Get an Edge in Google Search and improve your online marketing efforts with Google Business Photos.
Google Business Photos is a New program from Google. It is a paid premium product offered by Google only through their network of highly trained Google Trusted Photographers and is available across the U.S.A. and other parts of the world.
Please Note: Google Places for Business has now been replaced by Google+ Local.
Google Business Photos provides business owners with a Virtual Tour and ten to fifteen professional high resolution still photographs that showcase all the important aspects of a business location. The virtual tour and photos change the way a business appears across three important Google products: Google Search, Google Maps, and on the Business’s Google+ Local Page (formerly Google Places). Adding Business photos may or may not improve a business’s ranking in Google Search, but it will add images which enhance the way the business appears in the search results. The added images and virtual tour draw more visual attention to that listing when it is among other search results that have not added Google Business Photos to their places pages. This gives businesses with Google Business Photos a competitive advantage in the place most web users first make contact with your business – Google!
The new enhancements added to Google Search by Google Business Photos include windows that encourage users to take a look inside a business via the virtual tour, as well as a thumbnail of a still photo that links directly to the business owner’s Google+ Local Page. Clicking on one of the virtual tour windows labeled “see inside” brings a user to a point inside or in front of the business from which they can walk around on a virtual tour by clicking arrows and dragging the screen for 360 degree views of the business interior.
In a Google Maps search, there is a big new window below the search result listing that lets users know they can look inside the business. Clicking on this window opens the virtual tour to the right in place of the regular map view, and allows users to walk around inside the business location and even zoom in to see things in the distance. The virtual tour can best be compared to those used by real estate companies to showcase homes, however, Google’s version seems to have a higher level of interactivity and the ability to view the tour in full screen format.
On a business owner’s Google+ Local Page, access to the virtual tour is available in the upper right portion of the page, just below the small map showing the business’s location. When users arrive on a Google+ Local Page with the new Business Photos feature they will find an animated window below the small map which is tagged “look inside.” The animation in the window moves through views of the virtual tour, and if clicked on will bring users into the virtual tour so they can start to browse.
Near the top of the Google+ Local Page is the photo gallery tab. Here users can see any images uploaded by the business owner and this is also where the professional high resolution photos taken by the Google Trusted Photographer will appear. The professional images uploaded by the Google Trusted Photographer will be labeled “From Google.” This high quality set of images is designed to capture all the important aspects of the particular business location in a way that is both aesthetically pleasing and informative to customers. The professional photos marked “From Google” give an air of exclusivity to a Google+ Local Page.
Saving the best for last, it is important to describe perhaps one of the most powerful features of this new product from Google – the ability for the business owner and other web users to embed the virtual tour on their own website or blog. It works in the same way a YouTube video or regular Google Maps do – you just grab the embed code, then copy/paste it where you want your tour to appear. The embedded tour can be set to any dimension and a user can embed the virtual tour to start from any point within the tour. For example, a restaurant with a bar area can embed the virtual tour to start at an entry view of the main seating room on the home page of their website, and then elect to embed a view that begins from their bar area on a different page. The versatility of this feature allows a business to interactively attract new customers in a way they could not do before.
Google Business Photos is the most interesting new business tech product to emerge from Google in quite some time. It gives business owners a really clever new way to advertise and market their business to potential new clients across all Google products as well as on their own websites. In an internet environment where the majority of all searches occur on Google, business owners and small companies finally have a concrete way to differentiate themselves from the competition in a Google Search by highlighting the features that make them unique the latest interactive media.
Anthony & Orsi from Black Paw Photo during a Google Business Photos Session with Focus Camera in Brooklyn, NY