The best way for small business owners to gain traction for website leads and conversions is through positive reviews on trusted review sites such as Yelp, Google Plus and Angie’s list. One of the leading review sites is Yelp, and having a Yelp page is highly beneficial for most small businesses.

The issue with Yelp is that they have a filter system that removes legitimate reviews and puts them in the “Reviews that are not currently recommended” at the very bottom of the page. I am going to give you a simple checklist to have your customers follow. Below are my recommendations on how to avoid the Yelp filter:

1. Connect your Facebook profile with Yelp

Yelp makes connecting your Facebook profile to your Yelp page very easy. With just a click of a button your identity is confirmed. This is one of the best ways you can prevent reviews from being filtered. Connecting your Yelp profile with Facebook adds credibility to your profile. It also makes completing your profile very easy because it automatically uploads a profile image, contact and user login information.

2. Add a Profile Picture

If you don’t have a profile picture or have an incomplete profile, you are more likely to be filtered. For those that don’t have a Facebook profile this is a necessary step to take. The profile photo does not have to be a professional headshot, you can choose any photo that you like.

3. It’s Your First Review

Your first review is very likely to be filtered, so encourage your customers to leave more than one review on Yelp. This is kind of a tricky subject to broach with your customers, and it’s easiest to follow up with the already filtered reviewers and encourage them to follow these steps. At the very least, suggest that they connect their Facebook profile to their Yelp account.

4. Add Some Friends

You are also more likely to be filtered if you don’t have any “friends’ on the site. So go out and add some friends! It is very likely that you already have friends using Yelp.

5. The Review is Strongly Slanted Towards a Positive or Negative Position

This may be a factor if it’s a one line review or a very vague review about how great your business is. People generally don’t care for those types of reviews anyway. People want to know how their problem might be solved with your service and if it’s a high quality service. I always recommend telling your customers to leave a detailed, honest review that identifies the problem the business solved for them. Also, ask them to use one or two keywords that you want to be found in search results with (For example: Seattle Chiropractor).

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