Google’s recent announcement that they will suspend consumer reviews during the COVID-19 crisis has potentially significant impact on senior living communities’ lead generation, SEO performance, and reputation management. Bottom line: It means you should focus on other review and listing platforms during this time.
The new policy statement from Google explains, “Our current focus is on the quality and reliability of information on Google Search and Maps. We want to ensure users and business owners have access to essential features like whether the business is open or has special hours. We will temporarily prioritize reviews for edits critical to health-related businesses. At this time, we will also prioritize reviews for open and closed states, special hours, temporary closures, business descriptions, and business attributes edits for other verified businesses. Our support team will manually review new listings, claims, and verifications for critical health-related businesses. While we prioritize these critical services, please expect a delay for publication of new listings, claims, and verifications for other types of businesses to Google Search and Maps.”
Google is by far the most popular online review site, and reviews are a critical component in driving leads and shaping brand reputation for senior living communities. So it’s more important now to focus on other major review sources and listings — such as Facebook and Yelp — to ensure you’re effectively putting your community squarely at the center of online search and ratings for senior living options in this highly competitive marketplace.
According to Carrie Mandelbaum, senior vice president of digital communication at GlynnDevins, “The limited functionality of Google My Business listings could especially impact local search performance if a listing has incorrect data. Google is currently prioritizing the edits to listings it approves as ‘critical to health-related businesses.’ I personally think it is a mistake on Google’s part to completely pause the Q&A functionality during this time. This would be a great way for loved ones to get answers about what the community is doing, and it would allow communities to ease any concerns their loved ones may have in a public setting that would show up anytime a community is searched. It’s already been shown that more people are going to social media to get answers to these questions. As well, management of your reputation and ratings is even more critical for the vitality of senior living communities during complex times. We’re here to help you navigate those complexities.”
To learn more about the impact of Google’s new policy, contact your senior living experts at Attane.