Google My Business Really, Really, Really Wants Your Photos – Will They Really Send You More Website Visits?

Over that past 6 months Google has gone to great lengths to get businesses to post most photos in the My Business Dashboard….

For months Google has encouraged business with the promise that (and I quote): Businesses with recent photos typically receive more clicks to their websites.

Offering up ranking gains or at least more site visits is not typical Google behavior and it seems unlikely that they would say it if they actually didn’t provide some boost. 

Click to view larger.
Google promising up more sites visits in return for some photos? Hmm….

But I just noticed these new reports (who knows when they appeared I have been paying that close of attention) in Google Insights where Google exhorts you to: Post more to stay ahead. Stay ahead of whom? Businesses like you? If you and they both have images does adding more give you some extra bump?

Click to view larger. Stay ahead of your competitor! Interesting messaging.

Just to be sure that you noticed the red cape that they are waving,  they directly compare you to some mythical cohort. And they don’t just want one photo uploaded, they want multiples over time and set up a weekly chart showing you how poorly you are doing.

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Of course you can’t just do it once. Keep em coming!

What is clear is that Google wants you to load more photos. They seem to be offering up ranking gains or increased exposure in return or maybe just more visits because you have photos.

Google never talks rank and yet here they are offering some sacrifices on the altar of additional data and increased engagement.

Are you going to provide you provide additional photos and do you think that it will really impact your web visits from Google?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
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19 thoughts on “Google My Business Really, Really, Really Wants Your Photos – Will They Really Send You More Website Visits?”

  1. And let us be honest Mike, there isn’t anyone with a business like yours!

    No sarcasm, very serious. You have a hand in literally everything local…who the heck else has a similar business?

    Benchmarks…I’ve always been suspicious as hell about them.

  2. There’s nothing dodgier than Google’s use of mythical cohorts than in AdWords – openly using imaginary bids under the guise of ‘ensuring quality’.

  3. They actually aren’t really mentioning “rank”, only “clicks” and “views”…which really makes their statements very subjective. I mean, when they say “…more clicks”, that can really mean a number of things and doesn’t necessarily mean your rank will increase or even that you’ll receive more clicks than your competitors. It could mean you’ll receive more clicks than you would without photos.

    1. I agree. Clicks and views are Internet marketing puffery local marketers toss around like frisbees. Catch it if you can.

    2. Yeah to an extent I think they have selected this wording to keep it ambiguous – after all, Google never really makes concrete statements about what can increase your rankings.

      Definitely something to test though – would be nice to have a conclusive answer on whether it does actually help

  4. @Eric
    That’s totally true about the first statement. It could be a broad statement that if you have photos you get more clicks than not. I agree with you on that.

    But the statement Post more to stay ahead implies that somehow velocity, frequency or volume somehow confers an advantage as opposed to just having them.

    Regardless, they seem to be trying awfully hard.

  5. @Andy
    The question at hand is: What exactly do they want? A photo a month? More photos than other “businesses like you”?

    For most businesses photos are a once a year event if that. Google seems to think that it should be more. How much more and what actual gain is there?

  6. Magical how Google can make a broad statement and the world is listening intently but with very little substance it becomes conversation.That’s power (reminds me of a seen in movie Conan the Barbarian James Earl Jones Told The girl to come to him and she walks off a cliff his comment was “Now Boy that’s Power” then sent him to hang on the tree of woe ) Little off track here but just common knowledge that images and infographics get attention so nothing earth shattering here just always believed good visual is a plus anyway.

      1. Interesting observations as usual, Mike. Simultaneous to the photo ask, they’re asking their agency “partners” to identify what percentage of their revenue is gleaned from website development.

  7. … and what do you have to do for Google to actually choose the photo you select for your profile to appear in search results?

  8. I laughed out loud reading your line about the graph showing just how poorly my business has been doing in the photo posting category. That’s definitely the way I feel about it too.

    I guess I don’t really understand what it is that’s Google is looking for here. More engagement? But where? In Google+, in Search? I post pictures regularly with the specific hope that it will help my searchildren visibility, but I am a little curious about what the end game is here, besides turning me from a bartender into a photographer.
    Thanks for the piece.

  9. One more thing that is missing from the graph but can now be seen if you get a virtual tour shot is if it’s published using the Street View app instead of the old professional editor. And now that the virtual tour publishing platform is being cut on March 31st and replaced with an API (only companies have developed publishing moderators), we’re all waiting to see if the Street View based data will also make it into the fold. The fact is, businesses pay more for their virtual tours in most cases and therefore have higher expectations of results, yet the data has been very vague at best to date with only third party studies that suggest significant engagement improvements, yet the tour data is mostly invisible to photographers and business owners. I sure do hope they provide some kind of clarity on this but I’m not holding my breath.

  10. I ve been watching all this very closely for me the term web deign *city* is used. I promise you the first one or two ranking have one or two photos 3 and down usually have ore, what more if i get their g+ profiles , no posts on the top rankers , my business had 54 photos and 1149 % more viewed stat , i still am not in the top three despite being first on organic. I have citations on all the same places my competitors do, proximity doesnt matter for me . For all this is see one difference , a keywords in the business name. I cant figure that keyword could top everything else , but this is what is seems.

    I posted about this on the google my business forum , it was immediately taken down . I dont think anybody knows what they are talking about. People do study and show data , i have yet to see it in real life.

    I would love anybodies thoughts on this. Since the forum itself wont answer.

    1. @Juan
      The algo is tri-modal… by that I mean that proximity, relevance and prominence all play a role. That being said, assuming that proximity and prominence are equal then relevance is a determining factor. And as you have seen, name is a strong relevance signal. You can boost your relevancy by having MORE citations, newspaper articles, reviews mentioning keywords, reviews showing strongly in search from third parties and appropriate on site links but name is a tough relevancy signal to over come.

      Your post was removed automatically by Google and it isn’t personal. It is likely that you included too many links or there was something signal that Google mistook for being spammy.

      1. @mike blumenthal
        Yes I agree with what you said. I just think keywords in the name is just way to powerful.

        I suspect there will come a time when google realises ( maybe it already has ) and acts upon this in the same way it destroyed spammy back link building.

        On another note with further experience on the google forums, gmb, webmaster and even adwords canned responses are what you get. It seems everybody( product experts ) are there to get points. Sometimes I have had cases where they even mark each others answers as the solution.

        The only place i have really received help from google is adwords phone line, and superb help at that I must admit. ( this being the only thing from google I pay for it makes sense.)

        This too I think will change. We seeing paid advertising move into map packs, google pushing G-suite I think many of the things we got for free are about to be taken away from us.

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