We have been hearing rumblings from business operators losing reviews on their Yelp profile this month. So, we began our investigation into it.
Our sources have confirmed that some Yelp review filter algorithm changes were in fact completed in November 2018.
The Yelp review filter algorithm got a major update that we’re dubbing “Spearfish.” This algorithm update was focused on adversely impacting profiles of businesses that were proactively soliciting reviews through email, in person, or other “under the radar” methods. This update resulted in a reshuffling of reviews between filtered and unfiltered sections of the business profile. Ultimately, it negatively impacted reviews (and star ratings) of businesses that may have been involved in review solicitation.
So Why The Yelp Review Filter Algorithm Rewrite?
Yelp has always enforced strict (and unpublished) guidelines for how it determines which reviews get posted to the public-facing profile and which ones get moved to the filtered reviews portion of a page. In that greyed section (pictured below), a video link exists reminding people why Yelp’s filter process exists. It’s Yelp’s way of qualifying the “filtered” or suppressed reviews section to viewers and reminding them that these profiles don’t meet Yelp’s standards for a totally fair review posting.
So why the sudden algorithm change, Yelp?
Well, Yelp has always updated its algorithms periodically but the focus on review solicitation is likely because Yelp found more and more reviews were falling through the cracks without enough scrutiny. Reviews that didn’t meet review acquisition guidelines were making it through and posting to profiles as “legit.” Yelp has always been for preserving review honesty, so it decided to update its algorithm.
If your profile was impacted by Spearfish, we recommend that you consider changing the way you collect reviews and refrain from soliciting reviews. Here’s an article on the ins and outs of how Yelp filters reviews.