They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to local search and driving online traffic in your doors, a picture can be worth even more. In a 2019 evaluation of over half a million images on 15,191 Google My Business (GMB) listings, BrightLocal found that:
- GMB listings with more than 100 images get 520% more calls than the average business.
- GMB listings with more than 100 images get 2,717% more direction requests than average.
- GMB listings with more than 100 images get 1,065% more clicks to website.
The study also found that GMB listings with more than 100 images enjoyed 3,459% more views on Maps and 960% more views in Search, as well.
If you aren’t prioritizing GMB image optimization as part of your local marketing strategy, you could be leaving serious visibility and local conversion actions on the table. Here are 7 tips you can use to optimize your GMB photos and get the most out of each one.
1. Size your images properly and use square dimensions
For all images but the cover photo (see below), follow these Photo Guidelines to ensure the best presentation:
Image courtesy of GMB’s photo & video guidelines
Make sure that your images are adhering to Google’s content policies, as well. It’s important that each one is a realistic representation of your business, and that you avoid any perception of spam, inappropriate content, or privacy violations.
2. Avoid having too much text in your images
Text overlays can appear spammy and tend not to render well on smaller screens. Google is specific about what you can and cannot do with text on images and says:
“For 360 photos, superimposed content must be limited to either the zenith or nadir (top or bottom 25% of the equirectangular image), but cannot be present in both.
For traditional digital photos and videos, superimposed content cannot take up more than 10% of the image or video, and must be limited to a single edge.
Superimposed text or graphics must be relevant. Distracting superimposed text or graphics are not permitted.”
3. Be careful to not have your head or other key content cropped out
Images may render in different ways depending on the space available where they appear. As GMB typically crops from the bottom up, it’s important to ensure that any content you really want to appear is at the top of the photo.
The best way to make sure your images are presenting to the public as intended is to size them properly to begin with, then check on different devices using both Search and Maps to see how they appear.
4. Do not use stock images
The images on your GMB listing help prospective customers understand the experience they might expect to have at your location. It can help them recognize the location from outside, generate interest in your products and services, show them amenities they might like, and more.
Stock photos accomplish none of these goals. Not only are they useless from a user experience perspective, but they could harm your listing as a whole.
In this GMB Help forum exchange between a marketer and a Diamond GMB Product Expert, the expert says, “No, you are not allowed to use stock photos. If you do not have suitable imagery, then you do not have to include any.” They also point out that doing so is a violation of GMB guidelines and could put the entire listing at risk of being suspended.
When it comes to a business’ photos, Google is specific about what they’re looking for:
- Exterior photos
- Interior photos
- Product photos
- Photos of people or tools at work
- Food & drink photos
- Common areas
- Team photos
Learn more about each of the above in this GMB resource.
5. Don’t worry about geotagging
Local SEO is as much about knowing where not to spend your time as determining what to spend time on. And, while geotagging photos — that is, ensuring each image has latitude/longitude tags identifying where the image was taken — helps on some platforms, GMB is not one of them.
Joy Hawkins at Sterling Sky conducted an experiment recently to test for any potential ranking impact of geotagging GMB images and noted that GMB removed the geotags from the photos after they were uploaded. She concluded:
“If you spend time geotagging photos as a part of your local SEO strategy, I would advise spending that time elsewhere.”
6. Put real thought into your GMB Cover Photo
Your location’s cover photo can appear on your listing and in Local Pack results. If you have not designated a specific cover photo, Google may simply choose one to show in its place. In fact, even if you have uploaded a cover photo, Google may replace it if it contains a logo, is pixelated, or otherwise doesn’t meet its standards.
Choose a cover photo that is clear, crisp, and compelling. This is a great place to showcase your building’s exterior. Use the recommended dimensions of 1332 x 750 but make sure it looks good cropped to square, as well.
7. Monitor and maintain your images in GMB
Every single time it displays search results, Google aims to provide the best answer for the searcher’s query. That means it’s just as important that your photos are accurate today as when you first uploaded each one.
If you renovate your office’s interior, redecorate your storefront for the holidays, or replace your facade, for example, you will want to take all new photos and replace the outdated ones on the GMB profile. If you have more than 10 images, you can use a spreadsheet to bulk upload.
There may be an instance where a customer’s photo violates Google Maps policy and you’d like to see it removed. If the image is excessively dark or blurry, for example, or is of a different location entirely and doesn’t belong on your profile, you can request its removal.
For more GMB best practices, tips for optimization, and resources, visit: