (see reference 1). So you cannot request Yelp to take a look at your reviews and move them out of the not recommended list. The reason behind this is to enforce the fact that there is no “red carpet” treatment for anyone: the rules are the rules across the board. Businesses cannot pay money to ask certain reviews to be recommended or negative reviews hidden (see reference 2).

If you are a new user or if Yelp doesn’t know much about you, then there are some things you could do to get your reviews recommended. Here are some of the things you can do that will help Yelp trust your reviews more:

  • Have more friend connections on Yelp
  • Fill out your profile more completely
  • Making sure you offer sensible reviews. Be reasonable: don’t offer all 5-star or all 1-star reviews unless the business truly deserves these (many do; but hopefully this won’t be every single one of the businesses you’re reviewing!)
  • Space out your activity and your reviews a little: don’t write a whole bunch at one time and then nothing afterward.
  • Make sure your reviews have some sort of reason why you gave the rating you did. Don’t just write “Good burger joint” and nothing else.

If you think that sounds like a lot of work, then you’re right – it actually is! If your reviews are not being recommended on Yelp, you should remind yourself that this really in a sense is a failing of Yelp’s filters, and not of you or your review. It’s not really your job to jump through a whole lot of hoops after already having worked hard writing your review. However, if some of those extra steps above were things you wanted to do anyway, you should go ahead and do them because this will help your reviews have more chance of being recommended.

But think twice if you really want to put in the work. If your genuine, honest review isn’t recommended then you should see that more as Yelp’s problem, not yours. It’s not your fault: you’ve done more than enough by providing a good balanced genuine review of a business. Remind yourself that if your review is not recommended it’s probably a reflection of Yelp’s imperfect automated filter and not a bad reflection on you.

If your reviews are not being recommended on Yelp, you should remind yourself that this really in a sense is a failing of Yelp’s filters and not of you or your review. It’s not really your job to jump through a whole lot of hoops after already having worked hard on writing your review.

What could Yelp do to improve their filters

There is quite a bit Yelp could do to fix things, which they have not yet done. One of these is matching the reviewer’s IP address to the city or town in which the business is located. Another thing is looking to see if both pros and cons are listed in a review of a business. If someone is offering a review which contains both pros and cons, and the reviewer’s IP address is in the same city or town as the business being reviewed, then this is probably a genuine review that Yelp could trust. it would be very easy for Yelp to include these sorts of rules in their filters, yet they do not appear to do so, based on my experiences with their system.

Conclusion

You do have some options available to you if Yelp is not recommending your reviews. Those options include things like having more friend connections on Yelp, fuller profile information, and other actions as described above. Still, this extra work (and possible privacy concerns) may seem off-putting.

Ultimately, you will have to decide whether these actions are things that are worth the effort. If you were planning on doing those things anyway, then great – you’ll have a better chance of having your reviews be recommended, while not going out of your way.

By contrast, users who were not planning on doing those things may decide it’s not really worth the effort and that they shouldn’t have to do extra work after they had already put in time and effort into writing their review.  These users are perfectly justified in having the attitude of “If my review isn’t good enough for them as is, then Yelp is not good enough for me”, and just walking away from the extra work. Sure, their review probably won’t make it in the recommended list (unless the filters change in the future, or something like that). But at some point you have to decide if a) it’s really worth the effort and b) if it should really be your problem. Even for users who do all that extra work, there’s still no 100% guarantee of their review being moved into the recommended list.

Ultimately, Yelp’s automated filters – which are designed to help prevent fraud and which create a level playing field – don’t always get it right for every review, often being “over-zealous”. It’s a double-edged sword: the filters on the one hand create fairness since they’re applied equally across the board and cannot be manually overridden (see reference 2), but on the other hand they can wind up rejecting legitimate reviews. This article has explained some of the things you can do to help improve your chances of having your review being recommended in Yelp. Whether you feel it is worthwhile for you to do those things is up to you.

Cited sources:

1. Yelp Support Why would a review not be recommended? on the yelp-support.com website.

2. Adam Tanner Why Yelp tosses aside a quarter of all reviews July 2014 in Forbes.