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When Writing A 5-Star Yelp Review Is A Bad Idea


Writing a glowing review is a good thing, right? Well, not if you're doing it like this...

Yelp is one of the most popular and trusted reviewing sites in the world - 145 million people visit the site every month, and there are over 121 million reviews (and counting!) Writing a positive Yelp review when you've had a great experience  is a very good way of helping a business out, but there is a catch.
As Yelp themselves put it, "not all reviews are created equal" — and all reviews submitted are automatically scanned, then evaluated based on quality, reliability and user activity.

Basically, your glowing, positive review may not be taken into account at all if you make a few critical mistakes:

don't make tehse mistakes

You don't have a complete profile.
Take the time to upload a photo, and fill out a little information about who you are and what you like to eat! This will help others trust and appreciate your review.

You write only positive reviews
Perhaps you really do just love every single restaurant you go to, but unfortunately, if you only post positive reviews, you diminish the chance of your reviews being taken seriously. Writing about a range of experiences (good and bad) proves that you are a real person, with a critical and discerning eye.

The review doesn't focus on your experience
Stick to what you know: write about your experience, not your friends, nor your sister who visited three weeks ago but doesn't have a Yelp account. By all means write about practical issues such as parking access and opening hours, but don't make that the focus of your review either. Tell a story, and your review will be more likely to get through!

The review looks paid-for, or fake
Yelp have very sharp eyes and can detect paid-for positive reviews a mile away. They take into account a lot of different factors when checking for this, but one thing that can trigger their filters is too much fake-sounding enthusiasm or hyperbole. "The steak was perfeclty cooked and delicious" is fine "This is the best steak in the universe! You won't believe how good it is until you go there!" sounds like paid advertising.

You appear to be affiliated with the business
It's great that your friend Joe has just opened up a new restaurant, but if you really want to help him with a poitive review, refrain from mentioning your friendship. If it appears you are biased in any way (or even an employee of the company) your review will not be taken into account in the final ranking.

do write this

According to Yelp, here are some other factors that can prevent your review from being read include:

The reviewer:

  • does not have a complete profile
  • does not have social integration
  • does not have Yelp friends

The review itself:

  • was submitted from an IP located somewhere else
  • is a response to a current event in the news
  • is primarily disputing another Yelper’s review
  • is about a different business
  • appears to be plagiarized from another source
  • contains private information about employees or patrons

So how can you make sure your reviews are being read and enjoyed?

Use Yelp frequently and write well considered, thoughtful reviews with the intention of helping other customers to choose (or avoid) an establishment. Don't make it personal, make sure the review reflects your personal experience, and doesn't stray too much into speculation or exaggeration. Be sure to including helpful tips, and describing why you would visit the establishment again are extra helpful.

Happy reviewing!

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