Yelp is currently the 31st most visited website in the United States, according to, with 138 million unique monthly visitors. Contrary to popular belief, Yelp is not just for restaurants, which make up only 20% of the total reviews on the site. Consumers are now reviewing all types of businesses, and monitoring your company’s Yelp reviews is a critical component of a pro-active online reputation management strategy.

While engaging with positive reviews on Yelp is recommended, following up as a business on negative reviews is a critical part of online reputation management. If a negative review is posted about your business the most important thing to do first is relax. There is nothing worse than acting hastily and posting an antagonistic or combative comment on a negative review.

Once in a clear state of mind, post a public response to the review and send the user a private message. Here are some tips to follow for posting a public comment on a negative review.


  • Post your comment in a timely fashion
  • Apologize for the bad experience
  • Let customers know you are concerned about making it right
  • Make specific reference to issues identified in the review
  • Include contact information such as email or phone number
  • Send a private message that invites the reviewer to share their experience in more detail over the phone or email


  • Use an automated cut/paste response
  • Explain why the reviewer was wrong or your business was right in the situation
  • Cite company policy as a reason for any issues
  • Ask the reviewer to update their review in exchange for a coupon or discount
  • Fail to respond if the customer replies to a public comment or private message

In the absolute best case scenario, proper follow up to a negative review can result in a user editing their negative review and/or posting a second review highlighting your customer service or a better second experience.

Handling negative online reviews is one aspect of reputation management that is not going away any time soon. Yelp’s popularity continues to rise, which is reflected in its growing traffic numbers and consistent ranking at or near the top of search engine results. As a result, the importance of understanding how to address a negative review continues to increase.

If your business has a negative review online, AltaVista can help you in forming a proper response as part of a comprehensive online reputation management strategy. Our reputation management strategies include blogging, press releases, social media management, link building, and driving positive online reviews. Our goal in building and executing a reputation management strategy is to help your business control its search engine results page.

For more information on how AltaVista Strategic Partners can help your organization build and execute a reputation management plan please fill out the contact form on this page, email us, or call our offices at 410-760-6680.

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