In a recent email that went out to thousands of small to medium-sized business owners, Yelp cracked down on businesses asking customers for reviews. The email warned companies that review solicitation creates a biased ranking system, ultimately harming consumers and other businesses. Yelp has always spoken out against asking for reviews, but now they’re taking action—businesses with a system for soliciting reviews may be penalized with lower search rankings on Yelp.

Why is Yelp So Concerned About Review Solicitation?

As one of the most prominent review platforms, Yelp places a great deal of importance on maintaining the integrity of the reviews that appear on their site. Their business’s reputation relies on consumers trusting them as a source for real and reliable reviews. Without this trust, usage will decline, and in turn, so will the company’s value.

Yelp wants to maintain its reputation, and in the process, they have made it more difficult for you to uphold your own’s business’s value. But don’t worry—your business can still thrive. Here’s what you should be doing in response to Yelp’s recent announcement.

Adjust Your Review Request Strategy

Yelp may have a system for tracking mass review solicitation, but they can’t monitor everything you do in person. If you deliver a job, and you think your customer was pleased with your work, ask for a review in person. Tell your customer that a positive Yelp review a huge impact on your business’s performance, so you would really appreciate it if they could write a nice sentence or two about your work.

When it comes to emailing customers for reviews, it’s safer to adopt a smaller, more consistent send strategy. Instead of sending bulk email blasts to customers once a month, send to fewer customers more frequently. By requesting reviews from customers as you go, you don’t run the risk of getting 20 reviews in a day. Therefore, the likelihood that Yelp will flag your business for what they assume are unnatural reviews will decrease dramatically. 

Build Up Your Reputation on Other Review Platforms

Yelp isn’t the only review platform out there! Sites like Google, Facebook, and the BBB all contribute to a strong online reputation, so now is the time to focus your review strategy on different platforms. Your Account Manager can work with you to ensure that you develop a strong presence on other review sites.

Connect Reviews to Your Own Website

What do potential customers really care about? Stars. In Bright Local’s 2017 Consumer Review Reports, they found that 54% of consumers consider the average star rating to be the most important factor when judging a local business.

As you know, Spectrum’s reputation management system lets you gather reviews on your own website and push them into your organic search listing. This attracts more eyes (and more clicks!) right to your business’s site.

Take Charge of You Online Reputation

We don’t want to disregard the importance of Yelp—in fact, recent reports put Yelp as one of the two most trusted review sites. However, because you work with Spectrum, your business doesn’t need to think of Yelp as the sole judge of your online reputation. You’re at an advantage because you’ve been working with us to improve your web presence across the board. Your Account Manager is an expert in managing your online reputation, and will work with you to create a strategy so that your business isn’t affected by Yelp’s changing policies.