Google My Business photos: how to be attractive for your customers
Suppose you are planning on boosting your local SEO by creating business listings on Google My Business (GMB). In that case, you should think not only about correct business data but also about using the right photos. After all, first impression matters, and it's as relevant in the online realm as it is offline.
In practice, it implies that a business should continuously monitor its online reputation and improve it by all means around all the touchpoints with consumers. Since people often google products and services before making a purchase, your Google My Business account can become the first "spot" of contact.
Why are photos on GMB important
According to Brightlocal study, 60% of consumers say local search results with good images capture their attention and push them towards a decision. In other words, a user will assess your store or café by the images on the web. Why so?

Because people process visuals 60,000 times faster than plain text. Does it mean that they are more influential than text? Probably, yes. While we can't compare the importance of text and visuals (both are vital), photos do have more impact at the initial stages of contact.

Graphic elements are now a must-have for social media, advertisements, articles, and even emails. The reason for that lies in enhanced click-through rate, engagement, and visibility. Even Google claims that people share posts with images three times more often than those without images.

Today, offering users a collection of good photos is a significant competitive advantage. You should do this across all channels, including Google My business that boasts numerous visual features.
Which visual features are available on GMB
GMB realizes the power of images. That's probably why it has several visual features available when you verify your listing. Traditionally, this included uploading your photos to a profile and adding them to your posts.

However, Google went even further and incorporated the option of uploading a video. Later, it broadened the horizons again by allowing 360º images and virtual video tours.

Such updates probably derive from the Google research that states the following: "…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."
What does GMB advice on managing images
Besides research about the importance of visuals, Google also identifies the successful strategies of implementing images to a business listing.

Here are some pieces of advice from the search engine:

  • Upload a minimum of three exterior photos. Take them at different times and show the approach to a location from common angles.
  • Show what is inside: once again, three pictures are a good choice. It would be great to add an extra photo of a common area like a reception.
  • Don't forget to showcase the most prominent products (or services).
  • Give your business a face or upload photos of your staff. The number is still the same: three.
  • If you own a café/restaurant/bar, share your top menu positions (drinks or meals).
  • If you are a hotel owner, people would like to see how your guest rooms look.

That's not it about GMB visual features, though. Never forget that besides you, customers can also upload their photos and even videos. Unfortunately, you don't have much control over them. The only thing you can do is to mark them inappropriate and offensive and submit a request for removal.
How to Upload Photos on GMB
Here, we will discuss the basics of images on GMB. Let's start with the sequence of photos to upload.
Upload a cover photo
    This is the most important one as it's likely to appear every time your business listing appears. Next in line is a profile image (logo), of course. Please note that a cover and a profile image aren't the same photos.
    GMB interface while uploading photos
    Add any relevant pictures that will shape your business face online
      For example, a fashion brand definitely won't need to upload photos of snacks or drinks. However, it's better to show the interior of a store and your team. But what should you do if you have two and more locations? Uploading separate images for each location can be tiresome and lengthy. And here comes RocketData to help.

      In some cases, a separate employee is required to monitor the quality and correctness of the uploaded photos, including those from users.

      That's why we at RocketData have created an add-on photo management tool that allows you to:

      • Automatically collect new photos from listings on Google
      • Display media from all listings in a systematic way (on one page) in the RocketData cabinet
      • Massively send complaints about incorrect media for deletion (e.g. if the main subject of the photo is not related to the location/brand)
      Contact us and we will make it easier for you to manage photos in GMB listings.
      Determine how you are doing
        Google is known for advanced analytic tools that are applicable to photos on GMB, as well. With the help of the tools, you will easily spot the best and worst-performing images and will be able to optimize your visuals strategy. In an analytics tab, a brand can see:

        • The number of uploaded photos
        • How many views they generated
        • The number of photos uploaded by customers
        • The number of views customers' images received
        • Comparison analysis with the competitors in the niche
        So, you can easily conclude whether your images drive enough engagement or not. Moreover, you can always say how successful you are compared to your competitors. This is a basis for further updates and optimization.
        GMB analysis graph
        Now, we will elaborate on some typical questions brands usually ask when it comes to Google My Business visuals.
        — The order of images
        Businesses usually wonder: can I specify the sequence of images, in other words, in what order will they be displayed?

        If you are looking for a one-word answer, then no, you can't. Unfortunately, Google is the one to decide which photos would be shown first - doesn't matter if the photo is uploaded by a brand or a customer.

        This could be quite frustrating, cause even if Google says that you have total control over everything, they still review your pictures themselves and make decisions on which image will be the primary one in your listing.

        The only thing you can do is to convince Google what is your preferred photo for cover. Here a short guide how to deal with this.
        — The types of photos
        When uploading photos on GMB, every brand wants to look perfect. After all, it's a direct way to a good reputation that affects the flow of customers and, consequently, sales rates.

        But what is a GMB perfect look, and what photos are "the ones"? Here are some useful tips to follow:

        1. Be Real and Authentic
        While brands strive to look perfect, they should never forget that consumers want to know the real you. It means that you should show everything as it is, just from the right angle. Try to find the best lighting and direct it to highlight your strengths.

        2. Say "No" to Polished Corporate Photos
        We all remember when companies made their employees put on the same shirts and pose with a cheesy smile. However, this isn't going to work anymore. It's always much better to create a relaxed atmosphere, where employees will feel comfortable and look real. People will prefer not-ideal but authentic photos instead of professional LinkedIn-inspired images.

        3. Avoid Staged Images
        It's better to take a shot of daily routine when no one even notices the photo camera.

        4. Never Upload Stock Photos
        If you decide to try and risk it, you will just attract Google's attention to your business listing. The search engine always looks for stock images and deletes them. And you will need to upload new photos, which means spending precious time on the repeated task.
        — The image size
        Does a brand need a lot of effort to find the right images for a business listing on GMB? It definitely does!

        If a business is prepared, all the work would be limited to examining piles of photos to choose the best shots. Companies that are working for a long time may have thousands of pictures to choose from.

        That's not always the case, however. Other brands may not have enough photos (or any at all). It means that they need to make new shots. While some will turn to a professional photographer, others would decide to do everything on their own.

        Now imagine that after all these, the size of the uploaded photos is too big or small. Or maybe, the pictures are of poor resolution. You would be, at the very least, devastated.

        To avoid such a scenario, make sure you examine the required size parameters before. Once you know what you should aim for, search for the photos that adhere to the size and image requirements. If you are creating images from scratch, inform the specialist so that he/she doesn't have to do the same work twice.
        To conclude
        Regardless of your business area, you should show your customers yourself to have a chance for increased engagement and visibility.It doesn't mean that you should devastate your budget with professional equipment and expensive photographer. Your main goal is to support your GMB "appearance" with high-quality and relevant visuals that will correspond to Google's requirements. Don't underestimate your "appearance" on Google. Take control of your visual information in GMB listings with RocketData, and this will serve you well when it comes to customer traffic to your company.
        Want to save time and successfully manage photos in your business listings? RocketData is here for your business to take everything under control — book a demo to find out more.
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