Google My Business Advice – Focusing on Photos

A lot of businesses see Google My Business as a ‘set and forget’ platform – created to help search engine visibility, and for your customers to leave reviews (which you should always try to respond to!).  

Whilst it’s true that search engine visibility is improved by simply setting up a Google My Business page, you may be missing the opportunity to seriously boost your online presence by not embracing visual content sharing on the platform.

Benefits of Visual Content

With Internet users becoming increasingly time-poor and expecting of instant gratification, it’s not surprising that the modern searcher is an inherently visual creature – with studies showing visuals are processed by the brain 60,000 times faster than plain text. A separate study by BrightLocal revealed that 60% of consumers stated local search results that included good imagery helped catch their attention and guided them toward a decision. Finally, a study exploring ‘Image Virality in Google Plus’ discovered that posts including images were three times more likely to be shared when compared to posts without images.  

The same is evident in reverse, with a lack of images proven to decreasing the success of an online listing… confirmed by Expedia, who use the threat of taking photos down from hotel listings on their website to stop accommodation providers from advertise lower rates outside of Expedia.

How to Use Images with Google My Business

Google My Business offers a number of different options for sharing visual content to those with a verified listing. The platform allows businesses to upload their own photo or video content, with recent updates allowing for 360° photos and virtual video tours.

These images will be labelled as ‘from the owner’, and Google suggests the following business-specific photographs to “spotlight features of your business that your customers use when making purchasing decisions” and “help differentiate your business”:

  • Exterior photos: at least 3 photos that identify your business exterior, as your customers would approach it (from different directions, at different times of day)
  • Interior photos: at least 3 photos that truthfully capture the ambience and décor of your business, from a customer’s perspective
  • Product photos: at least 3 quality photos that showcase the type of products your business sells
  • Photos at work: at least 3 photos that represent the services you offer, showing potential customers exactly what you do
  • Team photos: at least 3 photos showing your management team and employees to your customers, presenting a more personal side of your business

… as well as some more specific advice for food/drink photos, or photos of accommodation rooms and common areas – for those particular business types.

In addition to the photos you upload, it is important to remember that your clients can also upload photos to your Google My Business profile. Whilst there is little you can do to control what user-generated content (other than to satisfy your customers), you can flag any posts that are offensive or inappropriate.

Once images are uploaded, Google My Business offers handy analytical insights regarding the number of photos and number of photo views, whilst also making it possible to perform data comparisons between your business’s photos against other businesses in your sector.

(Image source: BrightLocal's 'Guide to Looking Good Online')

Need Help Uploading Photos to Google My Business?

Ultimately, Google’s own analytics confirms that “businesses with photos receive 42% more requests for driving directions to their location from users on Google, and 35% more clicks through to their websites than businesses that don't have photos.” Their advice points towards uploading photos that accurately showcase your business, your products and services, and the people behind them.

Of course, not all businesses have the ability or budget for professional photography, but we generally endorse the power of authenticity to your potential customers, who can be easily put-off by staged or stock photography.

If you think your business could benefit from setting-up and/or maintaining a Google My Business page, including advice and assistance in harnessing the power of visual content, contact Cloud 9 today for professional digital marketing assistance!

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