Google, never particularly transparent about how to get the photos that you want to show in your Knowledge Panel, seems to be throwing another curve ball to local businesses (h/t to Lance Moore at Uptick marketing in Birmingham and Destin).
While the image that you chose as a profile photo might show, now when you click on it, you are taken to Google Image search, rather than to the businesses chosen photos for that business that were uploaded via the Google My Business Dashboard.
If the listing no longer notes “see photos” in the lower right of the Knowledge Graph profile image then the images, when clicked will take the user to Google Image search.
The images showing in Google Image search may or may not be very relevant. In my case I am seeing images for my long dead father, a politician named blumenthal, a uniform stored named Blumenthal, some images from blog posts and who knows what else.
If this is a new feature, I can sum up my thoughts on it very succinctly:
A business should be able to put photos of itself and they should have some measure of control over those photos. Taking users to random photos is bad for everyone. Do businesses need one more reputation management/(stupid) SEO task on their plate?
If this is more than a test then shouldn’t businesses be advised? At some point, this change MIGHT make sense.
But businesses that have focused on uploading images to the GMB now need to think about being sure that their images on their website are actually the ones that Google should show. It seems a lot to ask of most small businesses. And they need to be aware that images from around the web could be showing thus creating both a new SEO obligation PLUS a new reputation management concern.
The change has not occured to hotel Knowledge Panel images nor big brands like Target and Best Buy. And for now, images in the Local Finder still reference the GMB and Maps images. The change seems to be impacting SMB Knowledge Panels only at this point.