3 Ways to Overcome Bad Yelp Reviews

A special thanks to Tom Pellegrino for his contribution to this post:


I actually have a few friends that work at Yelp have have talked to them about this exact thing … the criticism from business owners is that some user reviews are unfair, and there isn’t a proper mechanism in place to work out issues related to bad reviews (or bogus ones by people with an axe to grind, or even the competition themselves – which in the BMW case, some look suspiciously like a rival dealership). Yelp’s stance has always been – community first, consumer/user second and businesses last.

I can only recommend two things:

They can reach out to the bad reviewers via private message (but only once I think) … I suggest they do something more than just apologize or ask “what can we do to make you feel better” … actually invite them to the dealership for a free oil change or something similar, then ask them to post a follow-up review.

Otherwise, they’ll need to take a proactive approach to educating people about their business listing on sites like Yelp.com and citysearch, etc and ask for them to review their experiences at the dealership … perhaps even put a placard on the front counter, or a sticker in the window that say, “hey, we’re on yelp.com – review us!”

They’ll also need to constantly review their profile on sites like yelp, looking for bad reviews … I also suggest they get in a habit of sending messages of appreciation to positive reviews as well.

This is community building. At the end of the day, all dealerships are going to have pissed customers … it’s the dealers responsibility (and ours too as a service provider) to educate themselves on the tools out there and learn how to incorporate them into their everyday marketing efforts.

…. The third option would be to do business w/ yelp as an advertising business with an enhanced profile .. those negative reviews miraculously disappear or get buried – yelp’s been called out on the carpet for this many times. Sometimes they’ve even removed bad reviews the day before a sales call, only to have them put back up after a “no thanks”.

Google Site Performance Tool in Webmaster Tools

I recently discovered the “Performance Tool” under the Labs section in Google Webmaster Tools. I was pleased to find out that the sites that I host are faster than 89% of websites that are monitored by Google Webmaster Tools. To find the Performance Tool, log into Google Webmaster Tools, click the new “Labs” menu link and select “Site Performance.”

This tool will show a graph by day of the average loading time for pages on your website. It is also very helpful for suggesting ways of increasing your site’s speed. Here are a few of my favorite recommendations for speeding up your site:

  • Decrease photo size. Always optimize photos for the web. A great (free) program that lets you do this is: http://www.irfanview.com/
  • Be careful of embedded objects. Social media sites offer many embedded objects these days and it is easy to drag your site down with lots of plug-ins. Examples: youtube, facebook badge, sharing buttons, flickr slideshows.
  • Minimize DNS lookups. This is similar to the recommendation above, but if possible don’t frame in pages from other sites or display photos hosted on another URL.
  • Combine external CSS. Getting rid of bloated code is always helpful and will speed up any website. Consolidating server side files will decrease the number of lookups and increase your website loading time.

Take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with this tool. If anything, you will make your visitors happier that the page appears quickly. I know I’m frustrated by this when I’m accessing sites from my tethered cell phone.