Realty ONE Group professionals know the importance of word-of-mouth referrals, and are versed in the more traditional marketing tactics like pop-bys, handwritten letters, and hosted events. But there’s ONE more way real estate professionals have to leverage word-of-mouth business, for years after a transaction closes…
Yes, I’m talking about reviews.
While you may think of reviews and testimonials as an easy way to punch up your website or marketing flyers, the reality is that reviews have never been more important to your business.
Search engine experts agree that:
- Reviews are an important factor in Google’s local search algorithm
- Reviews are the #1 factor for consumers deciding between local businesses on Google search results.
In short, both Google and consumers are aligned on the importance of reviews: Local businesses with strong reviews are more likely to be surfaced by Google, and more likely to win business from consumers.
Here are three ways you can strengthen your online review strategy, and ensure that Google starts working for you.
1. Make sure every review flows to Google
First things first: Make sure that you have an easy way to automatically get reviews flowing to your Google Business Profile. You can ask clients to review you directly on the site, or you can set up a done-for-you service that flows your existing reviews to a variety of sites, including Google as posts. The most important thing is to ensure that Google features your reviews alongside your business profile.
2. Work to combat fake reviews
Next, keep in mind that consumers are getting smarter about scammers, and they agree that tech’s “Big Three” — Google, Amazon, and Facebook — are the primary places where they see fake reviews posted.
Real estate professionals have a slight advantage here because they can, through tools like RateMyAgent, tie their reviews directly to real MLS transactional data, so that the review appears more credible. If you don’t use a tool for your reviews, then be sure that the rest of your Google Business Profile is updated with photos, hours, URLs and other elements that can be easily validated by a suspicious Googler.
3. Respond to every single Google review
Recent stats show that 89% of consumers would be likely or fairly likely to use a business if the company responds to every review that is left. Google, which is known to program its algorithms to better align with consumer needs, takes this into account and provides a “bump” to businesses who are actively engaged with their reviews. This means that it’s not just good manners to reply to a review as it comes in — it’s good business, too.
After receiving a positive review, comment back. Make it clear that you know exactly who left the review, and that you continue to have a great relationship. If the feedback was negative, remember to be clear but not defensive. Acknowledge how the experience happened, and what you will do to prevent it from happening again. Most people understand that businesses can have hiccups now and again, but they won’t like to patronize a business that seems incapable of accepting critical feedback.
Unlocking the mystery of Google
It may seem impossible to fully understand what’s going on under the surface at Google, but at Realty ONE Group the solution is already baked in. Claiming your RateMyAgent is the very first step to bolstering online credibility with Google and local consumers.
For a free profile that allows you to collect, control and promote your reviews on Google and across Facebook, Instagram and more, claim your free RateMyAgent profile today.
Realty ONE Group offers Real Estate Professionals 100% Commission AND the best training, support, technology, and tools in the industry! Learn more on how you can grow your business with Realty ONE Group!