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When Negative Reviews on Yelp Become a Good Thing

Another Google City Expert shared this article about how a restaurant in Richmond, CA started a “Hate us on Yelp” campaign where they decided to offer incentives for users to leave them negative reviews on Yelp.  At first, I thought the business was nuts – who wants negative reviews? But looking deeper, this may just be marketing genius.

  • Getting legit backlinks these days is a hard task to do. This small business has managed to get backlinks from tons of major new sources in the span of just a few days.
  • It sends a message to Yelp about how frustrating it can be for a small business to find ways to grow their online reviews without violating Yelp’s extremely strict guidelines.
  • It is an amazing example of how a small business can create content that goes viral. It’s hard to be unique these days but users all over California are getting involved and posting negative reviews on their profile.  Some entertaining reviews include:

Walked in today only to find that they don’t carry the iPhone 6 Plus. WTF.

There were zombie babies crawling on the floor and one bit my foot.

Can’t stand this place. Came here and asked if I could substitute the pizza dough with cardboard… they could not accommodate me.

No pet giraffes or tigers allowed inside


They then posted an ad on Craigslist for the worst barista to come work at their terrible restaurant.  I’m pretty sure the restaurant didn’t do this with the intention of SEO benefits (their title tag on their homepage is “index”) but it really makes you see how creativity and thinking outside the box can really help more than going out and creating backlinks on sites that people never visit. Kudos to them for thinking up this idea!

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Joy Hawkins

Joy is the owner of the Local Search Forum, LocalU, and Sterling Sky, a Local SEO agency in Canada & the USA. She has been working in the industry since 2006, writes for publications such as Search Engine Land, and enjoys speaking regularly at marketing conferences such as MozCon, LocalU, Pubcon, SearchLove, and State of Search. You can find her on Twitter or volunteering as a Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. […] like a fun Friday read! On a semi related note, Joy did a fun post yesterday about Yelp reviews. When Negative Reviews on Yelp Become a Good Thing "There were zombie babies crawling on the floor and one bit my foot." "Can’t stand this […]

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