Have you heard the latest COVID-19 Google and Yelp reviews update?

No doubt you’re aware of the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in during this COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic. One of the fears that you may currently be grappling with is that your online reputation might tank during this unprecedented time.

Today, we’re sharing the announcements that Yelp and Google have made regarding their review platforms. This information may alleviate some of the fears that you and other property managers are currently facing.

COVID-19 Google & Yelp Reviews Update:

Updated Yelp Review Guidelines

Apart from the many programs Yelp is implementing to help small businesses, they have also released new review guidelines to protect small, local businesses from reputational harm during these extraordinary circumstances.

Some examples they gave include:

  • Zero tolerance for any reviews that claim a reviewer contracted the virus from a business or a business’s employees.
  • Zero tolerance for negative reviews and complaints based on business hours.
  • Human content moderators are checking any reviews flagged by the community to check with compliance.

If you are a property management company that pays close attention to your online reputation and you see unreasonable reviews given these unique circumstances, make sure you flag that review so the appropriate action is taken.

Changes to Google My Business and Google Reviews

Now, let’s talk about Google.

There has been a recent announcement that a number of Google My Business functionalities will take a hit at this time.

What does this mean for your property management marketing plan? It will impact:

  • Google My Business information edits.
  • Creation, claiming, and verification of brand new listings.
  • New reviews and review responses will be temporarily unavailable at this time.

If you saw Hope’s recent blog on Google My Business fundamentals, you might have been busy updating your information or claiming your Google My Business page. You’ll need to expect some disruptions and delays, so be prepared for those.

Why is Google Temporarily Suspending Reviews?

You might already know that online reputations and reviews matter a lot.

Reviews can actually impact your SEO.

Google knows that local businesses don’t need to suffer any more than they are in this business climate, so they’re putting a hold on any reviews until things get closer to normal.

What This Means for Reputation Management

If your knee-jerk reaction is to cancel your reputation management service at this time, we can understand the rush to judgment and panic. But, you want to think about your long-term business needs and the critical importance of positive reviews, especially positive reviews about how you handled your relationship with owners, tenants, and partners during this pandemic.

We strongly advise against suspending or canceling the work you’re doing to manage your reputation. You can still get reviews published when you work with Fourandhalf’s reputation management service. The reviews are published to your reputation widget on your website, and Google can still see and use those reviews.

While Google isn’t making new reviews available, users can still submit the reviews to the site. We don’t know yet when or if they’ll be published, but it’s good to have them in case they do show up once things go back to normal.

Reputation is always important, and your property management company needs a solid reputation plan in place. We are here to help you with this if you have too much on your plate.

We hope that you and your team are safe and well during these difficult times. Have you listened to our podcast episode about managing hits to your cashflow during the pandemic? If not, take a listen.

If you have any additional questions about these COVID-19 updates on Google & Yelp reviews, or need any help related to your property management marketing, please contact us at Fourandhalf.

Fourandhalf helps property managers strategize and implement marketing plans. Get a free marketing assessment to find out how to start getting better clients into your portfolio.

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