Does Yelp Hate Car Dealers?
If you’re a car dealer who is focused on growing online reviews, you may have found it fairly easy to increase review volume on Facebook or Google. There are a number of tools and strategies for growing review volume that require little to no effort on your part. However, you may have noticed that growing reviews on Yelp is more difficult. Have you ever noticed that some reviews are hidden away in a hard-to-find “Not Recommended” section?
Unlike other review platforms, Yelp uses a recommendation software with the goal of only showing the most helpful reviews for the community. These are reviews that Yelp considers to be legitimate customer reviews that were not solicited by the dealership. Non-Recommended reviews do not count towards your Yelp rating. Yelp’s recommendation software looks for four main things.
- Conflicts of interest - i.e. reviews suspected to be written by an employee or a competitor
- Solicited reviews - i.e. reviews suspected to be written because the business owner asked. Yelp does not recommend these types of reviews as they tend to be biased. (You wouldn’t ask a disgruntled customer for a review, would you?)
- Reliability - Yelp trusts active Yelp users. Reviews written by people with full profiles, Yelp friends, and multiple reviews tend to pass the reliability test whereas reviews written by someone who just signed up for a Yelp account tend to get flagged by the system as “Not Recommended.”
- Usefulness - The software attempts to flag reviews that are sheer rants with no useful information.
You can read more about Yelp’s recommendation software here.
So if you can’t ask your customers to leave reviews on Yelp, how can you actively increase the volume of reviews on this platform? Here are a few strategic ways you can increase your chances of connecting with your customers who are active on Yelp.
1. Have salespeople find their customers on Yelp (they do this by linking their work email address book with this Yelp Find Friends link). Once they see which customers are on Yelp, identify the customers that have a history of leaving reviews. Reach out to those "regular Yelpers" to ask for a positive review.
2. Utilize the Yelp check in feature by adding a check-in offer to your account.
- Yelp is a GPS based app, so checking in on Yelp helps Yelp determine that the review is legitimate
- The customer has to check in to get the offer
- When the customer redeems the offer with you, remind them to leave a review
3. Try following those Yelpers who have left positive reviews, but are stuck in your “not recommended” section. It’s slightly possible this may make their profiles appear more realistic and shift the review into the main recommended section.
4. Include Yelp signage around the dealership, on your website, and/or in emails to your customers. A simple “Find us on Yelp'' sign, sticker, or link is a good reminder for those who are active on the platform to consider leaving a review.
By now, you may be asking yourself if that extra effort is really worth it. Maybe it would be better to focus on growing Google and Facebook reviews and ignore Yelp. You could go that route, but you would be neglecting a significant portion of the population that actively checks Yelp reviews before visiting a business. According to Review Trackers, 45.18% of consumers say they will check Yelp reviews before visiting a business. Google still ranks first with 63.6%, and Facebook comes in with less than 25%. You can give your dealership a boost from the competition by working with the Yelp community to improve your ranking for that 45%.
While it may take more effort to build a growing number of positive reviews on Yelp, it’s not impossible. With a dedicated team and the right ideas, you too can grow your Yelp reviews. If you need help increasing or monitoring your online reviews, the experts at The Moran Group can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more.