Google Reviews Are Back: Take Control of Your Online Reputation During COVID-19 & Beyond
Guess who’s back? (back again!)
That’s right, Google reviews. The day has finally come and the suspension of Google reviews during COVID19 has been lifted.
But what does this mean for your property management reputation? What will happen to the reviews submitted during the suspension? Does this mean that things are back to normal now?
We’re answering all those questions for you today.
Google Reviews During COVID19 Update:
Publication of Suspended Property Management Reviews Has Begun
Several weeks ago, we talked about the updates Google and Yelp had rolled out in relation to COVID-19. As you probably remember, there was no clear guidance from Google about what would happen to the reviews that were submitted during the suspension.
Now, we know.
According to Google, the reviews and photos submitted during the suspension will gradually be published online. Those reviews will reflect the original date of submission and not the date of publication.
At Fourandhalf, we checked our reputation management software in late April, and we found that none of our clients had received any new Google My Business reviews because of the suspension. But, this week we found reviews that date back as far as April 1. So, they’re starting to pop up on your Google My Business page, which means the property management industry is feeling the effects of the change right now.
New Reviews and Instant Publishing
So, what about brand new reviews?
According to Google, this functionality will return gradually based on country and industry.
We don’t like to wait, so we did a little testing for our property management clients.
Marie reviewed the property management company that oversees her apartment building. While she still received a warning message from Google that her review might be delayed, she checked with an incognito browser a little bit later, and the review was published right away.
It seems that property management company reviews are back to normal with Google.
Tips on Optimizing Your Online Reputation
With reviews open for business again, you want to make sure you’re doing the best you can to maintain or improve your online reputation. We have some tips.
- Make sure you’re managing the expectations of your owners and residents. You also want to think about the would-be tenants who are online. There’s potential for a lot of frustration from missed communications and misunderstandings. Don’t let those frustrations turn into permanent negative reviews on your page for everyone to see.
- If you have any policy changes or you’re doing things a little bit differently due to the pandemic, make sure you’re communicating that on your website, in your emails, on your statements, and even on your Google My Business page. COVID-19 posts need to be identified within Google My Business so you can communicate relevant information. COVID posts are going to the top of search results when people use Google. You can and should still publish normal posts, but if there’s a policy change or something to be communicated related to the coronavirus, you want it to be seen everywhere.
- Make sure you’re getting notified when a new review is submitted to Google My Business. Maybe you have an old email address and no one checks it anymore or all your notification emails are going to staff members or through a filter. You want to know when reviews show up.
- Once you’re sure you’re getting notifications, block time in your calendar to read each review that comes in, and decide whether the review merits a response. When responding, don’t do it in your feelings. Be objective. Things can get out of hand easily. Don’t stoop to the level of a negative reviewer no matter how tempting it might be.
Essentially, things are back to normal with Google. But, managing the online reputation of your property management company does not end there. Your main goal is to generate authentic, positive, and consistent customer reviews.
If you need help improving or maintaining your online reputation, or have questions about managing your Google reviews during COVID19 and beyond, remember that’s we’re here to help you do. Contact us at Fourandhalf.
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