How to Clean Up Your Yelp Reputation

Dec 10, 2013

yelp reputationYelp is a great resource for businesses. But it’s important to maintain a good reputation online, and how you behave on Yelp can make or break your public image. Sometimes, people leave bad feedback, and while you have to be honest in your business practices, you also need to take care of your business name. If you get poor reviews or hateful remarks, follow the “dos and don’ts” below to professionally handle the situation and cast your business in a good light.

Don’t Engage in Arguments With Critics

Don’t fight fire with fire, especially where online conversations are concerned. If you get mean comments, it usually just makes the person posting them look bad, while engaging in an argument makes you look unprofessional and immature, and it may also make others wonder if your critic may have been right. Never post argumentative responses, even if you know you’re right. Any negative comments you make will further damage your reputation.

Don’t Threaten to (or Actually) Sue

Even if an attorney tells you that you have a defamation or slander case, don’t engage in a lawsuit unless the situation is very extreme. Companies that sue for these types of things are often looked down upon by others. Who wants to do business with a company who sues their customers for leaving negative feedback? Keep the situation online and out of court.

Do Understand How Yelp Works

Yelp allows anonymity, and psychologists say this encourages people to vent and act in ways they normally wouldn’t. Since Yelp is often a place where negative and baseless comments are thrown around (and since most of those using Yelp know this), you can’t take every comment personally. Instead, understand the tools Yelp gives you as a business owner and use them to your advantage.

Do Claim Your Business on Yelp

Similar to Manta, you can claim your business page on Yelp, and you should. Even if your page is full of negative feedback, you should still claim it because it gives you more control over the situation. It also allows you to respond professionally to your critics, and it shows you care about your business and your customers, where an abandoned Yelp page shows the opposite.

Do Encourage Feedback

Encourage positive feedback by offering discounts or coupons to those willing to rate your business on Yelp. Don’t insist on positive feedback; if you’re giving someone a deal, they’ll likely post positive remarks anyway. Also, regulars are more likely to take you up on the offer, and since they come back frequently, chances are they like your business. Never pay for fake reviews; this is unethical and will kill your SEO.

Responding professionally to your critics by apologizing, offering discounts, giving “second chance coupons” or freebies, and thanking them for their feedback is the best way to make your business (and you) look good in the eyes of others. It might even win back some critics. Be kind, and do what you can to control the online reputation of your business.