There. I said it.
Sometimes, when a prospective customer looks up your business on Google, the wrong photo appears in the Google search results (via your Google Business Profile formerly known as Google My Business) .
In this post, I’m going to explore why this happens and what you can do about it.
If you’re like most business owners, you want to make sure that your Google Business Profile (GBP) is putting your best foot forward.
After all, this is one of the first places that potential customers will go to learn more about your company.
So it’s important to make sure that the information and photos that are represented are accurate and up-to-date.
Add different photos to highlight features of your business to attract and inform customers.Google
One question that I was asked the other day on a Enterprise Nation webinar that I hosted is whether or not business owners can control which photo appears in their Google Business profile.
First, let’s work out why you need to do this
It was a bit difficult to cover too much detail in the webinar, but I can explain a bit more here.
Here’s one business owner who has a problem with the photo that Google is choosing for him.
“there is a flower bed mistakenly shot by someone and now our finance company is a flower bed… We already reported multiple times but nothing happened.”
A Google diamond product expert in reply said:
“There is no mechanism for the business owner to select the desired photo, ultimately, it is Google who chooses what picture to display. When you select a Cover photo you are only sending a suggestion to Google which photo you prefer to represent your business but Google may select a different one, even one posted by visitors to the business. In that case, you can report the photo as inappropriate following this procedure. If the undesired picture is one that the business owner uploaded, but not the one selected as the Cover photo the only option would be to delete the photo from the Google Business Profile dashboard.”
The way Google explains it is that first:
- Important: Your photos show up on Google only after you verify your Business Profile.
- Once you’ve verified your GBP, it’s time to see what we can do.
The problem that people that many website and business owners are having is that they’ve uploaded a series of photos from their business, but the one that Google is choosing to display in the search results is not the one they want to appear.
But if you’ve worked with Google for long, you’ll realise it’s not always that easy to control what Google does.
Locally to me in Leamington Spa, is a large legal firm called Wright Hassall – interesting name hey? (Sidenote: There’s an estate/letting agents in Kidderminster that I know called Doolittle and Dalley. Funny funny.).
So, let’s take a look at Wright Hassall’s Google Business Profile at the time of writing.
You can see they’ve uploaded a photo of a few leaves on a trunk, which is fine, but I’m not quite sure that’s the best use of space, even if it somehow fits in with their brand.
Ideally for a business like a solicitors, I’d suggest you want to come across as personable and credible with a photo of some of your team.
It’s all about earning trust and making a good first impression. There are so many faceless businesses nowadays, it’s nice when you see a smile.
I’m not sure why Wright Hassall has gone with the leaves and not a team photo?
They have though made very good use of an employee bio video of Phil Wilding, the lead of their debt recovery team. The video humanises the business to help build trust and credibility, and the video is on their Profile to help set them apart. They do have other advert type videos, but those employee bio videos are the most effective for building trust.
A very good effort.
It’s the kind of use of video that I love to see.
Wright Hassall could definitely do more with video on their profile. They have lots of employee bio videos on their YouTube channel, but they haven’t uploaded them to their Google Business Profile at the time of writing.
Going back to the photo, in this case it looks like Wright Hassell may have uploaded the leaves as a cover photo.
That’s important to note, as uploading your photo as a cover photo increases your chances of it showing as the primary photo.
An example of a good primary image / cover photo
Take a look at one of my clients, Bevan Evemy Solicitors.
You can see below that I created and uploaded a cover photo for them showing the friendly faces of the two main solicitors at the firm.
That primary photo helps with credibility and trust right? Significantly more than a photo of some leaves would.
TIP: Get a photo of you and your team smiling. Humanise your business.
Here are my top tips to increase your chances of getting Google to show your first choice photo
So if you don’t have a cover photo yet, create it, and then upload it.
1. Upload a cover photo
If you want to try to control which image appears on your profile in the search results, then upload a cover photo.
Do it and see how you get on.
Remember, doing so doesn’t guarantee your photo will enter that prized position in the search results.
“Cover photo: Set a cover photo at the top of your profile that best represents your business. In some instances, this action doesn’t guarantee the cover photo will show up as the first image for your business.“
2. Is your cover photo good enough quality?
Still not showing?
Google says: “If the cover photo you select is low-quality or if other sources suggest that it’s not the best photo to represent your business, a user-submitted photo may be selected instead.”
Google doesn’t want to trick users or provide a poor experience, so it’s best to follow their advice.
So Google says: “the photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.”
If you’re confident your chosen photo won’t upset Google’s guidelines, the next step is more drastic.
3. Delete the photo that’s ‘wrongly’ showing
If you’ve already uploaded the cover photo, and your photo of choice is still not showing, then find the image that is showing…
…and delete it.
Don’t worry you can always add it back later.
Now you’ve deleted it, does your cover photo appear? Or does Google still decide to show a different photo.
At this point, if it’s still not working out, you may want to wait 7 days and see if Google changes its mind.
4. Do what Google asks
Again this option is not guaranteed to make any difference, but try adding an exterior photo of your business as the cover photo, or as a normal photo. I say this, because you may have to forget about your primary choice, and choose a second best option.
Tip: It’s a good idea to add an exterior photo so people can recognise your business when they visit.
It’s worth a try.
But it still doesn’t work!?!?
You’re having a hard time.
If you’ve uploaded the cover photo, and you delete the photo that’s wrongly appearing, and you’re still not happy…
…you could admit defeat and realise that Google doesn’t like being controlled.
Or wait a bit, and see if anything changes over the next two weeks.
Example: “Google’s just changed my photo!?!”
Here’s another example when it doesn’t go right.
Kevin on Google’s support forums has this problem:
“I am a website owner, but recently the search result photo was changed to something else. How can I change it back?”
Varunprakash, the Google certified IT Support Specialist said: “Kindly refer to this Google blog page to fix this issue Manage photos or videos for your Business Profile“
Kevin went away and said:
“I’ve checked the article, but within my GBP account, I am unable to find the photo displayed on the search result. All photos within GBP are branded materials, not pictures of any individual. Thus I am unable to remove it.”
Which about sums it up.
Unfortunately we’re not always in control of Google, although it’s difficult to know exactly what’s going on in Kevin’s case above.
So, can you control which photo appears in our Google Business Profile?
…and you can’t.
You can indeed control which photo appears on your profile, but in the end, Google might stress you out and defeat you.
But if you try Google’s and my guidance above, hopefully you’ll get a result where you can get your photo of choice showing up (just don’t choose a leaf).
FINAL TIP: Oddly in many of the successes I’ve been involved in, there has been a small graphical element part in the image. Like a logo in the photo, or a gradient, or an illustration instead of just people. It might be a complete coincidence, but have a test and see if adding something like a logo works for you. Unlikely, but when you’re desperate, I suggest you try this.
If you need help with your Google Business Profile or ways to enhance the content on your website to make the selling easier…