It is the intention of this article to explain to you not only why you shouldn’t purchase your business’s Yelp reviews, but to furthermore convince you that it is counterproductive to the long-term business health.
Also, it is important that you know that the purchase of reviews is illegal, punishable by several years in prison, not to mention stiff fines.
Follow along and learn how avoiding paid reviews might actually be the key to gaining the following you desire.
What is Yelp?
First things first. Just what is Yelp, anyway? Yelp is one of a number of Internet sites that provides reliable local business reviews for the benefit of consumers. Similar sites would include Facebook Marketplace and Angie’s List.
However, Yelp is in a class by itself when it comes to consumer trust.
Nobody Gets Away with Fake Yelp Reviews
Yelp has legendarily strict standards and a secret algorithm that ferrets out fake reviews with unerring accuracy. People know that honest reviews are Yelp’s passion and the primary part of its business model and brand.
As a result, they trust Yelp’s recommendations without reservation. A good reputation on Yelp is a good reputation indeed.
Paid Reviews Will Not Be Seen
Nobody knows just how it is that Yelp is able to determine false reviews, but it does. It generally takes anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days for Yelp to hide your reviews from public view.
Yelp has paid employees who monitor the Internet for chatter and names of persons who buy and sell fake Yelp reviews. With so little chance of beating their system, why take the chance?
There could be any number of consequences for purchasing paid reviews, and all of them are serious. Here is one of the least offensive: Yelp shames those who engage in what they consider cheating by placing a large red consumer alert on their listing for three months.
This is a long-enough period of time to ensure that vast numbers of a business’ clients and potential customers learn of its attempt to defraud the public.
This tells them that the person running the business is willing to compromise their honesty. Not the message with which one wishes to be branded.
At the other end of the spectrum is the very real possibility of legal consequences as the result of buying reviews. One day a representative from the Federal Trade Commission is likely to come calling and he will wish to discuss the business’s acquisition of reviews.
A business is accountable for its actions much like it is accountable to the IRS. Dealing with either organization probably isn’t anything to be sought after or encouraged.
Why Fight Yelp?
Yelp is the most trusted review site on the Internet today. There is no reason for any business to fight with Yelp. Every established business in existence should want to have Yelp as a trusted friend.
Yelp is is 100% committed to providing real business reviews. Simply accept that and figure out how your business can use Yelp to reach its full potential. Work with Yelp, not against it.
Earn Accolades the Old-Fashioned Way
Yelp has this pursuit of accurate, honest reviews at the heart of its business model. Make the business in question the best business in its class, in the state area, or even in the world! Set high standards and allow it to flourish. Give what can’t be purchased: sincerity.
Provide outrageous customer service by treating clients with the utmost respect. See them as people, as human beings, and not as walking wallets. Ponder ways that the business can add real value to customer lives.
You may want to review our post How To Get Google Reviews for more ideas. These same strategies can apply to Yelp, too.
Engage with Customers
It goes without saying that all businesses, and particularly niche businesses, know the value of an engaged customer. It is certainly within the boundaries of legality and propriety to ask the people who have used a business’s services or purchased its wares clients to help you improve by leaving their honest opinion of the goods and services you provide in the form of a review.
Honest Reviews Help Businesses Improve
Do not be dismayed if all of the reviews that are received are not positive. Each review provides an opportunity for the business to relate to its clients and potential clients.
When browsing potential clients see this interaction taking place they tend to be reassured by the business’s responsive presence. Most people generally understand that no business is ever perfect.
However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it when they see one that makes the attempt.
Use Multiple Platforms
While it is true that Yelp is revered in the online review world, it is by no means the only place that the public looks for reliable reviews. Some people haven’t even heard of Yelp, but instead go to Google or another search engine when they want to find out what others rated a business, or perhaps to Angie’s List.
Others get the majority of their reviews from Facebook and various other forms of social media. All of these people are potential clients, so make sure you have a landing page wherever potential clients congregate.
Businesses should be adequately represented in all such on-line venues if they are to maximize their potential.
Try Survey Software
Presently, there exists automated software that is programmed to survey your clients for you and to then send them to appropriate review sites where they can truthfully relate their experiences.
There is nothing wrong with asking clients about their experiences. However, there is a great deal wrong with paying people to post only positive experiences. If the business is thriving, the number of positive responses from the public will be high. Many people intend to write reviews, but get busy and forget.
Survey software, such as our own Review Magic, is one way of gently reminding people to share their impressions while their memories are still fresh and clear.