The Yelp Review Filter

Jeff Berman
November 8, 2012

I recently wrote a post discussing the importance of having a system for getting online reviews. In one section, I broke down different review sites and which ones are most important to ask for reviews on. The top two, in my opinion, are Google+ Local and Yelp.

While there are other sites, such as Avvo, that are relevant for the legal industry, Yelp and Google both play important roles in the local search ecosystem and should be prioritized in your efforts. The importance of getting reviews on your Google profile should be obvious as it impacts your local visibility in search. Yelp's importance got a boost with the release of Apple's iOS 6 and the integration of Yelp into Apple Maps.

However, a comment left on my post about online reviews made a good point about the Yelp review filter that many attorneys may not be aware of:

....For your next post you should consider talking about Yelp and their filter. It’s often not enough to get satisfied clients to post a review on Yelp because if it is their only review it WILL be filtered. You almost have to ask them to review up to 10 other businesses (restaurants, spa, health club, etc.) in order for the review to stick.

While I don't think it's a good practice to ask someone to leave a testimonial for 10 other businesses besides your own, the larger point here is to understand that legitimate reviews are susceptible to Yelp's review filter.

What Is The Yelp Review Filter?

In the following post, Yelp explains what their review filter is and how it works.

To summarize, I've pulled a few over-arching concepts about how the filter works directly from the article:

  • Reviews that reflect perfectly legitimate experiences are sometimes filtered out by the review filter's algorithmic processes.
  • Reviews are never "deleted" by the review filter; they are always shown on users' profile pages (but will not necessarily show up on the business's page)
  • We're purposely not elaborate about all the variables that go into defining an "established" user because it's a Catch-22: the more descriptive we are about what makes an established user, the less effective our filter is at fighting shills and malicious content.
  • Both positive and negative reviews can be affected.

So What Does This Mean For My Firm?

This means that while you need to be conscientious about getting reviews on Yelp, you might want to be strategic about asking people if they use Yelp frequently to review businesses. If they don't then perhaps it makes more sense to direct them to your Avvo or Google+ Local profile (Although Google recently implemented a similar type of review filter) if they have more active review accounts there. If however, they are a frequent Yelp user/reviewer they are more likely to be considered an "established" user and their reviews are more likely to remain visible and active.

Jeff Berman
Jeff Berman, is co-founder of AttorneySync. "Properly marketing a law firm online is about producing relevant content that helps a prospective client understand your expertise and how you are able to help them. Finally, it’s about getting that content found by the people you are trying to help."
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Let's Discuss Your Growth

Helping law firms grow profitably with digital marketing and can prove it.

Barry Conybeare

We are so impressed with AttorneySync and their digital marketing services. We started with an audit of our digital presence and hired them thereafter. Fixes to the website and other platforms quickly followed and we have seen a substantial increase in online traffic, new client calls, and new client contracts. Strongly recommend AttorneySync!

Let's Talk

How can we help?

More From Our Blog

June 8, 2023
On Local Law Firm SEO Rank Tracking and Reporting

Over the years, law firm prospects have sent us reports from just about all of our competitors. Unfortunately, even today, some law firm marketing agencies still mislead their clients via "reporting." One particularly egregious example comes in the form of ranking reports. Which prompted this LinkedIn post. To my surprise, I received a lot of […]

Read More
June 7, 2023
On Attribution

John Wanamaker supposedly said "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." In an an effort to figure out "what half is working," attribution was born. Coupled with a transition from traditional, offline ads to digital media, attribution became the holy grail for analyzing advertising spends. But […]

Read More
March 22, 2023
I asked ChatGPT to Recommend a Personal Injury Law Firm

I recently asked ChatGPT, "What are some of the top personal injury law firms in Chicago?? Actually, first I ask "who are some of the top personal injury lawyers in Chicago?" ChatGPT couldn't handle that one, so I modified the prompt. ChatGPT listed five very well-known firms downtown. Can you guess the other four? That's […]

Read More
February 17, 2023
My Take on Google Search's Guidance on AI-Generated Content & Law Firm SEO

If you're like me, you have some degree of AI, ChatGBT, Bard, exhaustion. Now don't get me wrong, this is stuff is remarkable and is changing, well, a lot. But before you hook up the ChatGPT API to your WordPress API and crank out 10,000 pages, here are a few things to think about. Let's […]

Read More
February 16, 2023
Google Adds New SEO Best Practices for Links

If you know me, you know my opinions about links and SEO advice from Google. If you don't, here's the TL;DR: Meh, links! Meaning, all things being equal, links still remain a competitive difference maker for ranking. Take Google's SEO advice with several grains of salt. Google has no economic incentive to help your site […]

Read More
February 1, 2023
Authenticity & Engagement

The best marketing advice I can give you is to be authentic. Of course, you don't find that very helpful in terms of meeting your growth goals. So, you might decide to game the system. As I'm writing this, one of the more popular ways to gain the system is to pay for engagement. This […]

Read More
January 19, 2023
ChatGPT for Legal Marketing

The following post was written by ChatGPT. ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, is a state-of-the-art language model that can generate human-like text based on a given prompt or context. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way that businesses, including law firms, market themselves to potential clients. One way that a law firm could use […]

Read More
May 26, 2022
SEO Expectations for Law Firms

How long does SEO take? When can I expect to see results? What results should I expect to see? These are all reasonable questions that we field from lawyers every day. And, like many legal answers, the answer is: It depends. Yes, I know that's not the answer you wanted. But it's the most honest […]

Read More
May 6, 2022
Who Should Do Marketing?

And how much time should they spend doing it? I recently had the privilege of chatting with Tyson, Jim, and Conrad for an upcoming episode of The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. If you're not familiar with The Maximum Lawyer community, you should definitely check it out. Jim asked a really great question about who should do […]

Read More

Let's Discuss

Questions or comments? Let's discuss on social!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram