Why are my real customer’s Yelp reviews hidden or filtered?

Yelp is a social networking site that focuses on allowing its members to review, rate, and share information about local businesses for free. This allows visitors to read reviews and find highly recommended local businesses.

Online Reviews have become big business. Good online reviews can increase business, while bad online reviews can hurt business.

With so much at stake for local businesses, Yelp implemented an automated filter to help combat against fake reviews.

So how can you tell if you have any hidden reviews? At the bottom of your reviews, you might see “other reviews that are not currently recommended” in grey (which we highlighted in red at the top of our banner). By clicking on that wording, you will see all your hidden reviews.

Yelp’s automated filter checks for certain things from each reviewer before the review is posted live. If the filter believes the review is fake, it will hide the review.

  1. Does the reviewer have a fully filled out profile and picture? If someone writes an online review for a business with an incomplete profile Yelp’s Filter is more likely to filter it as a fake review.
  2. Someone who only writes one review and is not active writing more reviews could be filtered. Yelp encourages its community to stay active.
  3. Unhelpful rants and raves about a business could be filtered out.
  4. If the review is short and lacks detail it could be filtered out.
  5. If the reviewer writes reviews and they aren’t local to the business it could be filtered out.
  6. If multiple reviews come from the same IP address (meaning the same computer) in a short amount of time they could be filtered out.

According to,  about 25% of Yelp’s reviews are filtered out.

It’s important to note that a number of positive online reviews are being filtered from real customers. Although there is great debate over what Yelp should do, it’s important to play by Yelp’s rules today.  Although their filtering system isn’t perfect by any means, Yelp has implemented measures to help hide what appears as fake reviews. In order to maximize Yelp’s platform, businesses need to focus on regular yelpers to help build their reputation with real reviews.

So how does a business minimize positive online reviews from being filtered?

The number one rule of thumb, always stay engaged with your reviewers.

  1. Add every reviewer as a friend. If they took the time to review your business, you should take the time to add them as a friend.
  2. Respond to every review. This shows you care about your customers and potential customers will see that.
  3. Vote on your reviews. Maybe it was Helpful, or maybe it was Funny, again the number one rule of thumb, always stay engaged with your reviewers.

Online reviews are extremely important for growing your businesses reputation, building trust, and providing transparency to your business for potential customers. Yelp acts as one of the major vehicles that can do that for your business today.  With so much at stake, it’s hard to ignore them.

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