As review sites like Yelp grow in popularity, so does the need for real estate agents to be cognizant of how that can affect their business. Many agents are reluctant to have this level of transparency, yet this is a reality of today’s web 2.0 and not likely to go anywhere. Consumers have been empowered with platforms on with to voice their opinions and give a (sometimes unjustifiably) high level of trust to reviews. Sites like Zillow, which happens to have the lion’s share of real estate traffic, continue to innovate in ways to engage their visitors and have place effort/emphasis on agent reviews, making it easier for prospective clients to learn more about agents.
There are many benefits to reviews and ratings, but to expand on a few:
- Authenticity – Reviews provide a level of authenticity that simply cannot be duplicated via other methods. Long gone are the days when placing ‘Testimonials’ on a site were the thing to do, which only brought skepticism from visitors. To have genuine, verifiable reviews by past clients/consumers goes a long way towards establishing credibility in the eyes of potential clients.
- Value – Reviews give agents a quantifiable value that cannot be achieved by past awards, long resumes, accolades, testimonials, etc. Potential clients can see what’s in it for them, they can relate other’s experiences to their own and how they can gain value from an agent’s input/expertise.
- SEO – From an SEO perspective, the type of link diversity from authoritative domains is a golden opportunity. The fact that most of the review sites have do-followed links is the icing on the SEO cake.
It may seem counter-intuitive to put oneself in a vulnerable position whereby reviewers can (up to an extent) leave anonymous reviews for the world to see. However, the benefits far outweigh the risks and agents should take this opportunity to further differentiate themselves from the competition.