Is Yelp Reliable: Exploring the What, Why, and How of Yelp

Marketing 19 minute read 27th July 2023

Have you ever wondered why some businesses get so many customers from review sites? That’s because people want to know other people’s experiences before spending money. One of the most popular platforms they go to is Yelp. But the question is: Is Yelp reliable? Well, the answer is yes and no.

Many people have raised concerns about whether the reviews on Yelp are trustworthy. It’s not uncommon for businesses to pay people to write a lovely review. Or ask their friends and family for a few kind words.

This raises questions. But don’t worry. This article explores various angles of the question, “Is Yelp reliable?” You will also learn the what, why, and how of Yelp and its advertising.

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From Hype to Helpfulness: What Is Yelp Review?

Before judging Yelp’s reliability, let’s answer, “What is Yelp review?” Yelp is a platform where people can leave opinions about local businesses. They help others decide which company they want to do business with. Getting positive reviews on Yelp can help you get more customers in no time.

However, while many people trust this platform, some ask, “Is Yelp reliable?”

This question is entirely understandable. After all, if you’re spending money based on other people’s reviews, you need to know if they’re reliable! To answer this question, let’s first understand how Yelp’s system works.

Internal Review software is Yelp’s special program that checks all the reviews people post on the platform. It sees how long the person has been using Yelp, how active they are, and what Yelp knows about them.

Moreover, the software uses unique algorithms. They find and remove reviews that seem fake and not trustworthy.

After checking, Yelp decides which reviews are the best and most reliable. A shocking fact: it filters out 22% of reviews as “not recommended.” It hides these reviews, and only people who dig around the page can find them.

The rest of the 78% of reviews appear at the front. This means Yelp trusts that these reviews are reliable and come from real people.

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Is Yelp Reliable With Its Glowing List of Pros?

Answering “Is Yelp reliable?” is impossible without weighing Yelp’s pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros.

Firstly, people trust Yelp because it’s a popular local review site. On this platform, people can find tons of reviews about businesses. They rely on it to get information and make intelligent choices about where to go and what to do.

Secondly, Yelp focuses on local businesses. This gives a great advantage to restaurants and hotels, which can get many local customers from Yelp. However, more than just the hospitality business can benefit from Yelp. People can find other companies, too, such as clothing, art, automotive, etc.

Moreover, it is easy to use. There are no complex questions or stages to the review process. This ease encourages people to review businesses and leave their opinions.

And lastly, if your business is on Yelp, your business will show up on Google Maps more frequently. This is because Google considers reviews and ratings when ranking search results. Also, Yelp has a high domain authority which can increase your business’s visibility.

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Is Yelp Reliable? Because the List of Cons Isn’t Short Either!

While Yelp has many advantages, looking at its cons is also essential to answer, “Is Yelp reliable?” Let’s explore those.

As mentioned earlier, Yelp filters and hides 22% of reviews. These are not always fake reviews. The algorithm isn’t human, and it makes mistakes.

In Yelp’s case, it makes a lot of errors! Many people complain that the Yelp algorithm filtered their genuine, positive reviews. This is a significant downside of Yelp.

Moreover, online reviews on Yelp are not always trustworthy. A study found up to 20% of Yelp reviews are fake, especially for restaurants.

“But what if I don’t claim my business? The fake, negative reviews cannot hurt me then.” If this is your thinking, you’ve got another thing coming. Because even if you don’t claim your business, people can still leave reviews, and they will show up!

The last con is more about advertising than reviews. Many people claim that Yelp takes part in aggressive advertising. It pushes people to buy its higher subscriptions to make the most out of their Yelp listing.

But these subscriptions are expensive. Also, there is no guarantee of your business’s success on Yelp, even after spending a lot of money.

Separating Fact From Fiction: How Reliable Is Yelp?

Remember we mentioned that 20% of Yelp reviews are fake? Well, then, how reliable is Yelp? The following sections will discuss facts to help you uncover the truth about “Is Yelp reliable?”

We’ll first discuss two reasons why Yelp is reliable and one reason why it may not. But first, let’s see why people post fake reviews about a company.

There are five reasons for this:

  1. A company wants to defame its competitors.
  2. Customers want to trade reviews for discounts and incentives.
  3. Companies want to make themselves look good.
  4. Internet trolls wish to have some evil fun.
  5. Unhappy customers are taking revenge by posting multiple bad reviews.

You can control the second and third reasons. But don’t worry; there are ways to deal with the first, fourth, and fifth reasons. Here’s how.

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Is Yelp Reliable Fact#1: You Can Kick Out the Pretenders

The fact that you can stop false reviews can help answer, “Is Yelp reliable?” with a sound yes. Yelp has unique algorithms to detect and remove fake reviews.

However, if you spot a defaming or fake review on your page, you can flag or report it. If the review is fake, Yelp will remove it.

But only if the review violates its Terms of Service (TOS) or Content Guidelines. There is a similar policy for removing fake reviews on Google as well. But how can you spot fake reviews?

Many reviews from the same person posted at the same time might be a sign that something is not right. Also, if a review seems too good or bad, it could be fake.

When you find such reviews on Yelp, you can use the “Flag” feature to report them. While flagging a review, explain why you think it’s fake. Then, Yelp will decide if they should remove it. Sometimes, though, Yelp might not remove the review if they don’t think it’s fake.

In this case, your best bet would be to respond to the review. Your strategy here should be the same as when responding to a genuine negative review.

Is Yelp Reliable Fact #2: Yelp Doesn’t Take Bribes

You cannot pay Yelp to remove negative reviews. This is another fact that can help you decide if Yelp is reliable or not. There have been various claims that Yelp favors companies that advertise with it. But there is no truth in these claims.

There have also been rumors that reputation management companies can pay Yelp to remove negative reviews. Again, this is not true. A review removal service cannot do much if the negative review is genuine.

Yelp will only remove reviews if it thinks they are fake, misleading, or violate its terms.

Moreover, you can’t buy positive reviews to display on your Yelp profile. Do you want to know why? Because if Yelp catches you buying reviews, it will let the viewer know by displaying a message on your page. That’s even worse than a negative review!

Is Yelp Reliable Fact #3: But Nothing Is Perfect

While fake review removal and strict guidelines contribute to the platform’s reliability, things aren’t perfect. What if the fake reviewers bypass the algorithm? What if the defaming review looks genuine?

You were searching for the answer to “Is Yelp reliable?” and learned the signs of false reviews. Well, unethical reviewers can find the signs too! They can easily see what is unacceptable and avoid that when writing the review.

This will make Yelp’s algorithm think the feedback is genuine and won’t take it down.

Not only that, but people see the star ratings first. While most people ignore the negative review if the company solves it, it is only true for review readers. Most people look at the star rating without reading reviews. This is especially true for businesses with low star ratings.

This means you won’t be able to prove your innocence and dedication to these people.

Moreover, Yelp has a PPC program where you can pay to show higher in search results. But it doesn’t mean the top businesses are always the best. They just paid to be more visible. This puts a dent in Yelp’s reliability.

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Is Yelp Reliable: How To Manage Your Reputation on Yelp

While the answer to “Is Yelp reliable?” is not always positive, you can attempt to improve your image. To build a good reputation on Yelp, you need to get more reviews for your business. However, it’s not just about reviews. It’s also about showing trustworthiness.

Here are some tips for Yelp reputation management:

  1. Happy Customers: The best way to get more reviews is to make your customers happy. When people are satisfied with your business, they are likely to leave a positive review. And often, you don’t even have to remind them!
  2. Store Signage: Place small cards with Yelp logos and fun messages in your establishment. Let your customers know that you are on Yelp. This will act as an encouragement for feedback without actually asking!
  3. Make it Easy: Add links and badges to your website, social media pages, and email newsletters. This way, people can easily find your Yelp page and leave reviews.
  4. Share Positive Reviews: Show off the good reviews from your customers on social media. This not only gives them recognition but also encourages others to leave reviews too.
  5. Join the Community: Write reviews for businesses you genuinely like and interact with other Yelp users.
  6. Keep Learning: Negative reviews can be helpful. Take the time to understand them and see where your business can improve. Respond to them with understanding and kindness.
  7. Use Humor Wisely: Sometimes, humor can be a good way to respond to negative reviews. But always ensure it’s respectful and doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Know When to Respond: Responding to negative and positive reviews is important. Thank people for their positive reviews. If a negative review seems genuine, address the issue and offer a solution. If you think a review is fake, flag it and wait for the right time to respond calmly.

Gem or Gamble: Is Yelp Good for Advertising?

After discussing its reliability, let’s explore “Is Yelp good for advertising?”. Well, it can be. But it depends on your industry. First, let’s look at how Yelp charges for advertising.

As mentioned, you can run PPC ads on Yelp. This means you must pay Yelp every time a person clicks on the ad. The price varies from industry to industry. For example, companies in the hospitality industry have to pay less than the ones in law.

Why the difference? Because some industries are more competitive than others. Also, people don’t search for all types of companies on Yelp. The secret to solving this is knowing your customers. Think about where your customers would go to find a business like yours.

However, even if the answer is Yelp, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Enhance your presence on other review platforms and social media as well.

That way, you won’t have to worry too much about whether Yelp is reliable. You would have other places to back you.

With that said, let’s discuss some advantages of advertising on Yelp. Firstly, it offers many free and helpful features for small businesses. The best part, there’s no cancellation fee if you want to discontinue the paid features.

Moreover, how much you spend daily on Yelp ads is your call, and creating the ad is easy.

However, remember that these ads are ineffective for all businesses and can be expensive.

Moreover, Yelp doesn’t let you add a location to your ad. So there’s a chance you’ll get queries from people who you can’t sell to.

Furthermore, it has sketchy analytics you cannot track using other software. So, weigh things and research your industry before advertising on Yelp.

Is Yelp Reliable, or Should You Consider Other Review Sites as Well?

Overall, the answer to “Is Yelp reliable?” varies from industry to industry. Various restaurants have had fake reviews. But they’re not the only ones facing this issue.

Yelp indeed has rigorous algorithms to filter reviews. But sometimes genuine reviews also become a victim of this filtering. So the key here is to research your industry. Look for similar businesses on Yelp and study their reviews.

Are there many fake, overly negative reviews? How many people are searching for a business like yours? Also, check the reviewer profile. Then decide about Yelp’s reliability for your niche and advertise on it.

However, you should also consider having a presence on other review sites. These include Google, Tripadvisor, and more. This way, if you face the wrath of fakers on one platform, your reputation will still be recoverable.

If you want to improve your online reputation and get more reviews, try out Beambox. It will help you automate marketing tasks, learn about your customers, and much more. Join 12000 businesses that are using Beambox to scale their operations. Try it for free today!

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