86% of consumers are using Google Maps to look up local businesses. Once they reach the search results page they scroll through a few business's photos, ratings and reviews to get a quick overview and then make their decision. As a business, you only have a short window to make a positive impression on the customer, set the expectation about what their experience will be like, and ultimately win their business.Making a great impression starts with what people see when they come across your listing. When customers are doing a local search, they are trying to understand what their experience will be like. There are two major elements that provide this information. The first is reviews….what experiences are other people having? The second are photos, specifically your Preferred Photo. This is the first photo that potential customers will see that represents your business.
Old Google listings with Preferred Photo of Google Street View:
New Google listings with interior Preferred Photo:
As a business, it is important to showcase what the true experience will be like when a customer comes in the door. Google recently conducted a survey on the interior photos and found click-through rates on Google are 35% higher when business listings have phtoto and interior photos/virtual tours are twice as likely to generate interest. Google knows consumers would rather see what your business actually looks like rather than a map or even your logo and they are reflecting this with their local SERP’s.
Even earlier this month we saw another change in the Google 3 Local Pack: images of the business replacing the click to call icon. This display update was initially implemented for restaurants, hotels, retail and service industries. Another tactic by Google to keep the searchers in the local search finder and in Google.
Jewelry Appraisals searched last month: Jewelry Appraisal search this month:
A couple years ago, Google started pushing to take pictures of the inside of stores recognizing that was a better way for consumers to decide what the experience would be like. Now, they are starting to use them! Google is trending away from using businesses’ logos as their profile pictures, and instead are showing more and more pictures from inside the store. Across multiple different local search tests we conducted, these photos were getting priority in the search results.
For example, when I search on Google “fast food” I used to get tons of brand images and now all that fills my maps are pictures from the inside of businesses:
For those that do not have customer interior pictures on their GMB listings, Google is leaving the preferred photo as the previous photo whether that be a brand image or simply the Google Street View. NOTE: We have seen this trend towards interior images show up for the food (fast food, restaurants, grocery stores) and retail stores yet nothing for the auto or professional services industry (doctors, dentists, banks).
As Google typically rolls out these updates in waves, we expect the unaffected industries to have their interior photos displayed in the near future. Let us know if you have seen these changes on your Google Maps or across any other industries!
If you would like to have Google take interior photos for you, contact them here: https://www.google.com/streetview/hire/
If you’re a chain and you don’t have a software solution monitoring your brand at the local level, you likely have no idea what’s on your Google listings. Schedule a free brand audit with us today and we will show you exactly what comes up in all search results and how to optimize them.