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What is Yelp and how to use it

Keyboard warriors, unite. Say what you really think.

Published onAugust 31, 2022

One of the advantages (or some people would say disadvantages) of the internet is the democratization of the consumer. No longer can businesses expect to get away with shockingly bad service and sweep it under the carpet. Now, if a business treats a customer badly, they can expect to get chapter and verse on the incident online, before they have had a chance to hang up the Closed sign on the door. Although Google and Amazon are the two dominant platforms for writing online reviews, others such as Yelp are still around and very effective. So what is Yelp, and how do you get started using it?

Read more: How to add or remove a Yelp review


Yelp is an online review platform, where users can leave a star rating and a detailed review on a business. The business can, if they want, respond, and photos can be uploaded to support the reviewer's grievances (if the review is negative). A negative Yelp review can result in loss of business if prospective customers read the reviews first.


What is Yelp, and how does it work?

yelp homepage

If you are a consumer, and you’re unsure of what business should get your money, it’s natural to want a recommendation. After all, if you can be assured that others had a positive experience, then you would want that experience too. The flip side of the coin is that, if others had a really bad experience with a business, you would want to do all you could to avoid going to that business.

Yelp is similar to Google in that registered users can leave reviews for businesses they’ve used and leave positive or negative feedback. They have to give a star rating (out of five), and they can optionally upload photos. Once enough reviews have been posted, a prospective customer can then visit the business’s Yelp page and get a good overview of whether or not the business can be trusted or not. Reading the business’s replies to reviews can also help to judge the business owner’s professionalism.

yelp business review

Obviously, many business owners hate platforms like Yelp, trying to either manipulate customers into leaving good reviews or threaten to sue to have bad reviews taken down. However, Yelp has a strict policy that no review is taken down. Of course, if a review is defamatory, clearly insulting, or clearly misleading, then Yelp may possibly reconsider on a case-by-case basis. But to the best of my knowledge, this is extremely rare.

How to use Yelp

It’s very easy to open a Yelp account to begin posting reviews and being a real keyboard warrior. A Yelp account is free and only takes a few minutes to set up.

Opening a Yelp account

yelp homepage

At the top-right of the Yelp page, you will see a red Sign Up button. Click that to get started.

Now fill in your details to set up your account. Alternatively, you can save yourself a minute or two by signing up with your Google account or Facebook account. If you do decide to go down that route, make sure any browser ad blockers and privacy trackers are temporarily disabled, as those often block signing up to websites with those types of accounts.

yelp signup page

Once inside, start filling out your profile, as well as other settings, such as finding your friends, fixing your privacy settings, configuring your notifications, and so on. Obviously, some of this is optional, so if you don’t feel like completing it, you don’t have to.

yelp account settings

Once you’ve got your account set up, you’re ready to start reviewing, and (potentially) toppling some promising business empires.

succession meme

Writing your first Yelp review

We’ve already covered how to write a Yelp review, but here is the short condensed TLDR version. First, use the search engine to look for the business you want to review. If it is a big franchise business, like Burger King (for example), in a large city, you must enter the restaurant’s address. Then click Write a review.

write yelp review

Choose your star rating (out of five), then start writing your review. Obviously, Yelp encourages you to write as much as possible. Try not only to do a few lines. Try to write something a bit more extensive, explaining why you liked or disliked something. Remember, you’re doing future customers a service by sharing your thoughts. Besides, the more you share, the more you help the business owner with any faults you may have found.

write yelp review about burger king

Finally, click Post Review, and the review will be posted immediately to the business’s Yelp page. You can edit or delete the review at any time if you feel the need.

Read more: 10 best business apps for Android


As of August 2022, it is Bottega Louie with 17,500 reviews, and an average 4/5 star rating. Yelp maintains a list of the top 50.

If you are the writer of the review, you can edit or delete the review anytime. However, if you did not write the review, and simply don’t like what someone has said about you, you cannot have the review removed. Yelp has a strict policy about this.

No, you can’t. This is strictly against Yelp’s policy, to ensure that all reviews on the site are fair and balanced.

You can “claim” your business on Yelp for free. Claiming it by proving ownership, enables you to reply to reviews, as well as maintain the page with correct business information and photos.

People only leave bad reviews if they are unhappy with the service received from that business. If the overwhelming amount of reviews for that business is bad, that ought to tell you something.

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