Yelp's recommendation software is designed to highlight reviews from people inspired to share their experiences with the community. Most businesses only target happy customers when asking for reviews which leads to biased ratings, so the recommendation software actively tries to identify and not recommend reviews prompted or encouraged by the business. The Business Owner Guidelines section of our Content Guidelines, which are part of our Terms of Service, also makes clear that businesses should not ask for Yelp reviews.
The businesses that do best on Yelp are the ones that provide a great customer experience to everyone who walks in the door without any expectation or encouragement that they write a review.
Here are some tips to avoid hurting your Yelp rating:
- Don’t ask customers, mailing list subscribers, friends, family, or anyone else to review your business.
- Don’t ask your staff to compete to collect reviews.
- Don’t run surveys that ask for reviews from customers reporting positive experiences.
- Don’t ever offer freebies, discounts, or payment in exchange for reviews — it will turn off savvy consumers, and may also be illegal. Yelp has a Consumer Alerts program to let people know about businesses that engage in this sort of activity. For the same reason, you also shouldn't offer incentives for users to remove reviews.
For a more in-depth look, read our official blog post on why you shouldn't solicit reviews. For other tips on how to put your best foot forward on Yelp, check out our Guide to Success.