If you’re wondering how to buy Yelp reviews, check out this guide first! We discuss everything you need to know, including the risks involved.
Money can buy many things, but it can’t buy you a good reputation… at least not on Yelp’s watch.
That may seem like a shame at first glance. After all, wouldn’t things be simpler if you could pay for some positive reviews to appear on your company’s Yelp page or even give your regular customers discounts or free stuff in exchange for writing reviews? Those posts would get new people to come in, and they would be so impressed by your service that they would go home and write their own real reviews, right?
Not so fast, cowboy – it doesn’t work that way. Because while it’s possible that paying for a few Yelp reviews could go undiscovered, and the resulting reviews could help you improve your business, it’s much more likely that this strategy will cause massive and lasting damage to your reputation. Lucky for you, there’s a better way, which we’ll get to in just a minute. But first, a little more info…
How Yelp Works
With no disrespect to Facebook or Angie’s List, Yelp just may be the most trusted of all review sites. Yelp’s trustworthiness is part of what makes it so popular. The site hosts more than 224 million reviews and counting, and it’s used worldwide for all kinds of businesses.
The site caters to consumers, and its staff recognizes that people won’t value reviews if they don’t know that they can trust them. That’s why Yelp has such strict policies around fake reviews, which include those written by business employees themselves and reviews that have been bought rather than earned.
The Secret Formula
The site uses a sophisticated algorithm to analyze the reviews posted and then filters out reviews it suspects of being fake, incentivized or in any way untruthful. The site errs on the side of caution, which is why a lot of actual, real reviews end up filtered out along with fake ones.
It uses a lot of different data points to identify which reviews are fake. But Yelp doesn’t share much about how the system works, which means you can’t easily fool it. Even paying people with active Yelp profiles to write reviews may trigger a review of your page’s activity… and that can get you in deep trouble.
A Few Yelp Scenarios
So let’s say you decide to roll the dice and buy some Yelp reviews. The best-case scenario is that they’re posted to your Yelp page, and people see them. That’s unlikely, though.It’s more likely they’ll get filtered out within a few days of being posted, so customers won’t even see them. In that case, you’re out the money you spent buying those reviews and have nothing to show for it. And trust us; you’re lucky if that’s all that happens…
Because the alternative is worse. Yelp has a Consumer Alerts program that’s designed to let people know about a business’s shady dealings. If the system flags your page for false reviews, the site will post a large banner on your page informing all visitors that they don’t particularly trust you. The banner will stay in place for at least 90 days, meaning that potentially thousands of customers will see it and forever remember that you were at least suspected of trying to buy reviews.
And if that’s not bad enough, exchanging money or other incentives for reviews can actually land you in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission. It’s just not worth the risk.
Why Yelp Works
If you were thinking about paying for Yelp reviews, all of that probably sounds like bad news. It’s really not, though. It’s just a reminder of the power of Yelp and why using it wisely can improve your online reputation.
People who use Yelp frequently know about the site’s devotion to only letting real reviews from real consumers post on its pages. So they’re primed to believe and trust any reviews that they see posted on your page. All you have to do then is make sure that the reviews you’re getting there are (mostly) good ones.
Getting Good Reviews, the Right Way
If you have satisfied customers, you can take the ethical high road and still get more Yelp reviews.
But don’t put on blinders and focus solely on Yelp reviews. Yes, it’s an important review site, but so are Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, and a number of industry-specific review sites. All of these sites together make up your entire online review profile, and they all get read by your potential customers, so it’s extremely important to focus on getting reviews on a variety of sites. Use an automated system like ReputationStacker to do the hard work of getting reviews for you. It sends your customers a single-question survey and finds out who had a positive experience. Then it directs your happy customers to the review sites you choose so they can write you a review while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
It turns out that not only will this get you many more positive reviews than paying for them, but it will also cost you a lot less.
Don’t Pay For Reviews; Earn Them Instead!
Though you may be wondering how to buy Yelp reviews, by now, you probably know that that isn’t the best idea for your business or your reputation as a business owner.
There are ways that you can leverage your existing reviews for your benefit and generate new reviews for your business on Yelp.
We’ll go over a few of these ways in the following sections:
Make Customers Aware of Your Yelp Profile
It’s safe to say that the majority of your customers won’t go searching for your business on Yelp just to leave a review. Most customers simply won’t think about leaving a review, and others probably aren’t aware that you even have a Yelp page.
A great way to get more reviews without buying them is by making them more accessible to your customers.
This can be as simple as asking customers to leave a Yelp review as they leave or encouraging your employees to make Yelp the center of their parting words to customers. A simple “Thanks for stopping by! Don’t forget to leave us a review on Yelp!” is a good way to put reviews in the minds of customers.
Alternatively, you could create signs encouraging customers to leave reviews on your Yelp page. Set these signs up next to the exit so customers see them as they leave, at tables (if you’re a restaurant), at the checkout desk, or anywhere else that they can easily notice.
Address and Reward Feedback
Responding to any current feedback on your Yelp page, no matter how little there may be, can show any visitors that your main concern is a quality product (or service) and happy customers!
You can also encourage visitors to share their experiences on your Yelp page by rewarding reviews. Similar to how you’ll make customers aware of your page with signs or reminders from yourself or employees, you can also create signs for review rewards.
These offers should be enticing to customers, but not only to customers who’ll leave a 5-star review on Yelp. Offering rewards just to customers who leave 5 stars will seem disingenuous and may turn customers away from reviewing your business at all.
Instead, use general wording that applies to all of your customers. For example, “Share your experience with us on Yelp! We’d love to hear from you! Next time you visit, show us your review, and we’ll apply a 10% discount to your purchase.”
Gaining Customer Trust
As we’ve discussed, customer trust plays a huge role in getting new Yelp reviews. If it’s positive reviews you’re after; you’re going to have to gain the trust of your customers. So, how do you do that? Besides being honest and not buying Yelp reviews, you can also be attentive to the needs and opinions of your customer base.
Addressing Negative Reviews
Negative reviews on your business’s Yelp page can actually be a good thing. Constructive criticism from previous customers can shed some light on your day-to-day business operations from an outside point of view.
While not always fun to hear, criticism gives you an opportunity to support your customers better and bring in visitors. On Yelp, you have the option to respond to any feedback you’re given. Take this as an opportunity to address any downfalls on your part and make them right with the customer.
Not only will this resolve any contention between your business and the unhappy customer, but it will also show potential customers that you care about your customers having a satisfying experience.
You also want to be consistent. Customers expect products or services to be a certain way when they visit your business. Before you change the way your company operates or what you offer, consider if it will benefit and appeal to your customer base.
Staying open to the needs and wants of your customers will help generate more positive feedback on your Yelp page.
The Final Word
Use your budget to improve your business, not buy Yelp reviews. Paying for reviews (either with cash or by offering incentives to real customers) tends to backfire, thanks to Yelp’s sophisticated monitoring programs. The site identifies and filters out fake reviews and sometimes even publicly shames companies that have tried to buy reviews. Your reputation can’t survive that kind of hit, so don’t pay for reviews. An automated system like ReputationStacker is the better choice. It surveys your customers and directs the satisfied ones to the review sites of your choice, where they can write the real and positive reviews that you’ve earned the right way.