Remove Negative and Fake Reviews from Yelp

You probably found this page because a customer wrote a bad Yelp review about your business. Or maybe an underhanded competitor tried to drag your online reputation through the mud with a few fake Yelp reviews. Whatever happened, we can help.


Yelp is often a source of great concern for our clients. Although the platform is useful for the average consumer, business owners don’t always see it that way. This is especially true if a company has been on the receiving end of fake Yelp reviews.


While it’s never easy to accept unflattering feedback, nobody expects perfection. In fact, a few neutral comments here and there may actually enhance trust. But when bad Yelp reviews overrun your page, your reputation is at risk.


Whether you started a food truck venture two months ago or have run a Mom and Pop diner for the past 40 years, Yelp reviews have an impact on all businesses.

Whether it’s a customer raving about how excellent the food is, or ranting about a 10 minute wait, online customer feedback can make or break your business.


When it comes to responding or deleting a bad Yelp review, Yelp already has a built in tool for business owners. The free review response tool lets business owners respond privately or publicly to any reviews left on their page. So what does that mean for you? Both public and private responses have their pros and cons.


Let’s start with the pros of a public response:

By diplomatically addressing any complaints publicly, you show your users that you are apologetic for any sub-par experience, appreciate their feedback and can share steps you’re taking to correct this situation. This sort of public acknowledgement is important for your brand, however, there are a few cons to responding publicly to a bad review.


And the cons of responding publicly:

If you respond in a way that is less than professional and courteous, you lose respect from other users. If you respond publicly and this somehow incites the user who posted the poor review, that just means that you will be engaging with more negativity. Additionally, by responding directly to a negative review, you are actually helping that review rank higher in search results by keeping it active. That means that you are increasing the likelihood that someone will read this review.


Pros of responding privately:

If you choose to respond to someone privately, there’s also a lot to consider.

The advantage of responding directly to your attacker, is that you can appeal to them calmly and rationally and ask for more information concerning their experience and how to rectify it directly. AND you aren’t helping the bad review rank better by updating it with fresh content.


Cons of responding privately:

However, by responding privately, you run the risk of the user responding very publicly anyway, or users thinking that you are ignoring the complaints. Also, this means that if someone comes across this negative review, there will be no commentary from you addressing the concerns.


As of 2014, every minute, Yelp users post 26,380 reviews. According to a 2013 Nielsen survey, a whopping 98% of Yelp users have made a purchase at a business they found on Yelp.


These stats showcase just how important Yelp reviews are in the research process for consumers. A negative review or an inactive business page can absolutely devastate the bottom line of a small business.

Because of this, we decided to create a guide specifically for small business owners trying to delete bad reviews from Yelp.


While every case is different, there are some methods that all business owners should try to win the fight against bad Yelp reviews. But first, you need to fully understand how the reviewing process works at Yelp.


Let’s take a closer look at how to get a yelp review removed and restore your online image.

Yelp averages 145 million unique visitors every month, and 82 percent of them intend to make a purchase. If those users see a wall of negative reviews, they’ll most likely choose to give their money to a competitor. What’s worse, complaints can also seep into your company’s search results and become even more visible. This ultimately boils down to one thing: lost revenue.


Like other review platforms, Yelp also has issues with fraud. The Yelp review filter hides anything that violates the content guidelines laid out in their terms of service. Sadly, many false reviews still manage to slip through the cracks.


The average consumer can’t spot fake Yelp reviews, but we’ll show you how to sniff them out. Keep your eyes peeled for these red flags:


Disgruntled former employees

Ex-employees who were fired or who feel they were mistreated by their former employer are often the source of dishonest reviews. These statements are meant to slander your business as an act of revenge.

Personal enemies

This could include your own enemies or your employees foes. Perhaps one of your sales associates recently broke up with her boyfriend. This could prompt him to post a nasty review about her and your business. While it doesn’t quite make logical sense, these thingsfrequently happen.


This is a common occurrence across many industries. Business competitors will often create made up accounts or even pay real people to post negative online reviews. Often these fraudsters recommend a competitor while slamming your business.

Accidental posts

Customers can make honest mistakes too. Someone might post a negative review on the wrong Yelp business page by accident. While it may not have been on purpose, this review is still irrelevant.


Just like any other bad Yelp review, it’s important to respond appropriately. Even if the complaint is fabricated, you should still apologize. Then, politely tell the Yelp user that you’re unable to find a record of his or her transaction. This will show other “Yelpers” that you’re serious about providing great customer service. But it will also doubt on a fake Yelp review’s authenticity.


Whether you run a giant corporation or a local business, sliding profits are a big deal. But before I show you how to remove negative yelp reviews, you’ll need to sort out the real ones from the fake ones. 


Here are the steps we’ll cover to report and remove Yelp reviews.

  • Claim your Yelp business profile

    Claim your page so you can respond to fake reviews and report them to Yelp.

  • Report fake or inappropriate reviews

    Flag bad reviews that violate Yelp’s TOS

  • Take legal action

    If you can prove that a review is defamatory in court, then Yelp will remove it.

  • Push down bad Yelp reviews

    Work with an ORM company to bury negative Yelp reviews in Google.


Claim your Yelp business profile

Before you do anything else, you have to claim your Yelp page. This will allow you to respond to complaints as well as report them to Yelp’s review management team. Flesh out your page with up-to-date business information, including addresses, contact information, hours of operation and pictures of your business and/or product offerings. The more information you include, the more it will appear to potential customers that you care about keeping up your image, particularly if you’re a small business.


Report reviews that violate Yelp’s TOS

Any reviews that Yelp’s algorithm failed to catch for violating its terms of service should be reported to the platform for potential removal. Here are some examples of customer feedback that can be reported:

  • Harassment

  • Threats of violence

  • Conflicts of interest

  • Irrelevant content

  • Fake Yelp reviews

  • Promotional material

  • Private information


To report a Yelp review, click the three dots beside the offending comment and click “report review.” Once Yelp moderators receive the report, they will evaluate the situation and decide whether or not it should be removed.


The process can take several days to complete, but you can check the status any time. To do so, hover over the flag icon next to the review with your cursor. Once the moderators have completed their evaluation they’ll notify you of their decision.

Keep in mind that even if the bad review isn’t taken down, Yelp’s automated software could deem the complaint to be unhelpful or unreliable enough to hide it behind more useful reviews.


Take legal action

You can technically go to court to remove a Yelp review once, but this is only recommended as a last resort (e.g., if you believe the review can be proven to be defamatory, libelous or an attempt by a competitor to destroy your business). Remember that going to court will likely draw your negative attention to your business. And if the case doesn’t go your way, your bad situation could become a disastrous one.


Yelpisn’t the only place people will voice their dissatisfaction about your company. If you findnasty comments on onereview site, you’ll probably find more on others as well.Set up a Google Alertand constantlymonitor youronline reputationto spot trouble before it’s too late. Be sure to check out our entire series of posts on removing unwanted content from Google:

  • How to remove Google reviews

  • Removing bad Facebook reviews

  • Ripoff Report removal

  • Removing negative articles from Google