How to Ask for Yelp Reviews without Getting in Trouble

Yelp Reviews

Getting Yelp reviews for your business can be difficult. In an attempt to prevent spam, they aggressively filter reviews (many would say too aggressively). Asking customers for reviews also violates Yelp’s terms of service and they specifically tell businesses NOT to ask for reviews.

But these reviews are important for many businesses … and not just on Yelp itself! Yelp also powers the reviews for Apple Maps, Bing local search results and even Alexa. These also power the voice search results for Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Alexa.

Yelp reviews on Apple Maps / Siri and Alexa

Ask People to Check In to Your Business

While you aren’t supposed to directly ask customers to leave you a review, there is nothing that prevents you from asking customers to check in to your business. Here’s how it works:

Ask customers to check in to your business on the Yelp app.

Finding your business on Yelp

It’s best if the customer can include a photo with their check-in.

Yelp check in with photo

The customer is immediately asked to leave a review in the Yelp app.

Customer asked to leave a review in Yelp app

Within a day or so, Yelp also sends an email to the customer asking for a review.

Yelp send an email asking for a review

The customer can then leave you a review on Yelp.

Customer leaves a Yelp review

Share and Embed Yelp Reviews

Sharing and embedding reviews is another way to get more reviews. This works for any business, but is especially useful for service area businesses (SABs) since you work at your clients’ locations and they can’t check-in to your business.

To do this, simply go to your business listing on Yelp (use the website version … it’s easier). Then hover your mouse over the review you want to share. Options to share or embed the review will then pop up.

Share and Embed Yelp Reviews
Hover over a review and you’ll see options to share and embed the review

You can then embed that review on your website or share it on social media. The embedded / shared review links right back to your profile which encourages more people to also leave their own review.

Yelp review shared on Facebook

You could also share the actual text to your email list and link directly to the review on Yelp. Just be sure not to actually ask people to leave you a review.

Use Yelp’s Marketing Resources

Businesses can use several free resources to tell people they are on Yelp. While these don’t directly help you get reviews, the idea is that by letting more people know that you’re on Yelp, they will “organically” look you up and leave a review.

While I’m skeptical as to how well this works, it certainly can’t hurt and the resources are completely free.

Go Get More Reviews!

I hope this helps you understand how Yelp reviews impact more than just Yelp itself, and that these tips give you some ideas on how to get more reviews.

If you have any questions or other ideas, please let me know in the comments below!

Eric Shanfelt
Eric is the Founder and CEO of Local Marketing Institute. He has 25 years of experience in digital marketing and has been the Chief Digital Officer for several B2B and consumer media companies. Eric has a passion for local businesses and focuses on practical digital strategies to help them attract more customers, build customer loyalty, and grow their business.