New Correlation Between Quantity of Photos and Google My Business Performance

By Robert Taylor

1.) Should I bother adding more photos to my Google My Business account?

2.) Can adding more photos to your Google My Business increase visibility?

3.) Can adding more photos to your Google My Business drive more customer interactions?

These three questions and others haven’t always been a main topic of discussion within the Google My Business community, but new research suggests that agencies and their clients need to start having these strategic conversations. The team at Brightlocal published a new, lenthy report aggregating data from 45,000 Google My Business accounts across 36 industries. 

For those who do not have the time to dive into the detailed report, we’ve summarized the most important insights and incorporated our performance-based best practices to guide you through Google My Business photo optimization.

Google My Business Recap

Google My Business (GMB) powers your business’s knowledge panel in Google Search as well as your listing in Google Maps.  If you perform a search for your business (a branded search), there’s a good chance you will see your business show up after the paid search ad listings on mobile or in the knowledge panel box on the right side of the screen on your desktop. 

Google My Business entity information on mobile
Google My Business Knowledge Panel on desktop
Google My Business Knowledge Panel on desktop

Google records several metrics within these search experiences and reports on their performance in the GMB Dashboard Insights area. These metrics include:

  • Website Visits
  • Direction Requests
  • Calls
  • Views in Google Search
  • Views in Google Maps
  • Direct searches
  • Discovery searches

Now that we’ve had a recap, let’s take a look at some of the insights we were able to pull from the report.

Businesses with More Photos Get More Website Visits, Calls, and Directions

A unique feature about the knowledge panel is that your photos are surrounded by call to action (CTA) buttons, especially on mobile. When your business is found by searchers, they can easily click or tap one of these to visit your site, get directions, or make a phone call. Displaying many photos that illustrate your business and its value propositions or products can convince your searcher that your business is worth learning more about. 

This data shows customer interactions by grouped number of GMB images, and clearly indicates that more images result in more actions.

gmb-interactions

Businesses with 101+ photos compared to businesses with 1 photo have:

  • 32x more website visits
  • 112.7x more direction requests
  • 27.8x more calls

Businesses with More Photos Get More Views on Search and Maps

The fact that photos get more views is somewhat surprising, indicating preference for photos and hinting towards a possible connection between images and Google’s understanding of the images and how they relate to the business. This may be due to the specific types of industries that have significantly more photos than others; industries where it’s common for users to want to take more pictures and upload them.

Here are the definitions of the different types of views, directly from Google:

  • Views on Search: A customer found the business via Google Search, including local pack results from search.
  • Views on Maps: A customer found the business via Google Maps.
gmb-views

Businesses with 101+ photos compared to businesses with 1 photo have:

  • 27.9x more views in Google Search
  • 121.3x more views in Google Maps

Businesses with More Photos Appear in More Google Searches

Here are the definitions from Google:

  • Direct search: A customer directly searched for your business name or address.
  • Discovery search: A customer searched for a category, product, or service that you offer, and your listing appeared.

This chart uncovers another hint that photo quantity may be considered a ranking factor by Google. Most SEOs understand the relationship between word count/quantity and webpage rankings, but it can also be assumed that there is a similar relationship between the quantity of images and visibility of your GMB when stacked up with competitors. 

gmb-direct-discovery

Businesses with 101+ photos compared to businesses with 1 photo have:

  • 33.8x more views in Google Search
  • 23.6x more views in Google Maps

How to Get More Photos on Your Google My Business Listing

Post Them Through Your Admin Dashboard

The best way to ensure your images are top-notch is to upload them yourself through your admin dashboard. Many businesses choose to hire a professional photographer to take the main photos and have them shot in off-peak hours or when closed for a clean look. With the latest update from Google, there are now sections for different types of images, including:

  • Exterior
  • Interior
  • Product
  • Photos at Work
  • Food and Drink
  • Common Areas
  • Rooms
  • Team Photos

You can view information regarding these photo types on Google’s guidelines here.

Have Your Customers Post Them

User generated content can come from all kinds of users and at times can be a double-edged sword. You’ll get a user uploading well-lit, framed images, then the next will be blurred as if it was accidentally taken while removing their phone from their pocket or purse. Of course, you can’t ask these users to retake them, but there are ways to ensure only the best images from your customers end up on your Google My Business profile.

Set the Stage for Great Images

A simple way to encourage photos is to create an area with a unique background, text, art, or something that users want to take selfies with, and is worth sharing on social media. With this type of area, you can set the lighting and conditions so all the photos will turn out looking great. 

Deal with Poor or Irrelevant Images

This is far too common and an issue many businesses are facing but have trouble combating. We recommend reviewing the Google My Business Photo Guidelines, and identifying if any can be flagged for removal.

Some Industries Have Significantly More Photos

The following breakdown of images per industry comes as no surprise. The Business Service industry, for example, generally does not have photographable products. On the other hand, Hotels and Restaurants have significantly more Instagram-worthy opportunities to snap a photo, thus, have a higher rate of photos uploaded.

It’s interesting to see that hotels have nearly 2.5x more photos compared to restaurants but it makes sense considering that hotels have many picture perfect opportunities with rooms, workout facilities, pools, bars, decor, and restaurant (or restaurants). Also, people staying in the hotels tend to be on share-worth trips and feel the need to spend more time documenting and sharing their experience.

gmb-photos-industry

Final Thoughts on Photo Quantity and Google My Business Performance

Although there has been no official word from Google, the data shared here strongly suggests a positive relationship between photo count, and visibility, views, and customer interactions. As a digital marketing agency, we have shared these insights with our clients and are working with them to generate and add quality, results-driving photos to their Google My Business pages.

Contact Advantix Digital today to make sure you are up to speed and implementing the latest digital marketing best practices and opportunities.