It's sometimes difficult to fix yelp ratings, but it's doable. Work hard to get it done!

As a small business owner, you understand better than most people how one negative Yelp review can have a real impact on your rating, and even worse, the reputation of your practice. Although it isn’t easy, there are things you can do to improve your practice’s Yelp rating over time. It won’t happen overnight but if you are intentional, you can control what shows up in your Yelp feed so when someone searches for your business, the first thing they see is an honest, positive review from a real patient. Here are four ways you can improve the Yelp review of your orthodontics practice.

Emphasize Positive Reviews From the Start

Yelp’s algorithm filters a business’s reviews over time. It may be that some of your practice’s positive reviews are stuck at the bottom of your page. Sometimes Yelp hides (or filters) reviews because the algorithm thinks they are not real reviews or because the algorithm determines they are not influencing your overall profile rating.

Unfortunately, genuine, positive reviews from your patients can be subject to this filtering practice and become hidden. In order to “release” these reviews, you can follow the profiles of the patients who left the reviews. One way Yelp tries to determine if a review is genuine is by looking at the profile of the reviewer. If they have more followers, or you follow them back, their review may become visible again.

If this doesn’t work, you can send a message to the patient who left the review and see if they are willing to update the review. This can also result in the review showing up on the main page of your business again.

There is also the possibility of providing guidelines to your patients who want to write reviews for your practice. Here are three best practices for improving how legitimate your reviews appear:

  1. Add a profile picture. Profiles that include images make a user look more engaged.
  2. “Check-in” on your mobile phones from a few local businesses. This will signal to the Yelp algorithm that you are a real person.
  3. Post reviews frequently. The more reviews your profile includes, the more likely your reviews will be seen as credible and appear on the main page of businesses.
Reach out to Your Connections

It seems pretty straightforward, but if you haven’t reached out to your friends and family (your biggest fans from the start!) for positive reviews, you should start there. You can easily add more positive content to your business’s page this way. Ask your friends and family to talk about specific parts of your practice, like your reputation for having great customer service or for providing affordable payment plans.

Think about the biggest concerns your potential patients have that might cause them to seek out the advice of your former and current patients. Positive reviews can do a lot to counteract that one negative review on your page.

Ask Your Former Patients and Vendors

Is there a family you’ve worked with for many years, perhaps providing braces for all of their kids? Maybe they tell you in person how much they appreciate you. Those words could easily be translated to an online Yelp review. Word-of-mouth marketing is different in the 21st century; the way you tell your neighbor about a positive experience you had is not by stopping them in the street. Now, you go online to tell your friends.

You can also reach out to your vendors and ask them if they can write about their experience working with you as a vendor.

Update Your Yelp Profile

Make sure your Yelp profile includes accurate, up-to-date information about your business, including your address, phone number, and pictures of the inside and outside of your practice. Add tags to your profile to make it easier for people to find you when they search for you. The easier it is for people to find you on Yelp, the more likely they’ll leave a review. In addition, the easier it is for them to contact you, the more likely they’ll become new patients who are so satisfied with their experience they’ll want to leave you a positive review, too.

You can also order a Find Us on Yelp sticker. Yelp will ship their stickers to any U.S. business, in addition to adding a virtual badge to your website.

The reality is a Yelp business profile can affect your business. Because negative reviews tend to stand out more, you might have perfectly satisfied patients whose recommendations get overlooked as a result of that single one-star rating. Your Yelp page needs to have positive reviews if you are going to attract new patients. The good news is there are steps you can take to make your Yelp page reflect the high-quality service and results your orthodontics practice is known for.