Your apartment’s online reputation is about to become more visible.
This morning, Google introduced Reviews from the web to Local Knowledge panels. The new format will accompany the recently launched best-of lists and critic reviews features.
Prior to the update, Local Knowledge panels only displayed Google Reviews. Today, search queries will also return aggregate user ratings from up to three review sites.
It appears that Local Knowledge panels will pull ratings from industry-appropriate review sites. In other words, the panels won’t just display ratings from popular review sources like Facebook and Yelp. Rating from sites that are relevant to the multifamily vertical, such as Apartments.com, will also display within the panels.
Although the Respage team has yet to see the effects of this update, it usually takes Google several weeks to roll out new features across all regions. However, the official announcement did state that both mobile and desktop can expect to see the change. Here’s an image provided by the Google Webmaster blog that shows how the new results will look:
How Will the Local Knowledge Panel Update Affect Online Reputation Management for Apartments?
While it’s still too early to definitively say how this update could affect your apartment reputation management strategies, you can still take measures to protect your community’s image.
1) Recognize that all review sites matter. The Local Knowledge update recognizes what sites are relevant to the multifamily vertical. For this reason, review sites that may have previously been buried on Page 2 will now have more visibility at the top of Page 1. That means apartment marketers and online reputation specialists have to be even more vigilant at tracking review from around the web. Facebook and Yelp are no longer your only priorities.
2) Respond to all reviews. Plenty of research suggests that responding to reviews raises your overall rating. If you’re not proactively working to improve your reputation, you’re effectively making it easier for someone to destroy it. Make sure you take your time to monitor and respond to all reviews, whether they be negative or positive.
In truth, these are multifamily reputation management strategies that apartment communities should already be practicing. However, the implications of what this update could do to increase the visibility of aggregate reviews makes it more important than ever that you follow these basic ORM strategies now.
Respage will continue to monitor this update as it progresses and keep our users and readers informed of any changes or developments. And, as always, contact us if you need help with your apartment community’s reputation management.