A very common question I get is how to get more Yelp reviews. I think of Yelp like Google. While Google has their algorithms to detect spam, Yelp has something similar. They fight against businesses that are actively soliciting for reviews.
Unfortunately, some reviews get filtered out...even non-solicited ones.
There were several times when I wrote reviews on Yelp and they were filtered. They weren't solicited and I wrote them because I wanted to provide genuine feedback for others. It's kinda like war. Even innocent people are affected. I wish it wasn't that way, but you'll run into these types of issues online when you're marketing your business through 3rd-party companies.
Tips from Yelp
So to provide more tips, here are a few great articles from Yelp on how to get more reviews! Paid Reviews Don’t Have a Place on Yelp - Excerpt: "Let’s say you decide you’re ready to try out that new hairstyle you’ve been seeing in magazines so you do a quick search on Yelp to find just the right stylist. You think you find the place, but imagine how unhelpful it would be if all of those glowing reviews you’re reading were solicited from a business owner looking to artificially inflate their Yelp rating? Don’t worry, we don’t tolerate attempts to mislead consumers and we go to great lengths to recommend reviews on Yelp that reflect honest opinions of consumers." Read more Don't Ask for Reviews - Excerpt: "Yelp is a website where people read and write reviews about their favorite local businesses. Therefore, it might seem counter-intuitive that we actually discourage business owners from asking their customers to write reviews." Read more
Aggressive Yelp Soliciting
In the past, I've seen services that you can pay for to get more Yelp reviews. I'm sure that some people might have had luck with those services, but for any long-term business, it's not something that I would recommend.
Paying for reviews from people that have never experienced a product or service from a business first hand doesn't do much for others. It's like searching for a product on Amazon, reading awesome reviews, buying it and realizing later that the reviews were BS. I'm sure that nobody would want to experience that on Amazon, Yelp, or on any other review site. While these paid service might help 1 company or an individual, it can have a negative on the business as well and on all of the prospective customers checking out the reviews.
While this was a Yelp focused article, I believe these strategies would also help on other review sites including Google Reviews. I do like Yelp's stance on getting reviews. I know it's tough and it's not easy to actively market on Yelp unless you pay for it, but it's their platform and they have to protect their business as well.
If you're not going to pay, the safe way is to follow their strategies mentioned in the articles. If you as a business owner will strive to do your best, you'll get positive reviews in return.