When it comes to managing your apartment online reputation, it can be easy to sink a lot of time into building a collection of great apartment reviews on all of the major review sites as well as the Multifamily-specific ones, such as Apartments.com.
But not all apartment review platforms are created equally. If you only have a few hours per week to devote to your apartment reputation management, you can work smarter, not harder, by focusing your efforts on your apartment Google My Business listing.
First, Google is the No. 1 review site, outpacing rivals like Facebook and Yelp. Convenience could play a factor in Google’s prominence — 4 billion people across the world already have a Google account, so users can easily leave reviews for businesses without the hassle of signing into a separate review platform. If you’ve noticed that your community receives more apartment reviews on Google than any other platform, this could be why.
And because GMB is a Google product, the information you add to your apartment GMB listing can directly influence how your community appears in apartment search results.
In this post, we’ll go over the importance of using GMB to improve your apartment online reputation and strengthen your apartment brand.
What is Google My Business?
Google My Business, or GMB, is a free, easy-to-use tool that gives businesses the ability to create and manage their online presence on Google.With GMB, you can add your apartment community to Google Maps; update your business information like hours of operation and any COVID-related requirements; post photos and videos; share special move-in offers; book tour appointments; and interact with current residents and prospects through Google Reviews.
Increasingly, renters are bypassing apartment websites and getting the information they need directly from apartment GMB listings. It’s easy to connect directly with potential renters through GMB, too — prospects can call your community by simply tapping the “call” button in the listing.
And because apartment communities are local, brick-and-mortar businesses, you can also get listed in Google’s 3-Pack. These search results listings are at the top of the page in a special list accompanied by a map, and they’re triggered when Google determines that a user is looking for something in a particular geographic area.
Managing Apartment Google Reviews
Google reviews strongly influence how prospects view your community, and reviews influence how Google views your community. If you have a lot of positive apartment reviews, Google will give your community a boost in apartment search rankings. Conversely, community listings with more negative apartment reviews won’t have the same visibility.
To help your community keep track of apartment review activity, Google My Business will notify you of new reviews via email. You can click through to your reviews from that email, or you can click on the Reviews tab on your GMB home page. From there, you’ll be taken to your dashboard, which lets you filter your apartment reviews by “replied” or “haven’t replied.”
Responding to your apartment GMB reviews, no matter if they’re positive or negative, is a crucial part of managing and protecting your apartment brand and reputation. Take the time to write a personalized reply to each apartment review, and avoid using templates, as they can come across as insincere.
Improving Your Online Reputation on Google
In order for your apartment reviews to appear in Google search results and include your aggregated star rating, your community appears to need at least five reviews. The goal is to get as many five-star apartment reviews as possible, but that doesn’t guarantee you a five-star overall apartment rating.
This is because Google considers other factors when assigning an overall rating, but the company is famously vague when explaining how its algorithms work. It appears that Google may be using estimates and projections when assigning an overall star rating for businesses that don’t have many reviews yet.
Still, there are steps you can take to improve your apartment Google ratings and, in turn, strengthen your apartment brand:
Provide a great living experience. To shine on Google, a community should offer top-notch service and a comfortable place to call home, then make it as simple as possible for residents to spread the word.
Ask residents to review your community. The more positive apartment reviews you have, the better. They will help you achieve an overall apartment rating that accurately reflects your existing reviews instead of relying on Google’s algorithm.
Make it easy for residents to review you. Share a link to a page where residents can write an apartment review. You can add it to your apartment website, post it across your social media platforms, or send it in an email to your residents.
Carefully consider all feedback. Keep an eye out for patterns in your reviews, good and bad. These insights are valuable — they can give you a roadmap to improving your residents’ living experience, which can ultimately help you get more positive apartment reviews.
Use a service like Respage’s Review Booster. This artificial intelligence-powered technology integrates with your property management software. It interacts with your residents, asks them for a Google apartment review, and then takes them to Google, where they can leave their feedback. The resident feedback is stored in Respage’s Dashboard and compiled into a comprehensive report that marketers and property managers can use to improve their overall performance.
GMB is a powerful tool that you can use to greatly improve your apartment reputation on Google. Reviews on Google carry more weight than reviews on other platforms because they have a direct impact on your search engine rankings. So, in order to win at the reviews game and achieve greater visibility online, you need to give residents a wonderful living experience and make it simple for them to share their glowing apartment feedback with the world. Respage is leading the charge with innovation and is changing the game in Apartment Reputation Management and Growth. Talk to us to learn how we can help your community.