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If you’ve ever wondered why some client reviews are instantly posted on your page while others disappear, the answer is Yelp’s review algorithm. Only so much is known about the mysterious review filter algorithm, leaving many attorneys scratching their heads. When it comes to maneuvering the dreaded review filter, follow these best practices to hurdle the Yelp review wall and build your law firm’s social media presence.

1.      Don’t ask; tell.

Yelp discourages businesses from asking for Yelp reviews. Rather, Yelp states that your law firm should merely inform clients that you have a Yelp business page and let them write a review if they feel so inclined. The ideal product is a law firm social media page with a collection of objective reviews posted throughout the life of your law firm.

2.      Educate clients about completing comprehensive profiles.

Businesses often complain that Yelpers review their companies—oftentimes favorably—yet these reviews are shuffled to the “filtered reviews” tab on the bottom of their pages, leading to worse overall ratings. You may have experienced this frustrating phenomenon yourself!

The company reports that it does this for users who appear to have ghost profiles, such as those who have neither a photo nor Yelp friends, and possess a track record of only one (or a handful of) review(s). Encourage clients to develop full profiles by:

  • Writing a brief user description
  • Making connections
  • Posting reviews of other local businesses
  • Connecting their profiles to social media
  • Checking into businesses from their smartphone app

Overall, completing a comprehensive profile over the span of a few weeks can greatly increase the chances that their reviews will pass the review filter when it comes to your law firm’s social media page, as well as other businesses. It’s also possible for reviews that were previously filtered out to appear back on your page once those Yelpers start building a more significant Yelp presence.

3.      Interact with clients and reviews.

As mentioned above, the client reviews that pass unmolested through the Yelp algorithm are the ones that appear to be from active Yelpers… so help your clients reach that level by interacting with them on a variety of fronts.

  • Befriend them on Yelp
  • Respond to all reviews, commenting and marking them as useful, funny, etc. (responding and engaging audiences is generally a best practice for Yelp and your law firm’s social media sites anyway)

4.      Encourage honesty but rein in excessive emotion.

Yelp reviews that are heavily slanted in either direction—favorable or unfavorable—are sure to be flagged. Therefore, when telling clients about your law firm’s Yelp page, inform them that ranting or excessively congratulating could get their reviews filtered out.

5.      Be patient.

No one goes from being a Yelp stranger to superstar overnight. The key to becoming known and trustworthy on this platform is to consistently craft a few reviews of local businesses every week. Be sure to let clients know that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

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