Rethinking Yelp - Why We Hate Them and Love ThemHere is an irony – some of the worst reviews on Yelp are of Yelp. They average two stars, and you can see them here.

Credit to Yelp for not filtering them.


We hate Yelp b/c they seem to randomly filter our best reviews, they charge a fortune for their advertising that doesn’t always seem to work, they are relentless with their sales pressure, and many think they filter more reviews if you are not paying a hefty premium to advertise on Yelp.


1. Advertising Works

We spend a couple thousand bucks per month advertising on Yelp, and this month we are closing six deals from Yelp making for a very high ROI.

Like all marketing though, it takes time and there are no guarantees of course. But, it certainly works for us now that we’ve put in our time, and “optimized” our Yelp page (see below).

2. Page 1 of Google

Everyone underestimates this enormous benefit. Almost every potential client will google you, and you want to make sure you personally are all over Page 1 of Google’s search results (if you want to stand out over your competitors).

And Yelp spends approximately 79 gazillion dollars (give or take a bajillion) per year making sure Yelp is always on Page 1 of every organic Google search. So, if you’re on Yelp, you’re on Page 1.

Even better, if you have all five-star reviews, you are on Page 1 with “Five Stars” prominently displayed (another huge benefit most people underestimate).

3. Authenticity

When your 84 year old Korean Grandma gives a rave review about your mortgage service from Seoul, Korea, Yelp knows something is fishy and filters it. Other review sites… not so much :).

Yes, Yelp over-filters, but their algorithms are also very good at sifting out all suspect reviews too. B/c of this, people know they can rely on Yelp’s reviews more than other site’s reviews. And this is why we tout our own Yelp reviews so much. Korean Grandmas aside, our reviews are 100% legit.



There are numerous ways to optimize Yelp for maximum effectiveness, including a well-written Specialties section chock full of keywords, a Book Now link to let viewers instantly calendar meetings, a link to directly contact someone at the business, and quality photos of course.

In addition, agents and loan officers alike should be particularly attentive to response times. Yelp tracks them to the minute, even when messaged at midnight, and it will reflect on your profile. As always, speed to lead is key.


JVM Lending of course :). We have 234 unfiltered Five Star reviews, but I also just noticed that we have 135 filtered reviews! G**!!*** F**!*** YELP!!

In any case, as much as I love touting JVM, our Yelp page really is a great example of optimization and it is working beautifully for us.


Last point – my nephew used to be a sales manager at Yelp and his advice was to always spend more money, and we’d roll our eyes.

But now that he has moved on from Yelp to be the sales manager for an entire company in a new industry, his advice curiously remains the same even though he no longer has a dog in the fight.

The reason? He has seen the data, and he knows what works.

Image courtesy of: Wall Street Journal.

Jay Voorhees
Founder/Broker | JVM Lending
(855) 855-4491 | DRE# 01524255, NMLS# 335646

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