Yesterday Google announced that they will be releasing Business Photos for Google Maps, which means users will be able to check out the inside of local businesses online. Marissa Mayer, Google’s Vice President of Consumer Products, said that Google Business Photos will be released in the U.S., Austrialia, New Zealand and Canada next week, and expanding to additional countries next month. Businesses will be able to either submit their own photos, or apply to have a Google-sponsored photographer come and take interior shots of their operations. Photos will then be compiled into a 360-degree view of the building’s interior.
This feature is targeted initially toward businesses that are searched for most frequently on Google, and whose ability to bring in customers relies heavily on a good impression of its interior. These types of businesses include restaurants, hotels, bars, salons/spas, retail stores, etc. Google did mention that they’re most interested in local businesses (i.e. they’re not currently interested in photographs of chain establishments).
This added feature will go a long way in helping local businesses amplify their presence in online searches. Also, since this service is currently free, it could be a much more cost effective way to give users a glimpse of a business online than trying to create a descent, functional, and fast-loading image gallery on the business’s own website, especially if access to Web designers/developers is limited or not possible. Google Business Photos will ultimately make SEO efforts for local businesses more effective and targeted by providing an immediate sense of comfort with a local business for users, which is crucial in competing with chains or better-known establishments. If users are already familiar with a hotel, restaurant, or store in some way, it will be easier for them to walk in the door.
For additional reading on Google’s Business Photos, check out these articles:
- Google Announces Local “Business Photos” – Search Engine Land
- You’ll Soon Be Able to See Inside Buildings with Google Maps – Mashable
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Sarah is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.