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Why Your Yelp Reviews are Filtered and What You Can Do About It

Imagine that you have 50 Yelp reviews. Let’s say that five are one- and two-star reviews, five are three-star reviews, and 40 are four- and five-star reviews. That’s going to lead to a pretty great rating, right?

Wrong. Or at least not necessarily.

You see, of these 50 reviews, you might have about eight one- and two-star reviews displayed on only a handful of your three-, four-, and five-star reviews displayed on your public profile. As you can imagine, this can skew your rating and make you appear as a two- or three-star business when really, you should have at least four stars.

The culprit? The Yelp review filter.

And if you aren’t familiar with the Yelp filter, there’s no need to worry. Below, we’re going to discuss what the Yelp filter is, how reviews end up in the filter, where filtered reviews go, and steps you can take right now to get your four- and five-star reviews out of the filter and on to your page.

What is the Yelp Review Filter?

If you’ve paid attention to the news regarding Yelp at one time or another, you’re probably familiar with the Yelp filter (and not in a positive way).

That’s because there are countless business owners who feel incredibly threatened by Yelp’s powerful algorithm (commonly known as the Yelp filter) and its influence over which reviews are publicly displayed on their Yelp profiles (and subsequently which count towards the general Yelp ratings).

The Yelp filter is just that: an algorithm designed to filter “illegitimate” reviews while allowing “legitimate” reviews to be publicly displayed on the page. Now, I put the quotes around the words illegitimate and legitimate because the filter isn’t 100% accurate.

According to Yelp, reviews are filtered based upon three criteria: quality, reliability, and user activity. However, much about Yelp’s algorithm and metrics are unknown. Primarily this is because Yelp wants to protect their system from being manipulated from business owners, users, or other companies who are looking to manipulate the system for revenue.

As a result, it’s incredibly difficult to manipulate your ratings, let alone try to remedy the ill effects of what the filter can do to your business.

How do Reviews End Up in the Filter?

While there is little known about the filter itself, determining how Yelp reviews are filtered isn’t quite as difficult. In fact, there are a few known qualities that Yelp looks for in each review and reviewer to determine whether or not a review is likely to be legitimate.

So, what are these qualities that tend to decide whether or not reviews get stuck in the filter? There are a few to be exact, including:


  • Number of Reviews – Often, reviewers with one, two, or three reviews are likely to have their reviews filtered. This is because they don’t show an active presence on the site and Yelp by default prefers individuals who review several different types of businesses and do so on a consistent basis.


  • Review Ratings – If a reviewer gives only one- or five-star reviews, their reviews are going to be filtered more regularly due to their extremity. Individuals who leave a range of reviews from one- to five-stars and everything in-between are much more likely to have their reviews displayed publicly.


  • Review Updates – If you scroll through Yelp pages, you’ll find that the most dedicated Yelp-ers tend to update their reviews. This is another factor that can help keep reviews on the public view of a page and out of the filter.


  • Friends/Social Syncing – Active Yelp-ers also tend to connect with their friends on Yelp by linking their Facebook profile to their Yelp profile. By doing this, reviews are more likely to be considered legitimate as well.


  • Location – Is a reviewer’s location the same as the location of the business? Or, did a reviewer check-in at the office while leaving a review? If the answer is no to both of these questions, the review is more likely to be filtered.
  • Photos – Adding photos enhances a review, meaning that it is less likely to get filtered as well. Of course, this doesn’t override all other important factors, it is simply another important component that must be considered.

Of course, there are other qualities that can lead to getting your Yelp reviews filtered. But with these qualities, you’ll be off to a great start toward better understanding the filter.

Are Yelp Filtered Reviews Deleted From Accounts?

Contrary to popular belief amongst disgruntled business owners and reviewers, filtered reviews aren’t actually deleted from accounts. Instead, they’re removed to a different page that is accessible through a link at the bottom of your main Yelp profile.

Let’s look at an example to better understand what this looks like and the true impact hidden reviews can have.

This is a plastic surgeon’s Yelp profile. As you can see, there are only 15 reviews contributing to a general rating of three out of five stars. But the real problem? It’s the fact that there are a total of 57 reviews hidden, 34 of which are four- and five-star reviews that this business needs to give their general rating a boost.


As you can see, Yelp isn’t quite advertising that there are hidden reviews. In fact, if you’re an individual considering using this business, it’s unlikely that you’ll even realize that these reviews are here unless you make it to the bottom of the page.

Luckily, there are certain tactics you can try to get your reviews unfiltered.

How to Get Yelp Reviews Unfiltered

There are countless Internet searches of business owners looking for a Yelp review service or looking to buy Yelp reviews. But what these owners are missing is the fact that the reviews they need are already waiting for them in the Yelp filter.

So check your own page. How many four- and five-star reviews are hidden?

Maybe it’s only one. For some popular practices, the number might be 100 or higher. In any case, it’s a valuable review already on Yelp that you can use to boost your ratings.

But, how to get it out of the Yelp review filter? It’s simple when you download the Linking Up Local Quick Reference Guide. Within, you’ll learn a few simple ways to begin getting your Yelp reviews unfiltered and taking control of a system that sets many businesses up for failure.

Of course, it’s not always easy to do it on your own. And if you need any additional assistance, you can count on the team at Linking Up Local to help.

Contact us today for additional information or to discuss your unique challenges. We look forward to turning Yelp into a powerful recommendation tool for your business.

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