Great online reviews are something that estate agents love. After all, it’s easy to see how a good review can benefit your business: it gives potential buyers, sellers, landlords, or renters confidence in your services.
But what about reviews in relation to their impact on SEO? Specifically, can reviews help with SEO, improve your visibility in search engines, get more traffic to your estate agent website, and generate new business?
The answer to all these questions is yes. Google even publishes advice on how to structure reviews on your website.
And if you’re concerned about the potential of negative reviews to impact your business, the good news is there are things you can do to mitigate this while getting all the SEO and other benefits that reviews bring.
Why Are Reviews Good?
There are three main reasons why reviews are good for estate agents:
- Reviews feature prominently on search results pages that estate agents appear on, i.e. local search results
- Reviews influence whether people contact you when they need an estate agent
- Reviews are a Google ranking factor
Let’s look at each in more detail.
Reviews Feature Prominently
When someone searches for estate agents in your area, Google displays a local search results page. This has a different structure to other search results pages. The main difference is the inclusion of a local results box. This typically appears below the ads but above the organic listings, i.e. in a highly visible position.
The local results box features a map and three listings. Each listing can include information like the first line of the address, the telephone number, and what time the business is open to. There is also a link to get directions and a link to visit the website.
Another feature of the local search results box is that each of the three listings can have a review. This is orange in colour so stands out on the page. Google represents reviews as a score out of five both as a number and with stars. In other words, reviews of local businesses, including estate agents, are impossible to miss.
Reviews Influence Decisions
Research shows that 84% of people trust reviews they read online as much as they do recommendations from family or friends. In addition, 74% of people trust local businesses more if that business has positive reviews.
In other words, if your business appears alongside a competitor who has better reviews, the competitor may be more likely to be contacted by potential clients. If you want people to trust you when they search for an estate agent, then good reviews will help.
Reviews Are a Google Ranking Factor
Google uses a range of different factors when it considers where to display websites on its search results pages. Its objective when doing this is to deliver the best possible result for the searcher. As searchers trust reviews and use them when making buying decisions, it is understandable that Google uses reviews as one of its ranking factors.
Most estimates say reviews account for about 7% of the various local ranking factors that Google uses. So reviews are not the most important ranking factor, but they shouldn’t be ignored.
Best Type of Review
There are lots of places that people can leave a review for your business. This includes on your website if you offer the facility, on some social media platforms like Facebook, and on third-party websites. The latter includes review websites.
The most important review platform from an SEO perspective, however, is Google My Business. It is the tool you use to tell Google about your local business. You can upload photos, list your opening hours, choose a category that best describes your business, and more.
In addition, people can leave reviews for your business on your Google My Business page. These are the reviews that Google uses as a ranking factor. They are also the reviews it usually uses to display on its search results pages.
So, reviews are important for estate agent SEO, they can get more traffic to your website, and they can generate more phone calls to your business. What should you do next? Here are two crucial tips:
- Don’t fake them. Only genuine reviews matter so it is not worth trying to fake them. Faking is not a long-term strategy, your clients can spot them a mile away, and so can Google.
- Do create a proactive review strategy. This involves encouraging and asking people to leave you reviews, responding to those reviews, and having a clear procedure to follow whenever someone leaves a bad review.
In other words, a review strategy should form part of your overall marketing activities, and especially your SEO strategy.