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The Importance of Images for Your Google Places Page

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One of the important features of every Google Places page is the pictures. Google realizes that and they put effort to stress the importance of the images for the public. Two events from the past week made me be even more sure in that. First, Google changed the interface of the Google Places pages and now the Photos & Videos section appears right under the business description. Then, Marissa Mayer, the de facto “public face of Google Places” announced the official launch of Business Photos.

The last month, Bright Local announced the results of a survey they conducted among 1250 US citizens. The results were more than eloquent – 60% of customers put more consideration on Place pages, which have images. And 23% of all customers are much more likely to contact a business with an image on their Place page.

These results basically mean two things:
- 60% higher click-through rate then the competitors without images
- 23% higher chances for conversion then the competitors without images
Furthermore, it is to note that significant 20% of the asked customers said that completely ignore the Google Places results, which means that only 20% of all customers ignore the images when taking the decision which Google Places page owner to contact.

This survey, although very informative, shows only the surface of the problem. The more important question is “What picture to place as a leading image of my Place page?” The answer could greatly vary from case to case, but let’s make a little brainstorming. What would be the most appealing image for a potential customer, searching for a:

1. Restaurant
a) not appealing – logo; interior showing no people; the chef
b) possible – exterior showing the whole place; interior showing customers eating; the restaurant staff
c) great – a dish or a set of dishes (the specialties); a close up of friends eating and having fun

2. Doctor/dentist
a) not appealing – logo; the building where the practice is
b) possible – the interior of the cabinet/waiting room
c) great – the doctor or the team of doctors themselves in their work suits; a close up of the doctor/dentist treating a patient

3. Florist
a) not appealing – logo; the outside of the shop
b) possible – the florist themselves holding flowers; the interior of the shop
c) great – a stunning bouquet of flowers

Generally speaking, if you are trading a visible products (no matter if it is food, flowers, teeth whitening) you will need to show the potential customers what they could have with you. On the other side, if the product you are offering and its value/effect are invisible for the camera (massage, SPA, medical check up, car repair) – you need to show the people who you are, because if they haven’t heard anything about you, they would be at least slightly suspicious and unsure whether to call you. Showing yourself publicly would be the first step to breaking the ice. Both of these recommendations could vary as well. For a hotel, whose product is a mix of visible and invisible elements, the best results would come if they show the facilities in the leading image.

Spend some time and effort and take nice photos of your business, your products and yourself/your team. I would bet on it paying back.

  1. Yam Regev (PureSheer)
    Yam Regev (PureSheer)06-17-2011

    Important subject indeed (for both customers & Google apparently). As you mentioned, each industry should understand what will be the most important pictures to chose for the Places listing (web site, etc..). From the industries I’m coming from (Locksmiths, Towing, plumbing, construction), we already know that the most important pictures are defiantly not our shiny tow truck or great locksmith tool kits, but FACES (!!!), the faces of the owner, technicians, team, smiling customer, etc.. i mean that each of those smiling faces pics should be taken as a home made ones & not photoshoped ones.
    Also, i think that a smiling face will always have a better CTR than a bouquet of great flowers, isn’t it?

  2. Nyagoslav Zhekov
    admin06-17-2011

    Hey Yam, that’s definitely some great suggestion. I think that what would actually be the best for a flower shop would be the smiling owner, holding a bouquet of nice flowers, surrounded by many other flowers in front of the shop. I’ve seen a couple of such pictures around the net since I wrote the article and it was totally perfect.

    And regarding the locksmiths, towers and other kinds of contractors – definitely it is very important for them to show their face as people believe seeing who they would hire if it is impossible to take a picture of what you are actually doing.

    However, as you know Google doesn’t show pictures in the organic search results already. Very, very sad.

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