We all know how much a picture’s worth, yes? Now picture your marketing without any visuals. You can’t even do that, can you? Colors, shapes, your logo and other graphic images, the way your storefront looks, the physical presence of the merchandise you sell or the food you serve – they all come together to define and differentiate your business. Even service businesses rely on visuals to tell their story.
Google knows how much photos mean to your business when it comes to search. And since Google wants you to succeed, they’ve made it much easier to expand and enhance your Google My Business Photos section so you can reach out to customers through pictures.
Photos are irresistible.
Our eyes are automatically drawn to them, so adding more photos makes your Google My Business pages more alluring and more effective. Photos also add meaning. As a marketer you know your prospects want to find information – lots of information – quickly and easily.
Why make them guess what your business is all about? (Hint: they won’t, they’ll assume you don’t have what they want and they’ll look elsewhere. Your competitor, for instance.) Photos give your audience lots of information, in an engaging way. You can tell virtually your entire business story, without a word.
You might say pictures complete the picture:
- Good: listing your address.
- Better: adding a locator map to give context.
- Best: adding a photo of your business exterior to make it a can’t-miss landmark.
Let’s see how you can put the Google My Business photo upgrade to work.
In order for your photos to actually show up on Google, you must officially verify your business. You’ve probably done this already. Now you can take full advantage of the fact that photos add context, by choosing different shots for your profile, logo and cover images that will appear in search and map results and by adding shots that show your business in action.
There are six categories of photos – identity photos that establish your business plus five types of business-specific photos:
- Identity. Your profile picture is your “top dog” visual. It provides consistent business recognition, on Google+ where it is displayed next to your name and whenever you interact with someone. Do not use your logo here, it has its own section. The cover photo forms your GMB masthead – think of it as your “personality” shot. Choose a photo that nicely fits the aspect radio, 16:9. You can select your profile or cover photo or your logo to serve as your “first photo,” displayed with your name in search and maps results.
- Exterior photos – first impressions matter, and exterior shots help people locate you.
- Interior photos – think environment, how does it look and feel to be inside your place?
- Photos at work – action shots that show you doing, making, serving, interacting in everyday ways. What makes your business special? Interesting? Don’t forget plenty of behind-the-scenes photos, because prospects and customers want to see what makes you “tick.”
- Team photos – introduce the world to your people to personalize your business and build that sense of familiarity so important for local businesses.
- Additional photos – you can bet you’ll have great pix that don’t fit neatly into one of the other categories, so this is where you can stash them.
You can add any of the five types of business photos in GMB Locations, using your spreadsheet or your Google+ page. Customers and others can also add photos here. Think of these as testimonials (and think of ways you might encourage this practice). Your own pictures will be tagged “from the owner” to distinguish them from third-party contributions.
Once you log into your GMB page and go to the Photos section, the dashboard will walk you through the photo selection process and will actually provide contextual advice. For instance, using Google’s own example, “Interior photos help your customers get a feel for the ambiance and décor of your business. Capture photos that truthfully show what it’s like to stand inside your business as a customer.” You get the idea.
You’ll find easy step-by-step instructions online for uploading photos to various Google My Business sections. Regardless of location, your pictures should meet these recommended best practices:
- JPG, PNG, TIFF or BMP format.
- Between 10KB and 5KB size.
- 250px tall x 250px wide minimum resolution.
- High quality – real photos (not artwork), no photoshopping and (did they really need to say this?) “in focus and well lit.” After all, your photos not only depict your business, they reflect on your professionalism.
Don’t forget that it’s important to keep your Google My Business page fresh, just like your website. So while you want photos that make you easily recognizable, you also want to change things up periodically with your cover and profile images to keep your business looking “alive” and up-to-date.
Walking the convenience walk.
As the lead drummer beating the drum for mobile-friendliness, naturally Google makes it easy to add photos to your My Business account from an Android or iOS device using the GMB app. It must be version 1.3 or newer; if not, you can simply update your app. And of course you can upload photos the “old-fashioned” way, from your desktop or laptop.
As a side note, at the same time Google announced the My Business photo upgrade, they also enables another change that could benefit you if you have multiple locations – the ability to set a single primary category for all of them. You have to pick the category that “best represents” your business overall (and why wouldn’t you?), but if you have multiple locations of a particular type you can also pick a category for that sub-group.
So there you have it. More pictures mean more “presence” for your business, in search and maps results and in other interactions with prospects and customers. Ready, set, upload!
I can’t figure out how to change the picture Google displays forst on a listing.