Best Practices for Google My Business Photos

Diana Trinh | Mar 7, 2019, 2:05:31 PM

9 Min Read

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A picture is worth a thousand words.  It’s no secret that photos gather more engagement, reach and click-throughs compared to plain text. However, not all pictures are created equal. When consumers are looking for your business on Google, are your photos sealing the deal or sealing your fate?

With over 80% of all searches being conducted on Google, and with 78% of local mobile searches resulting in offline purchases, it’s no secret that Google My Business (GMB) Photos have great potential to increase your online visibility. Needless to say, its now more important than ever to make a big first impression when someone lands on your GMB listings.

The first step in getting the most out of your GMB Photos is to ensure that your business listings are verified. Once verified, Google will give you access to upload photos, user-generated content, and videos.

Here are the types of photos you can upload and Google’s Tips:

Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 3.56.34 PM Aside from the logo and cover photos, we recommend uploading category-specific photos:

•  Exterior Photos: Capture a photo from each direction so that it will be easier for customers to recognize your establishment. Another recommendation is to upload photos that show your business at different times of the day.

•  Interior Photos: Capture photos that show what it’s like to stand inside your business as a customer, and also shows the atmosphere of your business in your photos.

•  Product Photos: Showcase the items that are most popular for your business.

•  Photos at Work: Capture photos of your team providing different types of service to customers.

•  Food & Drink Photos: Showcase your most popular food items.

•  Common Areas: Add photos of your common areas to showcase the atmosphere

Rooms: Showcase all the different types of rooms that you offer to guests.

•  Team Photos: Show yourself and any staff to highlight your personalities and give potential clients a feel for what you’re like.

Tip: When uploading photos, think about the type of images that you are sharing - is it evergreen content or is it something that will change frequently, such as limited-time-offers or seasonal items?

Dimensions to keep in mind

 •  Photo guidelines

Your photos will look best on Google if they meet the following standards:

  • Format: JPG or PNG.

  • Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB.

  • Minimum resolution:  720 px tall, 720 px wide.

  • Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.

    •  Video guidelines

    Make sure your videos meet the following requirements:

    • Duration: Up to 30 seconds long

    • File size: Up to 100 MB

    • Resolution: 720p or higher

    Tip: If you have more than 10 locations, you can request bulk verification - enabling you the ability to manage information for 10 or more locations of the same business across Google products, like Maps and Search

  • Best Practices for GMB Photos

    1. 1. Optimize uploaded photos for SEO

    Ensure uploaded photos are optimized for SEO by naming them with keywords and tagging them in the appropriate category. Don’t upload photos with generic file names and instead, think of a proper keyword.

    Ex. Stay away from naming your photos like IMG_9567 and rename the image to Caramel Macchiato with Brick Toast

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 3.30.32 PM
    1. 2. Upload high-quality photos that best describe your business.

    Different businesses are going to focus on different types of images. For example, If you own a chain of fitness gyms, you may want to promote photos of your staff teaching classes or feature the different workout equipment you may have to provide potential members with an idea of the vast number of amenities offered in your health club. If you own a high-end restaurant chain, you may want to upload photos of your dining room area and food. Regardless of which industry you’re in, ensure all uploaded photos are high-res so that your customers can truly see how your establishment looks like.

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 4.44.17 PM

    Ex. Comfort Keepers posts images that connect with their target audience. Most of their photos incorporate a caregiver along with their client and remind their audience that their caregivers are able to offer multiple services - from meal prepping to companionship.

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 3.55.18 PM
  • Ex. Morton’s The Steakhouse, known for their delicious food and intimate environment, chooses to showcase their dining room area instead - uploading a compelling image for those who are looking to celebrate with a special dinner.
  • 3. Stay away from stock photos

    Not only should you stay away from stock photos, but stay away from photos that look too “stylized”; they’re easy to spot and consumers know when photos are too seemingly perfect and touched up. Steer away from those and instead mimic user-generated content (UGC).

    Compare the photos below:

    Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 4.54.00 PM

    McDonald’s photos are professionally shot and overwhelmingly styled. Though the images are undoubtedly photographed by a professional, they lack creativity.

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 12.42.07 PM
  • Whereas Trader Joe’s uses a combination of colorful imagery to display their different selections in a creative way.
  • Though both companies use high-quality photos, Trader Joe’s had their target audience in mind when photographing their photos.

    Another great example is Starbucks:

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-04 at 4.40.26 PM-1
  • Tip: Use Pinterest or Instagram to gather inspiration on possible photoshoot ideas. Combine all ideas into a “shot-list” to use as a guide when taking photos.
  • 4. Curate and upload UGC  

    Did you know that UGC posts shared to social channels see a 28% higher engagement rate than standard brand posts?

    You’re not limited to just what consumers post about your business on Google, you can use user-generated content from your other social media channels to add to your GMB Photos as well. However, be sure to ask for permission before posting.

    There are plenty of ways to ask for permission, though one of the most prevalent ways is by asking the author if you could repost the image on your social media channels by asking them to comment using a branded hashtag to give consent. 

  • Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 4.04.53 PMScreen Shot 2019-03-05 at 3.59.39 PM
  • 5. Ensure photos are properly cropped

    GMB photos are displayed differently in mobile and desktop, so it’s important to abide by certain rules to ensure that your image shows up properly.

    Although GMB recommends that your photo size is 720 x 720, on mobile the photos show up as a rectangle whereas in desktop it shows up as a square.

  • On Desktop:
  • Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 4.44.02 PM
  • On Mobile:
  • GMB photo example

    Based on these varying presentations of your content, it’s best to upload photos that will:

    1. • Perform well in both square and landscape mode.

    2. Feature the most important part of the image in the middle, compared to the top or the bottom. This way, the photo will resonate with the viewer even if it gets cropped.

    Hopefully, you’re able to walk away from this blog post with a fresh perspective on what kind of photos to upload and how to optimize your GMB photos.

    Interested in other ways to make GMB work for your business? Drop us a line, we would love to help you design a listings content strategy tailored to your business. 

  • CONTACT US 

    1. Frequently Asked Questions about GMB Photos:

  • 1. Will I be able to pick and choose which photos show up first? Photos that are uploaded by the business will have the tag, “By Owner” but you won’t get special treatment from Google. Your photos are not required to be displayed first.
  • 2. Do photos impressions help with listing ranking? Though there hasn’t been a correlation between photo impressions and rankings, Google is certainly doing some heavy promotion around photos; their messaging suggests that listings with photos are more engaging and likely to convert.

  • 3. Does having the same photos in multiple listings hurt my ranking? So far we haven't seen any ranking penalties for this practice. In general, it's a good idea to have photos unique to each location wherever possible. But it would be fine to repeat some photos, like menu items available at every restaurant location. Even better if you also included some unique photos of things like the restaurant exterior or interior.

    4. What is the optimal way of saving photos for fast loading time? We have some tips! For website images, we use "File > Export > Save for Web" on Photoshop to make sure images have lower KB and are also web-optimized. We also use https://tinypng.com/ to downsize images.

Topics: Google, Google My Business

Diana Trinh

Diana Trinh

Diana Trinh is a writer, traveler, and food enthusiast.

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