There is actually a secret to get 5-Star Reviews and use Yelp to your advantage, as an ally.
The 8 key steps for YELP Success is to:
1-Create a free account
2- Populate it with real pics of you, your team, your clinic, your services, your dog...more photos the better. (Use real pics, not stock photos)
3- Put 'keywords' in the photo captions to be found in Google searches. (Some studies show if you take the pictures with a digital camera and have the location on and take pictures of your team mates around your city, the geo-tag will help you be found in Google searches)
4- Be sure all your business details are filled in completely.
5- When your clients tell you how amazing they feel, remind them to leave you a happy review on yelp (preferably five stars).
6- when someone finds you on Yelp, be sure to remind them how honored you would be if they were to leave you a five-star review after they’ve experienced your session if they love your work.
7- Reply positively to ALL your reviews in a timely manner.
8- When yelp contacts you to advertise, (& they will!) calmly state “...it’s not in my budget right now but I might consider it down the road…”
You want to stay in Yelp's good graces so, if in fact they do manipulate their algorithms of review visibility, they don’t manipulate your positive reviews and hide them at the bottom of your listing.
(When you are speaking with Yelp, just tell them to not call you back until after six months when you renew your budget & plans)
I believe it’s worth it if you have to speak with them a few times a year under YOUR direction, rather than have them call every month or more.
And surely, if this is what it takes to keep Yelp as your Ally, do it so they don't hide your positive reviews!
Give it a try and let us know how it works by posting in the commments below!