TestWhy Doctors Should Forget About Yelp and Focus on Google My Business

Why Doctors Should Forget About Yelp and Focus on Google My Business

rater8 works closely with leading review platforms like Google, Facebook, Healthgrades, Vitals, and Yelp.

One of the most common questions is: “What can you do about Yelp? I have hundreds of Yelp reviews, but most are hidden.”

This is a common occurrence and you’re not alone.

Why does Yelp filter and hide my reviews?

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The largest frustration with Yelp is that they actively suppress reviews. The problem with this is that many of the reviews they suppress are from real, genuine patients. Businesses and medical practices invest time and energy building up their online presence on Yelp and suddenly the number of Yelp reviews start to dwindle. The patient reviews appear online in Yelp for months…until one day, they get removed without any warning. Removed reviews are suddenly tagged as “not currently recommended“. And when Yelp reviews are not recommended, they are moved to the bottom of the page under a collapsible tab. This means that most readers will never see these Yelp Reviews.

Yelp looks at a number of factors to determine which reviews to display and which reviews fall under “not currently recommended.”

  • Is the Yelp author active or is this his/her first review? If the author is not very active, Yelp may think that the account was created specifically for this one review and may question its authenticity.
  • Yelp will also look at the IP address of the writer. Was the review written by someone overseas about a medical practice in Ohio? Is the IP address of the writer the same as the business owner? If so, it’s less likely to be authentic or may have been a paid reviewer.
  • Yelp will also look at the quality of the review. Was the review a rant that doesn’t add any value? Is it over-praising your practice – to the point where it may have been written by the business owner?
  • The hidden review may violate any of the other Yelp guidelines.

Yelp’s sales tactic are very aggressive and any business or medical practice owner can likely attest. Their sales teams call business owners relentlessly, often daily, trying to convince them to spend money on their ad platform. The problem with this is…many business owners claim (with data) that their online reviews were being hidden only after they decreased or terminated their ad spending budget with Yelp. In this case, many business owners believe they were being bullied or punished for not spending money on Yelp’s ad platform. This has left a sour taste in many and there are a number of pending lawsuits as a result.

What does Yelp have to say about hiding online reviews? Here’s their response about their “Not Recommended” logic:

Yelp’s filter is automated. This means that sometimes (often times), real reviews get filtered and unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do about it. According to Yelp, “It’s also important to note that because our recommendation software is automated, the Yelp Support team cannot manually override the software to recommend or not recommend a review.” Yelp does not make exceptions and they do not reverse any of these decisions.

At rater8, we strongly encourage our clients to focus on Google, not Yelp. Why?

There is no denying that Google is the search engine king; it’s reliable and trustworthy and they have 90% of the search engine marketshare.

One reason to focus on Google is visibility. Your Google My Business review will always appear on the first page of Google Search Results. On a computer, your Google My Business profile displays on the right side, filling half the page. On a mobile phone, your Google My Business profile will literally take up the entire screen and will even display ahead of Google’s organic search results. Meanwhile, Yelp’s web pages do not always rank on the first page.

Another reason patients favor Google reviews and Google My Business is because the content is richer. Within the search engine results, Yelp displays a fraction of the information about the practice or doctor. In the below Yelp screenshot, notice the bland text. There are no photos, star ratings, or review counts.

What Yelp looks like:

Your Google My Business profile, however, displays photos, hours, address, phone number, reviews, ratings, business description, website link, and more, all within the search results page. Users can easily find this information without any additional searching. It’s easy for viewers eyes to gravitate towards to the Google My Business profile because all the information they need is available within the Google Search Results, without having to navigate away.

What Google My Business looks like:

And best of all, Google does not suppress any reviews!  Unlike Yelp, Google will present all reviews written to online visitors. Lastly, Google also does not engage is questionable sales tactics to peer pressure business owners into buying their ads. As a business owner, it’s much easier to work with Google than Yelp.

When it comes to your practice’s online reputation, Google My Business is the most trusted platform. Learn more about Google My Business best practices for doctors.

If you need help claiming your Google My Business profiles or building 5-star Google reviews to strengthen your online presence, schedule a quick call with rater8, the leader in healthcare reputation management. Take advantage of our FREE 30-day trial!

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