Online reviews make up a big part of a small business’s reputation, and negative reviews are the last thing most business owners want to deal with. Learning how to remove negative Yelp reviews can help recover a big part of a small business’s online reputation.
Did you know that 82% of consumers avoid engaging with a business that has a 3-star rating or lower?
A negative review on any social media platform can cause concern, but a bad review on Yelp.com can be quite harmful if not dealt with properly because it is a leading business review site.
With over 178 million unique monthly visitors across multiple devices, Yelp attracts a significant number of new and potential customers looking to do their research before engaging with a business. The last thing you want them to see is a negative review from a Yelper, casting a shadow on all the positive ratings and reviews your company has. Especially if that negative review is false and unwarranted.
Can a false negative online review be removed? The answer is yes–if it meets certain conditions and can be proven to be in violation of Yelp’s terms. Not all negative reviews are bad but if you have a case for a false negative review, you stand a chance of taking it down.
Keep reading to find out how to protect your business’s online reputation!
How Do I flag a Yelp Review to be Removed?
Flagging a review involves reporting it to Yelp’s support team by providing a valid case for removal, at which point they decide whether or not it should be taken down.
Can all negative reviews be flagged for removal on Yelp? Unfortunately, no.
Not all the negative reviews warrant flagging and/or reporting on the platform.
For example, if an unhappy customer had a bad experience with you due to poor service, he or she has a valid reason to share the experience online. In cases like these, where the customer had a genuinely negative experience, the best thing you can do is respond to the reviewer and offer a solution.
However, in cases where the review is in violation of Yelp’s terms of service and is damaging your business’s reputation in a rant, it can be flagged and reported. This applies when it is a fake Yelp review, inappropriate, or doesn’t have proof to back the claims.
Reasons Why Business Owners Can Flag Reviews for Removal
Not from a customer on record
Not covering a customer’s personal experience
Disputing another review
Posted on the wrong business page
Revealing personal details of employees
Discussing opinions on business policies
Slander, or contains profanity/hate speech
If the review in concern violates Yelp’s TOS in the ways described above, it is eligible for flagging to the Yelp moderator team. Interestingly, Yelp’s platform also consists of bots that scope out fake reviews, automatically removing them on their own accord in some instances.
It’s important to know how to report a Yelp review, and the process is pretty simple! Find the review you want to report through the Reviews section in your Yelp account, click on the three dots located in the upper righthand corner of the review itself, and click “Report Review.”
Pro-tip: You can only report a Yelp review if you’ve already claimed your business account.
How Many Flags Does it Take to Remove a Yelp Review?
There is certainly strength in numbers. If a review is flagged and reported multiple times, it can warrant a stronger case to eventually get the review removed.
However, there is no benchmark figure on the number of flags a false review requires for removal. As long as you have a valid case for requesting the removal, then even one flag will do.
The moderator team will assess the review against Yelp’s Content Guidelines and come to a decision.
How Long Does it Take for Yelp to Remove a Review After it is Flagged?
It’s natural to be anxious to hear from the Yelp team and see that negative Yelp review taken down, but the process can take up to several days.
Once you’ve flagged the review, sit back and wait to hear from the team. While you’re waiting, you also have the option to check in on the status of the flagging at any time. To do this, hover your cursor over the flag icon that will appear next to the review.
The status will appear here, showing one of two options; whether the team:
Is currently in the process of reviewing your report
Have decided not to remove the review
Regardless of this status, once the moderators have completed their evaluation, they will get in touch with you on the Yelp platform and through email to notify you of their final decision.
Don’t be disheartened if they decide not to take it down. Often, Yelp’s automation system positions the more helpful and good reviews first, allowing prospective customers to see authentic reviews and those with the most traction on the platform.
How to Earn More Yelp Reviews
The best way to build your immunity against negative reviews is by focusing your efforts on attracting positive reviews! After all, you don’t want to be getting more negative reviews than your business deserves and spend time stressing over how to take action on them. The best mindset you could adopt would be to avoid bad Yelp reviews to begin with.
Here are a few ways you can earn 5-star reviews on Yelp to outweigh the impact of the negative ones you may receive:
Provide amazing customer service: Your business’s service should be your top priority. Providing an excellent customer experience goes a long way, not just review-wise, but will also help retain more customers and boost your long-term profitability.
Encourage happy customers to leave reviews: Did you engage with a customer recently that had nothing but praise for your services? Ask them to leave you a review to help boost your online reputation! While explicitly requesting a 5-star rating is prohibited by Yelp’s guidelines, giving loyal and happy customers a nudge to spread the word on social and online review sites is completely fine.
Create social marketing campaigns: If you’ve accumulated many positive testimonials, you can use them as a starting point for your next digital marketing campaign. Whether it be through email or SMS marketing, or Facebook ads, carrying out review-based campaigns can boost your chances of attracting more good ones.
Online Review Management Made Easy
Staying on top of your business’s online reviews is essential to ensure your brand’s integrity and success.
Consumer perceptions can be incredibly volatile and very easily influenced by what they see online. Even if a business has several positive customer testimonials, just a handful of negative reviews can prevent a prospective customer from engaging.
In fact, just one negative review is enough for 35% of consumers to go by when they decide not to purchase a product or service.
Keeping track of all these reviews on platforms like Yelp, Facebook, and Google can be time-consuming. This is where hiring professional help can make a difference.
Signpost’s review management software is designed to optimize your business’s online reviews and protect your business’s reputation so that you gain more exposure, attract more customers, and respond most efficiently and proactively to all reviews (both positive and negative!).
If you want to focus on other value-add aspects of your business, then consider adopting a review management service.