Gateway Park Google Image

New Google Images Update for both Users and Marketers

Between Google My Business (GMB) and the new Google Images format, there are some opportunities. Some are from you, and some are just from being you.

There’s a difference between Google Images and your Google My Business (GMB) photos

For this read, It’s important to know though that Google Images and photos you take for Google My Business (GMB) are different. For users to see Google Images, for the most part they need to click on the image tab or images within the main search results. You can link to them though, including specific images. You just don’t get the SEO benefits.

From Google’s post titled Pick an idea and make it happen with Google Images:

Starting today (Aug 9th 2019), when you select an image, it appears in a side panel on the page, next to the search results. Importantly, it stays there as you scroll, letting you easily compare images with others on the page.

For retailers and publishers, this updated interface also means people are more likely to visit a web page to get information to help them with a task, or to buy a product on your site.

Google, The Keyword – Aug 6th 2019

I absolutely love the 1st point! I haven’t seen the 2nd as much, mostly because I’m in local lead generation and awareness, and only a bit in e-commerce.

Local examples of Google Images

McKinney Roe is in the growing Downtown East neighborhood in Minneapolis. Google mages include photos from the own site, Yelp, the Strib, City Pages, TripAdvisor, OpenTable, Heavy Table, and many more. They all collectively provide compelling images to their offerings.

McKinney Roe from above
McKinney Roe from above

45th Parallel Distillery is an established craft distillery in New Richmond, WI. They naturally have Google images from their own site, Yelp, Heavy Table, and TripAdvisor. They also have local and niche images from City Pages, WCCO, Pioneer Press, and even CNN. The main image selected is a photo of Gamle Ode Aquavit news from The Growler.

45th Parallel Distillery
Gamle Ode Aquavit at 45th Parallel

A year ago August, Samatar Crossing opened, connecting the Minneapolis Cedar/Riverside neighborhood to Downtown East by U.S. Bank Stadium with a new multi-cultural connection including an ever-growing number of Google Images.

Samatar Crossing in Minneapolis
Samatar Crossing in Minneapolis

How Do I Link to these Image Pages?

This may be important for marketers and SEO professionals. These image result links are all dynamic, so it doesn’t help your SEO efforts. It doesn’t hinder it, either. Using a URL shortener like Bit.ly can at least help you measure the overall performance. The image links above are indeed Bit.ly shortened dynamic URLs.

This is just one way to shorten these dynamic URLs. I’d love to hear others that work well for you! Also, the new Google Images format is just a couple weeks old, and is in a different category from the GMB photos that you take. Have you used it to your advantage?

localmn interactive foursquare profile

Foursquare Social Check-ins turn into a Local Data Aggregator

Foursquare has long-been and quietly turned into a local data aggregator since 2013 Source – moz.com. More on this below.

Foursquare has been evolving in local search ever since they were a social check-in platform in 2009. I did jump on it right off the bat, although haven’t done much with it since 2017. My first 2 check-ins:

1st 2 Foursquare Check-Ins

For you privy folks, it’s always been a social connection just like you have connections on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. As a consumer, I’ve always been interested in places my connections visit and always consider these places from that trust.

In fact, in 2015 trusted local Foursquare contributor Ed Kohler mentioned a cool fact about Pizza Nea’s wi-fi access that helped turned me into a fairly regular customer. Their wood-fired pizza alone is delicious and worth the visit. This is just one of many examples as a consumer.

Foursquare has slowly but surely come out as not just a social connection, but a beyond-solid local data aggregator along with Infogroup, Localeze, Factual (not sure on the price, it used to be free), and Acxion (retiring local search operations at the end of 2019) source – BrightLocal

In 2018, Acxiom was acquired by publicly-traded advertising company IPG. In order to comply with the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which comes into effect on January 1st, 2020, Acxiom will be retiring its directory and local search products

Bright Local

Foursquare has been a natural fit for this and I’m sure it’s been their long-term goal. They’ve always had their social game and imagine that they’ve always used this data for their local aggregate data.

Signing up for national aggregate data providers has its pros and cons. A pro is you have the consistent Name, Address, Phone (NAP) information consistently across the web (huge for SEO). A con is you’re more open to unsolicited sales calls from companies who you don’t choose to engage.

In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons. Just watch out for any unsolicited sales calls.

For Foursquare, you will probably find your own business/company/organization when you search and claim yourself. As of now, it will cost you a one-time $20.00 fee to officially claim your business location.

This may also make it easier to acquire the right amount of local citations. A recent Search Engine Land article asks experts whether local citations matter anymore. I’m definitely in the camp where it’s not nearly as important as it was 5 years. Ago. I liken it to inbound linking debates 15 years ago. It’s not the quantity, but the quality. Google My Business (GMB), Yelp, Facebook, Foursquare, and a company called Factual alone is a really good start (IMO).

My perception is that Foursquare has an upper hand over other local data aggregators when you combine their 10 years of social marketing in the mix. What are your thoughts? And, should we continue to add more social content to Foursquare as users to help with the social aspect?

New Google Local Marketing Kit for the Summer of 2019

Google has taken another step to take your local marketing efforts easier and more streamlined this 2019 Summer with their new local marketing kit. This ties in nicely in your Google My Business (GMB) profile.

Create custom posters, social posts, and more from reviews and highlights on your Business Profile on Google. All for free.

From the new Google Marketing Kit

In addition, it provides video and promotion options.

This Google-provided video is currently pretty cheesy, yet gives options including easily embedding the YouTube video within your content such as this blog. As of yet, I don’t know if you can customize this.

Another new opportunity is pre-made (social) Google Posts. They also give you the option to share these on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, plus a downloading option for you to share wherever in your content you feel relevant.

The current examples they seem to have are a bit generic, but I see them useful for filler Google Posts. My mind may change tomorrow, although I don’t see these as useful for Facebook and Twitter. I’d rather see updates that tell more of a story. But maybe that’s just me. Example:

Google Social Images
Google Social Images

If you’re a restaurant, hotel, or any other business prone to potential positive reviews, this is certainly worth filler posts.

At an enterprise level with multiple listings, this opportunity is a must with proper management. For stand alone local businesses, I have a couple reservations.

The best (or worst) part of it is that Google owns all the data. Yep, they still own the local search content you provide. For this, they even own the analytics although they show you an overview in your GMB panel. I only imagine that they use all of this to help calculate your overall authority in the results, and indirectly, your rankings in the local 3-pack.

Google does get info for these based on both content you provide in your own free Google My Business (GMB) profile combined with ratings or your organization.

very-friendly
New Small Thanks with Google Replacement?

I was a huge fan of the Small Thanks with Google Site that gave you free posters to showcase the positive things customers say about you, but the site’s now down. There’s no redirect and is now just a broken 404 page. The above-mentioned Google local marketing kit seems to be the replacement along with the other opportunities.

Google has a pretty strict policy regarding obtaining user reviews, and a lot of fantastic articles have been written regarding this. In a nutshell, soliciting positive reviews is bad. Reminding people they can leave honest reviews is good. Google is now showcasing the latter with new window decals.

Review us on Google
Review us on Google

Have you or your company/organization used the Google Local Marketing kit yet? We’d love to hear your experiences!

We’re Now Google Trusted Verified!

In addition and to compliment our Google Street View Trusted Photography status, we’re also now a Google Trusted Verifier.

Google My Business (GMB)

This makes your time more valuable by having someone come out to immediately verify your business to GMB, take photos and 360° virtual tours, consult you with Google Posts, GMB Insights. So often, people will set up their GMB correctly and adequately, although don’t take full advantage of this free tool for you DIYers. For agencies, we’re looking to add this to your mix for local search services.

When we come out to visit your Twin Cities location, we come with these ready-to-use icons, literally right on the Google Pixel 2:

Google Maps Icons

We forté in being flexible. If you just need GMB verification, we do this. If you need verification plus setup, photos, 360° Virtual Tours, Google Posts insights, and overall GMB consulting, we also do this, and we do it well.

4-hour consultations for you and your business (at your location) are available for this and is definitely time well spent. From there, you can decide to hire us on a more permanent level or go your own way with the confidence to DIY.

Side note: This is proudly available for physical businesses and organizations in Minnesota. Transportation expenses outside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area TBD. We are Minnesota. 

Contact us Minnesota, and lets get verified! Skål!

Pianos on Parade on 3rd and Hennepin

Show off Your Local and Make Your Own Google Posts

I became intrigued with this yesterday reading a post from Mike Blumenthal titled Google Posts Rolls Out Worldwide. You can now own more search engine real estate by providing short, recent posts, right on your Google Local Business Knowledge Graph.

Google Posts

Google recommends these posts be between 100 and 300 characters long (plus a quality photo). We recommend sticking closer to 100. This reads well for the user, plus Google only originally displays the 1st 100 characters in the listing.

For the photo, use one similar that you would use for Instagram. Google lets you crop it and move it around all slick like until it’s just right for you.

You can place a call-to-action to these posts with a URL whether it’s to entice users to buy, visit your site, book a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, or whichever you want your call-to-action to be.

Call to Action

For you businesses who wonder if you should start a blog, this just may be it. At least, Google hopes you think so. You would give consumers fresh, compelling content right in front of them while keeping the content within Google itself.

In Google’s announcement, they give you 4 standard examples.

Share daily specials or current promotions that encourage new and existing customers to take advantage of your offers.

Promote events and tell customers about upcoming happenings at your location.

Showcase your top products and highlight new arrivals.

Choose one of the available options to connect with your customers directly from your Google listing: give them a one-click path to make a reservation, sign up for a newsletter, learn more about latest offers, or even buy a specific product from your website.

Let’s customize a few to the Twin Cites letting customers know of these all while just doing branded searches for you.

  • Local summer road closures – ‘Tis the season. We all see it. Proactively let your customers know of this coming weekend alternative routes to you.
  • Date Specials – Some local restaurants have weekly date specials such as pizza and 1/2 off bottle of wine. Keep your customers informed.
  • Events at local areas of interests – Summers are full of different events at places like Loring Park, Mears Park in Lowertown, Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony main. Keep customers informed and up-to-date on all the different events at the users favorite places.

The list could go on and on. Just be creative.

Note: This can be all done on a laptop, but you can do this all on the mobile, too. Give it a try and keep up to date since this is where your users are going. When using the mobile to log into Google My Business, this screenshot is of a very user-friendly way to create these posts.

Create Post

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, being Google it’s easy to share to other places. curious to how it’s perceived on Facebook so I sent this out.Share to Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share or not share on other places? Will local businesses catch on? This is still brand new so the verdict is still out there.

 

 

LocalMN 301 – Using Your Google Photos on Sites that are NOT Google

Now you should have a good idea how to organize your Google Photos and the basics on how to use Google My Business to submit them to Google Maps.

Now how about using your Google Photos, that you own, and place them on places that even compete with Google?

How about Siri?

Siri uses a lot of business information including photos from Yelp. Your business can sign up to Yelp for free to where you can upload your organized Google photos.

Yelp Photo

Yelp Photo

Of course there’s Apple Maps itself. You can sign in to Apple Maps Connect for free by just using your Apple ID, then add your organized Google photos. Speaking of Apple, many don’t know that Apple Maps is the default when you open your iPhone box. You could be searching Yelp results without even knowing you’re talking to Siri.

The same concept can apply to many other local/social portals including:

  • Bing
  • Flickr
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Foursquare
  • Flickr
  • Pinterest

Just like Google, it’s important to add titles, descriptions and (geo)tags to each, individual photo. As well, you can do these either on a desktop or mobile with their apps. Whichever is more convenient for you.

Why would you do this for all of these sites?

Because Google loves these sites.

If you do a branded company search and the businesses have done this, not to mention your own site, the first page will be flooded with your portals. It’s even better for the user. Depending on their wants, they may specifically be looking for your Facebook page, Instagram feed or even Pinterest boards.

In the end, you still have all of your Google photos, organized to your needs or liking. All of this is a time saver, organizer, SEO tool, and user tool all wrapped into one. The time it takes you to do this is valuable, although the outside costs can be as little as nothing.


LocalMN Interactive offers full local search services which includes this, photography of your business and even overall digital marketing. Contact us to learn more.