Post more photos on Google My Business and get more calls
Photos on your Google My Business profile may make a difference for your business in more ways than one:
- More opportunity for potential clients to see who you are and what you do
- An edge over your competitors that are less active on Google My Business
- Additional local SEO power
Google gives you multiple ways to beef up your GMB profile, and photos are a big part of this effort. Make your photos interesting for local people, don’t just show yourself. Show your local colors and your integration in your community. This will come back in the form of calls from prospects.
Show who you are, show what you do
There are 5 main ways in Google My Business to show your business, products and services, your involvement in the community, and your community itself:
• Posts • Photos • Products/Services • Offers • Events
POSTS are transient updates. Though they stay on your Google My Business profile, Google will show them only for a week in the “Knowledge Card” (what people can see when they look at your GMB profile). They are extremely important as it is a way for people to look at you while they want more information about your business.
Photos are broken down by Google in several categories, covering several parts of your business: interior shots, exterior shots, your team, your work and your staff at work, and some others, including videos. Videos can also be posted in your updates. These photos and videos will be your face for people who don’t know you. How cool is this?
Here is a partial view of the photo/video gallery of the Google My Business profile of Vanguard Web Designers.
Google My Business also gives you the possibility to show your products and services in photos. Here is an example of product photos showing in the “Knowledge Card” the descriptive rectangle people see when they search your business in Google.
The photos you add to your Google My Business profile will stay there as long as you don’t delete them. The newest ones (here in our example, three of them) will be displayed on your profile, visible to the public.
Offers and Events are 2 types of posts used to advertise temporary events in your business. They can be accessed by clicking on “POSTS” in the left menu shown above, and looking at the top part of the screen. When you “Add an offer“, Google My Business requires a beginning and an end-date. Same when you “Add an event“. These are transient posts.
All of these functions give you multiple ways of showing your company’s face to your local community. We published a blog post earlier on this year about the power of visuals over words. Showing who you are and what you do in photos and videos on your Google My Business profile will work to your advantage when people look at your profile.
Post more than your competitors
Google enables you to measure the number of times your photos are viewed, and to compare this number to the competition. Take a look at the “Photo views” statistic:
In this instance, we can see that over a period of 1 month, the number of photo views garned by our own GMB profile was 6,440 (6.4K). Over the same period, photos published by businesses similar to ours garnered 6,060 (6.06K) views. The difference between the photo views is 6.29% in our favor. That’s not a big margin but it is positive for us. (By the way, the distribution curve with 2 spikes and zero views before and after shows Google My Business had a long technical glitch during the month. It makes no sense that people would suddenly flock to the profile and watch photos 6,000+ times).
Based on our own observations, the more photos you post on your profile, the higher the number of photo views. People don’t just look at 1 photo. If you give them more photos to look at, they will look at them. So the more you post photos in your Google My Business profile, the more people will look at them, and the more photo views you will receive.
By the same token, chances are if you are actively posting photos and videos, your competitors will not be as active. The % difference between your photo views and theirs will increase. Some of our clients garner 700%, even 900% more views to their photos than their competitors. Do you think this doesn’t have a significant impact on what people do after they look at a profile?
Measuring the impact of photos
Between 2000 and 2007, I was running the R&D of a web start-up specializing in building websites for the hotel industry in France and Italy. Our mission was of course to increase the number of room bookings received by our hotel clients, but also to lower the cost of acquisition of a booking. We were running a network of 2,700+ sites, and we were testing all kinds of tricks to make our clients’ websites more efficient.
We tested how to “walk” visitors through the websites, helping them discover the hotels. Along the years we discovered two basic rules:
- Bookings were correlated to the number of photos: the more photos, the more bookings
- People from different countries did not visit websites in the same way and did not book rooms for the same reasons: what we showed them had an impact on their choice.
How can you use these observations on your Google My Business profile to move the needle in your favor?
- Post photos and videos more often: show even more who you are and what you do
- Post things that matter to your local visitors: “localize” your profile; show you are part of your local community; relate your photos to your industry
We see a good example of the application of these ruels in this photo. We posted it on the Google My Business profile of a local (Tucson) retailer of motorcycle-related products: this photo has garnered 942,000 views since it was posted a few short years ago.
It shows the storefront, with the recognizable look of a Southwestern building. It shows who the retailer is (Renegade Classics), what the retailer does (biker outlet). It shows clients are in the store (several motorcycles are parked in front of the store). It also shows what the store sells (product names on the windows: boots, bags, patches, etc.).
All the details in this photo clearly identify the store as relevant to the biker community. The presence of bikes in front of the store underscores that bikers shop there, giving credibility to the store.
Lastly, the sky is blue (like it is most of the year in Arizona), and the light is warm, which is most often a plus in a photo.
Power up your Google My Business SEO
Any search engine optimization specialist worth his/her salt will tell you that Google LOVES when you use their properties. It has become obvious for instance that using YouTube (rather than Vimeo or Facebook) to show videos of your company is helping you somewhat in the search results.
Your Google My Business profile is probably the best gift Google has offered you and other small businesses. This gift is free for the time being, though Google has recently started to test a pay-to-play formula on some markets: you would pay Google a small monthly fee to get a better position for your business into the local search results (the ‘3-Pack’). This may or may not become a reality, but in the meantime, enjoy the free gift.
A good indicator that Google wants you to use Google My Business, and will reward you for it, is they send you e-mail notifications to let you know “your post is about to expire“, or “your photo have got xxx views!“, or “Congratulations! Your post has been seen xxxx times“. Google’s strategy is to draw you into Google and use their properties to make sure you don’t go anywhere else (to Facebook, for instance). Google also loves data collection, so they reward you for providing them more data because it enables them to sell more data.
Based on actual testing over multiple clients’ GMB profiles, we have made two observations:
- As you post more often on Google My Business, your local footprint expands
- As your local footprint expands, your number of visitors increases
By “local footprint”, we refer to a statistic shown in your Google My Business profile: Where were your visitors located when they requested directions to your business?
Here is an example: The map provided by Google My Business shows you the footprint (purple) of the business (red marker) in the city of Tucson in the last 28-day period.
When people visit the profile of a business, they have the possibility on their mobile phone to “request directions” to Google Maps, to go to the business. They can be on their mobile phone or their desktop, click on the button, and get directions from Google Maps.
When they click on this “Get Directions” button, Google locates (or asks them) where they stand, and gives them a route to get to your business. Their location data is recorded by Google, and Google My Business plots on this map an approximate area within which the request happened.
This is not very precise, but it does not matter: the maps shows approximately where your listing was found by showing you where people clicked on this “Get Directions” button. This is a rough footprint of your Google visibility in your area. The bigger the purple footprint, the further away your listing is seen by local people.
A word of caution
This map is just a rough indicator. Only a fraction of your visitors request directions. Not all of them can be located precisely. For instance, people connected to the 4G network via their mobile phone do not access the web at the point where they are physically located. Their mobile phone pings a phone tower that may be situated 1 mile away.
Statistically speaking, the number of people who request directions to your business can be minute (especialy if you are a home-service business and you send technicians to your clients, instead of clients coming to your business). So we never take this map at face value. But we use it to tell us, from month to month, if our clients’ respective footprint has increased or decreased.
Then we can work to continue increasing the footprint, taking specific actions on their Google My Business profile.
Photos are a valuable tool to make your Google My Business profile more efficient. Visuals entice more people to go deeper into your profile. More than words, they catch the eye of Google users looking for your type of business. Because they feed Google’s artificial AI, Google likes them, and rewards business owners who use Google My Business more efficiently.
Photos and videos have to show your business as it is anchored in your community. This is a key rule of the proper use of photos on your Google My Business profile. The fact that Google gives you 5 or 6 different ways to portray your business on your GMB profile, and sends you notifications to renew your posts and photos when they are about to expire. These tell you how much Google wants your posts.
Our advice is to test your Google My Business profile: post every day, 5 days a week, for a couple months. Measure the way your number of visitors increase. Look at your local footprint. Measure the number of calls coming to your business. Based on our experience, you will see a valuable return on your investment.
If you need advice on how to do this in your business, schedule a 30-minute call to have a conversation with us: this won’t be a waste of your valuable time.