In the competitive online landscape, search engine optimization (SEO) is vital for property management marketers looking to enhance their property’s online visibility and attract more residents. While there are various aspects that influence SEO, one factor that continues to gain importance is Google reviews. Accumulating a higher volume of reviews and better online scores not only improves how your property is perceived online, but they can also positively impact your SEO efforts, driving increased organic traffic and fostering a stronger online presence.
What Type of Reviews Matter?
While all reviews are valuable for your Google Business Profile (GBP), certain reviews carry more weight when it comes to SEO. To ensure maximum SEO impact, it’s essential to encourage residents to leave detailed reviews (the longer, the better, while maintaining relevance), specifically focusing on their experiences at the property and with the staff. These reviews should include specific elements such as:
- Specific resident experiences with the property staff such as at move in, move out, maintenance requests, and other important periods throughout their lease.
- Details of the issue they faced or of the positive experience.
- Outcomes of the service received (were any problems successfully resolved?).
- Mentioning the names of the employee(s) they interacted with (while employee names may be used in reviews, there are some guidelines that must be adhered to).
- Including photos of the property, unit, or amenity if possible.
It’s important to note that while the quality and depth of the review itself contribute significantly to SEO effectiveness, keywords in reviews do not directly influence rankings, however they may show up as “justifications” in the search results, adding credibility and capturing the attention of the prospective resident due to relevance:
Do Photos Actually Help?
In general, reviews paired with photos more commonly appear first when sorting reviews on your GBP listing by “Most Relevant,” compared to reviews with only text or just a rating alone. Therefore visuals such as photos and videos complementing your Google reviews can significantly enhance their impact.
To elevate then, the visibility of positive reviews, we recommend encouraging your residents to capture images of the community, completed maintenance work, amenity, or other area applicable to the experience you provided them. By doing so, you can strengthen the impact of their feedback and increase the likelihood of standing out among other communities.
Impact of Positive and Negative Reviews
When prospective residents search for the “best” apartments in an area (a very common online search query), Google by default displays only the communities having a 4.0 star rating or higher:
As such, overpowering your GBP with positive reviews is paramount. Your ability to show higher in the search results has clear ties to the rating and volume of your reviews, meaning you’ll fare better just from a placement standpoint when reviews are better. Meanwhile, prospective residents are more likely to follow through with a guest card, tour or application because of all the good they see about your property. Don’t lose hope or get frustrated with negative reviews though, as they are also important.
Striving for perfection may not always be perceived as trustworthy by prospective residents. While providing exceptional service remains essential, occasional less-than-perfect online reviews can actually enhance your credibility. Authenticity holds great value, and residents often favor properties that demonstrate a human side, acknowledging that errors can happen. Specifically, there are studies which suggest that when users come across properties rating slightly below 4.9 to 4.7 stars on Google, they tend to place more trust in the reviews than if they were a pure 5.0.
Rather than fearing negative reviews, embrace them as opportunities to showcase your human side. Responding professionally and thoughtfully to constructive criticism and the most dissatisfied residents alike, demonstrates your commitment to improvement and resident satisfaction. By handling negative feedback gracefully, you can build trust and strengthen your relationship among both current and prospective residents. Remember, being human means acknowledging imperfections, which can resonate positively with your audience. Opiniion’s dedicated response team is the key to achieving this goal with maximum impact. While alleviating the time and effort needed by your team to do it alone, we professionally curate responses on your behalf. The result is an unbiased approach, free from the emotions that often come from negative reviews, and ensures highly effective responses.
Self-written replies can sometimes result in passive-aggressive or misinterpreted responses. However, with our expert team at the helm, you can be confident that every reply is crafted skillfully to maintain a positive image and foster better resident experiences.
New Reviews & Frequency
In addition to rating and volume influencing SEO, another element with equivalent importance is the frequency in which Google reviews are accumulated. Keeping a steady stream of frequent reviews is essential to maximize the SEO benefits of Google reviews. The consistent flow of feedback boosts your property’s search engine rankings and online visibility in at minimum the following two ways:
- Fresh and Relevant Content: Search engines like Google highly value fresh and relevant content. Regularly receiving new reviews adds unique and current content related to your property, signaling to search engines that your business is active and meeting residents’ needs, leading to higher search rankings.
- Increased Click-Through Rates (CTR): Positive and recent reviews are more likely to attract potential residents, encouraging them to click on your Google Business Profile or website. Higher CTRs send positive signals to search engines, indicating that your property is trustworthy and relevant, further boosting your SEO rankings.
What About Reviews that Have Disappeared or Gone Missing?
Several months ago, numerous business owners encountered issues with missing Google reviews. No matter if it was new reviews being submitted or existing reviews being live for years, thousands of profiles suddenly experienced review disappearances. The problem became so widespread that Google ended up publishing some support information to address the situation and explain why reviews may vanish from a Google Business Profile (GBP) listing. Furthermore, while Google is the industry’s leader, they are not exempt from bugs, which was covered by Mike Blumenthal at great length. Fortunately, Google has resolved the bug that caused reviews to go missing. However, their filtering algorithm designed to identify suspicious or inauthentic reviews is still operational, and while this system is designed to maintain review integrity, it may occasionally filter out legitimate reviews.
If you suspect your genuine reviews are getting filtered out (a process known as a callback), you have options. The most effective approach is to contact Google support and follow these steps:
- Type “Reviews” in the search bar.
- Select “Review missing” and follow the prompts.
Taking these steps will help you restore the missing reviews and ensure your business’s online remains remains accurate and trustworthy.
To maximize the SEO impact of Google reviews, it’s essential to generate reviews frequently and capture detailed reviews that focus on the resident experiences with the property and staff. Including specific details, employee names, and visuals such as photos and videos can elevate the credibility and relevance of these reviews. Positive reviews play a crucial role in shaping your property’s online reputation and standing out in search results. However, occasional negative reviews can also enhance credibility by showcasing the human side of your business. Embrace negative feedback as an opportunity to improve and respond professionally to build trust with both current and prospective residents.
Despite some issues with missing reviews in the past, Google has addressed the problem, but their filtering algorithm for identifying suspicious or inauthentic reviews is still active. If you suspect genuine reviews are getting filtered out, seeking support from Google and providing evidence can help restore the missing reviews and maintain an accurate online representation. Embrace the power of Google reviews, and with the right approach, you can elevate your experiences, attract more residents, and strengthen your position as a leader in the competitive property management market.