Everyone knows that reviews are crucial in the multifamily space. Reviews — good or bad — can have a huge impact on your bottom line. But it’s not enough to simply have a presence on review sites like Yelp.
It might not appear to be, but Yelp is a search engine powered by an algorithm. This means you can optimize your apartment listing to help it rank higher. And ranking higher can result in more people noticing your apartment community’s Yelp listing, which could signal more signed leases.
And since it’s become a way of life for people to check review sites before doing business with a company, understanding how Yelp SEO works could give you an edge over your competition.
Here are some basic steps you can take, followed by tips on how to kick your apartment community’s listing up a notch.
Include all of your information.
This seems like an obvious step, but not every business fills out their profile completely, and those that do are rewarded. Preferential treatment in terms of ranking is given to businesses with complete information. In addition, remember to update your listing if anything changes, like hours of operation.
Respond to reviews.
Don’t let your page twist in the wind. Keep your listing fresh and show users and Yelp that you care by replying to all of your apartment reviews. (An interesting data point to know is that reviews are weighted depending on the Yelp activity of the reviewer. So a negative Yelp review by someone who uses the site on a regular basis can have the power to bump your apartment community down in rankings.)
People want to know what your community looks like, and Yelp does, too. Listings with plenty of great photos seem to rank higher, plus photos just make for a better user experience, especially when it comes to something as important as deciding on a home. Upload your own apartment community photos and encourage residents to do the same.
Boosting Your Yelp Game Even Higher
After you’ve taken care of the basics, it’s time to add a little firepower to your apartment community’s listing. Read on to learn how to be strategic when it comes to Yelp SEO.
Pick accurate categories.
Yelp allows you to choose up to three categories from a list that best describe your business, but that doesn’t mean you have to choose three. Since we’re talking apartments, the best approach is to choose Real Estate as your parent category, then choose Apartments. If you were to select a third just to max them out, like Home Services, for example, you could end up getting dinged in the rankings for being included in an irrelevant category (and it could get you bad apartment reviews, too.)
Keep your keywords in mind.
Yelp gives you space to write up to 1,000 words about your apartment community, which appears under the heading About the Business. Think of a few key phrases you would like to rank for when people search for those terms (and make sure you can deliver on those descriptions.) Some examples include luxury apartments, pet friendly apartments, hardwood floors, and so on. If you have an SEO strategy for your apartment website, you can use some of the same keywords for your Yelp SEO.
Put some effort into earning backlinks.
Backlinks, or inbound links, are links from one website to a page on another site. Search engines take backlinks to be votes of confidence, and pages with a high number of them often appear higher in search engine rankings. There are a few ways to earn backlinks on Yelp:
- Add a Yelp badge to your website. The badge will have a link to your Yelp page, making it easier for people to find your page so they can leave an apartment review. Having the badge is also a great way to show that you care about feedback.
- Encourage check-ins. Check-ins allow users to track where they’ve been and keep friends updated on their activities. It also allows businesses to offer special offers or rewards to users. Come up with some offers and encourage residents and visitors to check in!
- Put your Yelp link in your email signature. It’s easy to do and it only takes a few minutes, so why not? It lets everyone know that you’re active on Yelp and you care about feedback.
“Set it and forget it” won’t work with Yelp. Show prospective and current residents as well as Yelp itself that you care about your listing – keep it updated and active and optimize it for SEO. Many apartment communities don’t, so you could have an edge over your competition if you do so.
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