The internet has become one of the most important channels for marketing and advertising. In order to succeed in any given industry, you need to take full advantage of your online marketing options and give your brand as much positive exposure to as many users as possible. When it comes to the multifamily industry, this is particularly true.
In a recent study by J Turner Research, 83 percent of respondents indicated using online ratings and reviews as they searched for an apartment. As a result, reviews that appear online, whether positive or negative, are often a potential resident’s first impression of your communities. An overall positive reputation of your communities across diverse platforms, such as review sites (Yelp), search engines (Google), and social media (Facebook), play a role in search engine algorithms and help determine where your communities rank in search results. By ensuring that your communities are equipped with enough reviews, you have a better chance of obtaining a higher search ranking and organically drawing more interested residents to your communities.
Online reviews may be the deciding factor that helps you outrank your competition in local and community-based search results. In fact, these reviews equate to about 8% of your position and can make the difference between landing on the first page of the search results or the fifth. Overall, the quantity, quality, and diversity of these reviews will determine where you fall in a localized rental search. According to MOZ, these qualities combine to give your page its “review signal,” which is one of the top factors that determine where your communities end up on local search.
Your first task should be to gather as many reviews as you can from satisfied residents, past and present. You will have a better chance of edging out the competition if you have a higher quantity of reviews. For example, in a Yelp search, businesses in similar categories that have more reviews tend to rank higher in search results.
However, review quality is another factor that should not be ignored. In fact, a community with 100 three-star reviews is not likely to fare as well in search rankings as a community with 50 five-star reviews. Therefore, it is important to seek a healthy balance between quality and quantity when surveying residents for their opinions. Also, when actively pursuing reviews, remember that authenticity is important to renters. There’s no way to make everyone happy, and renters may view your lack of negative reviews as untrustworthy and inauthentic.
Finally, search algorithms consider the diversity of reviews. Reviews across different platforms and social media sites will help you rank higher in search engine results—your brand will be recognized by the search algorithm as being more widespread and having more footprints in the digital landscape.
If your communities have few or mixed reviews, you will have lower search rankings and a more tenuous online reputation. Don’t fear negative reviews as a whole, however, because they provide an opportunity to proactively address concerns and demonstrate your commitment to resident satisfaction. With the right mixture of review quantity, quality, and diversity, renters are more likely to visit your communities. In spite of the general digitization of the world the apartment industry still relies heavily on personal connections and gut instincts. People prefer communities that are backed up by thorough feedback from actual residents. By establishing a reputation online as a trustworthy and pleasant place to live, you will see fewer vacancies and more interest—a formula that sets up your communities for success.