Skip to content

Why Does Yelp Filter Reviews? 5 Reasons and What Your Business Can Do


What is Yelp? is a user review platform that has transformed the way people search for businesses. It also has a surprising amount of power over your business’s online reputation, and that’s why every small and local business needs to understand how it works.

In fact, 92% of customers that use Yelp make a purchase or engage with the business for a service after using the platform. Studies have also shown that businesses with higher ratings on Yelp and a greater number of reviews drive more revenue, with an increase of 1-2% for 5-star reviews and ratings.

So, if your business is raking in amazing reviews, it’s time to show them off. 

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why Yelp might filter a review of your business on your Yelp page, and what local and small business owners can do to make the best of their online presence on the platform. 

Signpost is used by thousands of small service businesses to build a trusted reputation online with reviews. Let us show you how our review software works.

Why is Yelp Filtering My Business’s Reviews?

Reviews are powerful. It is not a stretch to say that reviews have the power to make or break a business, and it is for this reason that Yelp has implemented an algorithm designed to filter out any review that it believes is not credible.

So let’s dive into the main reasons why Yelp filters out reviews through its filtering system. 

1. The Yelper used inappropriate or offensive language.

The most common reason reviews are filtered is when the reviewer uses inappropriate or offensive language. For example, a user might write a review that threatens violence against your business or its employees (or another user), or includes defamatory language.


Yelp’s filtering process also takes into account whether the review appears to violate Yelp’s Community Guidelines and/or Terms of Service. Online reviews that mislead others about a business, have inappropriate content, or violate other policies may be removed and the user may be prohibited from further writing on Yelp.

2. The Yelper is brand new or his or her profile has no information.

The Yelp algorithm is designed to show the most useful and reliable content to its users, but in the process, it can display negative reviews from new users, or from those whose Yelp profile information does not match up with the review itself.

This is an example of a well-established reviewer who even has the Elite tag on Yelp. 


Such individuals might sign up just to review your business and won’t provide any other content to the site. Some might even doubt if the Yelp account is a real person or not. The reason why Yelp does this is to keep scammers from writing fake reviews on their site and hurting local businesses with false Yelp ratings.


3. The review is overly negative or positive.

Yelp often takes steps to ensure the reviews are posted by actual customers, not family or friends of employees or others with vested interests in the business. In doing so, Yelp can also filter out overly great reviews if they seem suspicious, or overly negative reviews if they appear to be written by someone with an ax to grind. 


The purpose of filtering is to make sure that business owners don’t receive excessive numbers of positive or negative star ratings, which can make it difficult for consumers to gain an overall understanding of what the business offers.


4. The review is too short to help other Yelpers.

An effective review on a business page is one that: 


  • Describes the experience well enough that people who are similar to the writer know whether they’ll like it.

  • Provides constructive views on what’s positive or negative about the business.

  • Is long enough to do both of these things.

If it doesn’t meet these criteria, then it’s not helping the Yelp community decide which businesses to patronize. 

This is an example of a good, thorough review. 


A review is only useful to other users if it provides information that helps them make a decision about whether they want to visit the business. It should also be long enough so that someone reading the review can get useful information.


Thus Yelp’s review filter filters out short, non-constructive customer reviews.


5. The review violates Yelp’s guidelines.

Yelp states that it has a strict policy against reviews that are fake or on behalf of the company itself. Yelp also states that all reviews must be first-hand experiences. 


The company has a habit of filtering out any reviews that are in violation of these guidelines

Other guidelines include reviews posted by business owners or employees, reviews that contain plagiarism or promotional content, and if it contains threats, profanity, or personal insults. 


Here’s What Your Business Can Do

Yelp’s filtered reviews are meant to provide an all-around objective view of a business and remove any potential biases. If your business is looking to make the best of a review, here’s what you can do: 


Never bribe a customer to leave a review 

Don’t bribe your customers to leave a positive review of your services. Even if it is just a free glass of lemonade at the end of the summer, it still looks bad on the part of the customer who took the bribe and, if it becomes public, it could forever tarnish your reputation.


Don’t pay for fake positive reviews

For small businesses in particular, online ratings are a form of social media. It is unethical to pay for fake reviews on Yelp. Make sure the representation of your business online is accurate and honest through legitimate reviews. 


Refrain from asking friends and family to create an account to post a review

Businesses sometimes try to encourage online feedback by asking their Yelp friends and family to post positive reviews. In this case, reviews are written by people who have a conflict of interest, and they can be inaccurate or misleading. These reviews aren’t helpful because they don’t give an accurate representation of your business’s quality. Rather than giving extra weight to these types of reviews, don’t ask for them and discourage them from being written in the first place.


Ask established Yelpers (check their profiles)

Instead of asking customers to create an account purely for the sake of leaving a review on your site, check in with established Yelpers in your community and ask them to write reviews. This will reduce the chances of genuine Yelp reviews being filtered out.


Request a review after your service, rather than while a customer is with you

Most of the time, customers who have a problem will tell you while they are still there. That is your opportunity to do something about it. If you take care of them then, they are much more likely to give you a good review after the service is done. For example, if you’re a plumber, wait for honest feedback from your customers until after you’ve fixed their pipes and leaks, then ask for a real review.


Signpost Can Help Generate and Manage Your Yelp Reviews

Five-star reviews can be good for business. A negative one can damage the reputation and impact SEO. 


Yelp reviews are a powerful search engine ranking factor, and they’re also important for online reputation management. They are a great way to show that you care about your customers. 


Many review companies fall short when it comes to helping local businesses manage its Yelp reviews. Luckily, Signpost is here to help. Try our demo to take your Yelp reviews to the next level.

Related Articles

How to Change Your Name on Yelp, or Add a Nickname

Yelp is a popular online review and social networking service that allows people to share their experiences with local businesses, as well as rate them.

Why Customer Reviews Can't Be an Afterthought (PCA)

If you promote your business on Yelp, Google, Facebook, or HomeAdvisor, you probably ask for customer reviews to fill out your business profile. Nice to have more reviews, right? It may have been a nice…

Gain More Positive Online Reviews for Your Roofing Business

How Can My Roofing Business Benefit from Online Reviews?  Did you know that 72% of customers say that seeing a positive review helps improve their trust in a local business?   As a local business,…