The images that appear in your Google Business listing can be great things and can work to your advantage. They’re the first thing many potential clients see when your business comes up in a search. They set the tone and show whether you’re professional or casual, and help potential visitors decide if you’re for them.
Images are especially helpful for visitors because they show what they can expect from a business. For a restaurant, they may show what the interior looks like, or how the food is plated (china or paper plates, for example) or if there are tables or booths. They might also show the outside of the building or if there is a separate side entrance. For services like pet sitting, where there may not be a physical address, images may show friendly, knowledgeable staff performing a service like dog walking, or backyard cleanup, or care for sick pets.
All of those are very helpful, especially if you’re a visitor not familiar with the area, or a local who wants to try a new place for dinner, or a pet owner who’s never used a pet sitter before and is curious about how it works.
Where Do Those Images Come From?
Have you ever wondered how those images get there? Who takes those photos and posts them? Is it only the business owner? Or does Google send someone to take them? Or does someone randomly post images for some reason?
It’s actually a mixture of all of these. Smart business owners post their images, often taken with a smartphone, and post them to illustrate their story. Others hire a Google Certified photographer to take photos, often in 360 degree “virtual tours.” And Google has a program called Google Local Guides (GLG), in which they encourage participants to post reviews and photos of businesses. (Disclaimer: I participate in this program). GLGs post reviews and photos after going to a restaurant, or using a service, and gain “points” for it. Most guides try to take good images, and try to post honest reviews.
GLGs, though, are the wildcard factor for your Google Business listing. Almost anyone with a Google account can post a review, and almost anyone with a Google account can post a photo. Those reviews and photos can be positive or negative about a business, and are supposed to help give an honest impression of a business.
The Benefits (or Not) of GLG images
The positive benefit of good images is that because Google decides which photos to display on your listing (or rather, the order), better, more relevant photos usually come up first. The photos of you performing a service, or your logo, are the ones that often come up first. There is no guarantee of that, but friendly relevant photos have a better chance.
While I don’t know that poor or off-topic photos can hurt a business, they can certainly dilute the story you want to tell. If you post images of friendly staff caring for small dogs (your specialty), a photo of a large dog with vicious face would not help. Or if you are a breed-specific rescue, photos of other breeds or sick dogs would at least make visitors wonder what’s up. And spam photos that have little to do with your business would truly make visitors wonder if you’re even in control of your own listing.
Happily, there are two categories of images on each Google Business listing: All and By Owner. Most visitors easily see where each photo originated, and hopefully that also helps them parse the honest from the possibly biased.
What Images Should I Post?
Simply put, you are selling the service of humans caring for pets. Your photos should therefore include… photos of humans caring for pets. So you should include staff out on dog walks, and sitting with happy pets, or playing with smiling pets. They should be happy, and in control, and the dogs should be looking their best (and/or having a good time). This is what potential customers want to see: you in action, performing the services they’re interested in. PS Your photos do NOT need to be taken by a pro; phone photos look good online, and especially on mobile screens.
Keeping Your Images Current
It’s to your benefit to rotate your images on a regular basis. You may change your services, or your staff, or the breeds or types of animals you care for. Also, your staff may be wearing shirts with an out-dated logo, or you may make upgrades to your physical location, or you just may change the color of your hair. These are all reasons to update so potential clients know what to expect from your business.
How to Add and Delete Images from your GMB listing
To add images to your listing, log into the account you used to verify your listing and decide what type of photo you’re adding (your profile, your logo, your cover photo, or other images). Then be sure your images match the size and formats needed, and upload away!
To delete images that you uploaded, this should help. It will come in handy when it’s time to upload some new images when you don’t want older ones, perhaps with things like election text or folks with dated hair styles, to be seen any more.
To delete images that someone else loaded onto your GMB listing, these are the best directions. (Bottom line: find them in Google maps, call them up on your screen, press three dots, “flag” them, submit). To be fair, it may take a while for Google to remove the images. I know it’s taken a bit when I’ve done it. But it’s definitely worth the effort if you feel the images are not helping you.
Your Google Business listing is the first thing new clients see when looking for a new service provider. The photos that come up set the tone for how they see your business. It is in your interest to keep an eye on your listing, and especially anything that’s uploaded by anyone else. if necessary, flag them for removal as needed to be sure that you are controlling your story.
SPECIAL THANKS to Pampered Pet Sitting, Bed and Biscuits Pet Sitting, and Love and Kisses Pet Sittng for allowing me to show the images in their Google Business listings. Thank you Jay, Donna, and Maureen!!!