Over the last couple of years, Google has made a significant push to improve Local Search. They’ve played with the Local 3-pack, launched and improved their Google My Business Listing Pages with more complete information, started applying local context to search, and developed the Google My Business Knowledge Panel.
A few months ago, Barry Schwartz wrote about a subtle change on Search Engine RoundTable for Local Guides (their program to continue soliciting ongoing contributions from the community to improve local search). Local Guides would be prompted to include a photo or video in their Google My Business Reviews. The change came and went without much fanfare.
Earlier this week, I noticed that the normal unpopulated dialogue box that opened when you clicked ‘Write a Review’ had a subtle difference.
So What’s Changed With The Google My Business Reviews Dialogue Box?
Previously, the review dialogue box simply requested the reviewer to select their star ratings, and prompted them to review their experience.
But as of this week, Reviewers are now also prompted to include a photo or video in their review.
With the current online marketing obsession for video content, it makes sense that Google would encourage reviewers to enhance their reviews with visuals. From their new support article that provides some photo and video guidelines, “Pictures are worth 1000 words.”
You can see the entire Review Photo/Video guidelines below.
Curious as to whether photos posted with reviews were associated with the reviewer, I decided to experiment.
I found an old review I had left at the Barnes and Noble from which I sometimes work remotely. I selected the option to edit the post and added my photo. I went back to the reviews to see if my photo was beneath my review, but alas, this is what I saw –
So as of now, it looks like the photos or videos you post when writing a review are not connected to the review and just added to the GMB listing photo gallery.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google eventually modify their presentation of reviews by including the images or videos of the reviewer. There’s a certain validation for ‘getting credit’ for the photo that reviewers would most likely appreciate.
The photo/video review option has now been rolled out to all users (not just Local Guides), highlighting another way in which Google is continuing to enhance Local Search. If anything, this subtle change could help Local Businesses get more photos on their GMB listings which will benefit their search rankings.