Google Business Photos: Yes, They’re (Still) Important
Google Business Photos, if you don’t know, are indoor shots of your company that you can have on your Google Places listing if you so choose (it’s a pilot program, and is nowhere near widespread). But these aren’t just your average photos – they’re images that can be turned 360 degrees so that a potential customer can really get a feel for your establishment. Especially if you are a restaurant owner, these photos can have a significant impact on your listing, as many would-be diners like to scout out where they’re going to be eating dinner before it’s even lunch time. Business Photos assure these potential customers that you have a clean, stylish and fun atmosphere where they and their friends can wine and dine and enjoy an evening out. Even if you are not a restaurant owner, though, these photos can go a long way towards proving your trustworthiness both to Google and to your potential customers, since you are being open and are showing off your interior space. It adds another layer of authoritativeness and authenticity to your Places listing.
This is an image of ESI’s own conference room, and the type of image you might see as a “Business Photo” (if it were taken by a “Trusted Photographer” with a real camera and not by me with an iPhone, and if it were a panoramic, 360 degrees rotatable image, of course!).
What Has Changed with Google Business Photos?
Remember back in May when we first introduced Google Business photos? Back then, if you wanted to incorporate business photos into your Google Places listing, you had to first wait for a Google photographer to come to your business and take the pictures. Though you could upload your own photos in addition to the ones taken by the Googlers, the main images had to be taken by them. As Google put it way back in April, “Place Pages currently feature images from business owners and third-party sources, but we wanted to supplement those with additional photos taken by Google photographers to provide consumers with more ways to get a sense of what awaits them when they step through the door of a business.” Though many a business was scrambling to take part, the program was only available in limited cities (this is still true, as the “Trusted Photographers” program is only available in 14 cities in America, as well as in France, the UK, New Zealand and Australia).
How Does This Work?
Now, Google has a website that acts as a resource for those businesses that wish to partake in the Business Photos program. On this website, you can search for a “Google Trusted Photographer,” who you, as the business owner, can interact with, work out a price with, and pay for a photo shoot of your offices. As Google highlights, not only does this make the process easier and more streamlined for businesses looking to partake in Business Photos, but it also supports local photographers (I wonder how they become Google Trusted Photographers?). The photographer then uploads your photos to Google, and voila! You have panoramic, 360-degree views of your business on your Google Places listing (as well as on Google Maps and Google.com).
As we were before, we’re of the opinion that Google Business photos are important- though they are only available in limited locations now, we wouldn’t be surprised if eventually they were integrated somehow with Google + and the Google Places ranking algorithm.
Looking for more information about Google’s pilot program, Google places, or search engine optimization? Looking to learn about social media and other interactive marketing tools that are up and coming in 2012? Return to our blog regularly for updates, free tips and more. Give us a call at 770-481-1766 if you have questions that are more specific to your business.