Is Yelp a Friend or Foe?

Whether people are on the hunt for a plumber or a plastic surgeon, Yelp is often a tool they use to find a professional in their area. This means that positive reviews about your practice on Yelp can build your patient base, while negative reviews may hurt your growth and revenue. Is Yelp a friend or foe of your practice? The answer to that question may depend on how well you use the website to your advantage.

Benefits of Yelp

There are a number of potential benefits Yelp can offer to your practice:


According to Yelp, the website had more than 162 million visitors in the last month of 2016. More than 121 million reviews were posted during that same month. Around six percent of those reviews were related to the health field. That adds up to the potential for significant exposure for your practice and if your reviews are positive, many possible hits for your website.

Ease of Use

Yelp is a very easy platform to use, whether you are searching for reviews or posting one. You can encourage your patients to post positive reviews about you and your practice knowing they will be able to make their entry quickly and stress-free.

Additional Website Hits

As prospective patients read your reviews, Yelp makes it easy for them to contact your practice directly as well. All of your information will be listed, including the address for your website, your physical address and phone number, even your operating hours.

Prospective Patients Ready to Proceed

In most cases, customers and patients head to review sites like Yelp when they have already made their decision about a purchase. The advantage here is that the patients that are finding your practice are ready to move forward with a procedure, giving you the highest quality of prospects for the greatest number of conversions.

Drawbacks to Yelp

While there are plenty of advantages to gain, there are also a few drawbacks to be aware of as well:

The Algorithm Dilemma

Probably the biggest drawback to Yelp is the algorithm the website uses to filter reviews. This tool may knock out some of your positive reviews, which in turn could affect your star rating. This requires you to keep a watchful eye on your reviews to ensure any changes to your rating can be addressed promptly. Keep in mind, the reviews are still there, but you have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and know where to click to find them.

No Control over Reviews

While you can monitor the reviews you receive on Yelp, you can’t do anything to change them. If a negative review crops up, it is up to you to address the information in a way that shows publically you are committed to making things right for unhappy patients. However, you cannot remove that review or change the fact that the negative review is impacting your star rating.

Making Yelp Work for You

While there are both pros and cons to Yelp, one thing is certain: Yelp is an online force, at least for now. You can use this to your advantage by encouraging your patients to post positive reviews about your practice and monitoring your review history regularly. In addition to managing your online reputation, these reviews can also let you know if there are aspects of your office that can be changed to improve your patient experience.

You can also employ the right software to enhance patient engagement and the patient experience within your practice to increase your number of positive reviews on Yelp and other websites. PatientNOW offers software designed by plastic surgeons for plastic surgeons, so you can rest assured the tools included will fit your practice perfectly. To learn more about our products, contact PatientNOW today at 800-436-3150.