How to Get a Yelp Review to Stick


If you are a business owner, and you don’t know about Yelp, then read my blog post on Yelp business pages to get yourself up to speed. If you do have Yelp page, then you know that they are strict on what reviews they consider legitimate. Yelp will not disclose any details of their review filter guidelines, so what I’m about to tell you is all theory, but my assumptions have been correct way more often than not.

Regardless of whether a review is legitimate or not, if you are a Yelp user on the consumer side, your review will get filtered if:

You are not an active user

Yelp wants active participants, so if you have no friends and only one or two reviews, then the reviews are going to get filtered. This is true regardless if you are paying Yelp or not, and this is true regardless if the review is positive or negative. I’ve had web design and SEO clients freak out when they received a negative review on their Yelp Business Page.

Often times, these negative reviews come from a person who has left one or two reviews and has no friends. I always tell them to give it a day or two before doing anything because the review will get filtered, and I’m right most of the time. If they have only left one or two reviews, then that means they are not actively using the website. Sometimes, I am wrong, but again, what I’m saying in this blog post is all theory.

Take a look at the following screenshot of a business with a free Yelp business listing. Pay attention to the left side with the user information, and your eyes are not failing you. The review text is blurred on purpose.

Yelp Filtered Reviews Screenshot

You’ll see in this screenshot that each one of these users had left only one review. In order for a Yelp user’s review to stick, they need to make friends, be active with reviews, or both. They may even need to use their app to check in to places. A review from a user who has left only one or two reviews may stick in the beginning, but those reviews will get filtered if the user stops using Yelp.

On the bright side, a person’s review can actually come out of the unrecommended reviews pile if they later decide to be active on Yelp. I’ve seen this happen on the Mr. Technique Yelp business page.

You Left a Review and Logged in to that Business’ Yelp Page’s Admin Area

If you manage a Yelp business page, and you leave a review for that business, your review will get filtered. This is to prevent reviews from being shown that came from the business owner, it’s staff, or anybody working on behalf of the business. I’ve witnessed this a few times.

Personally, I’m pretty active on Yelp, and I left a review a few years ago for a chiropractor in the Atlanta area. The chiropractor was also my friend, and I regularly went to his office. That chiropractor later told me that he got some business from someone because of my review. He became a client of mine shortly after.

One of the many Local SEO Services that I provide to my clients is set up or claim their Yelp business page. Claiming a Yelp business page allows you to add details to it such as a website URL, hours of operation, phone number, and detailed description. A Yelp listing will provide a relevant backlink to a business’ website. As soon as I claimed my client’s Yelp business page, my awesome review that I left for that chiropractor went straight to the filtered review bin. Regardless of whether the review was legitimate or not, Yelp now knew that I had an affiliation to the business.

So, for those of you who provide Local SEO or Reputation Management services and want to leave a legitimate review that will pass Yelp’s filter, don’t claim or log in in to your client’s Yelp business page admin area. Yelp tracks your IP address, and if you log in, Yelp will know that you are affiliated with that business.


  1. Lori Newman on January 26, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    Aha! Great article. Actually that is exactly what happened to me. I created a yelp account for a client and they went to leave me a legitimate review and it went to the unfiltered review bin. That explains it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Tom Nguyen on January 29, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    You’re welcome, Lori. Thanks for reading!

  3. Victor on March 1, 2017 at 6:49 pm

    i think you meant to say “filtered reviews” not unfiltered

  4. Tom Nguyen on March 1, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    You’re right. Thanks for pointing that error to me. I corrected it.

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