It can be painful when fake Yelp reviews publicly smear your reputation. And it’s futile to deny that in today’s interconnected digital world, online reviews can simply make or break a business. An honest and transparent realtor can be hurt by these reviews.
According to a recent study, 20% of Yelp reviews are fake. Given that a one-star bump in reviews can make business revenue soar by 5% to 9%, it’s obvious that even a few fake negative reviews can impact your bottomline.
Since Yelp hosts reviews from a diverse range of businesses you are bound to get positive, negative and fake reviews. What hurts businesses the most is fake reviews.
As a realtor, you can play a part in removing fake Yelp reviews from the sea of positive and negative ones. Check out how:
1) Check the profile picture of reviewer:
The profile picture reveals a lot about the person. Genuine profile pictures probably don’t contain animal pictures. Also, chances are in most cases of fake reviews that there will be no profile picture.
2) Check friends and reviews of the person posting the review:
Most fake profiles will have 1 or 2 friends — maybe none. The review count will also be on the low side.
3) Go through their reviews:
You will encounter vague sentences like ‘Pathetic service, will never go back there”, “Waitress / Manager shouted at me,” etc. Generally, when people post reviews for the service they actually received at a restaurant or service, they try to include price, ambiance and other details.
So, now that you’ve starting being able to spot fake reviews, what’s next? Your approach should be:
Setting up a Yelp business page
If you have never claimed your business on Yelp, then do so now. For this, log onto Yelp’s business account website and search for your business name. Create an account with name and email. For verification purposes, Yelp will send an automated call on the listed business phone number. After creating the account, you will be routed to a page showing a “Call Me Now” button, click on it when you are able to answer the business phone line. Upon answering, you will be prompted to enter the verification code that is being displayed on the page. Enter the code and your business is verified.
Remove fake yelp reviews
Now log into your Yelp account and on the left side you will be able to see a menu tab. Navigate to “Reviews,” which will pull up a list of your reviews. This shows both “Yelp Recommended” and “Not Recommended” reviews. Go with “Recommended Reviews first” as these are the ones that make up your review score shown in the Google search results.
Next, take a hard look at all the remaining reviews and try identifying the fake ones that don’t adhere to or violate Yelp guidelines. The most important part is identifying what section of the guidelines is violated by the review related to false/irrelevant reviews, vulgar language, and non-personal experience with the business. After identifying an applicable reason, check the flag icon on the right side of the review to “Report the Review.”
You will be asked why you want to report the review, so select the appropriate category and provide details. Try to quote the content guidelines and pinpoint specific language in the review. Upon submission, you will receive an acknowledgment email. Now, the ball is in Yelp’s court. If they agree with your request, they will remove the fake yelp reviews within 72 hours.
You may also want to read Why buying Google reviews is a bad idea
Managing online reputation and reviews is an ongoing task. But BirdEye can help with every step in the process, from managing online presence, dealing with fake yelp reviews to review monitoring, review generation to review management. If you want to see how all this can be done seamlessly and without frustration, check out a demo.