You’ve just verified your brand new listing on Google My Business. You’ve set it up with all the bells and whistles; your address, phone number, opening hours, photos and logo.
But wait… For some reason you’re not seeing your logo. Even though you’ve set it as you’re preferred image, it’s showing some other photo. That’s weird, right?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. You and the majority of other businesses listed on Google are experiencing the same frustation.
Here’s what our listing looks like as of 28th October, 2016:
As you can see, there’s no logo, which both intrigues and infuriates us simultaneously.
In true Google fashion, they seem to be completely ignoring the preferences of their customers in favour of simply doing their own thing. It is their platform, after all. Whilst this may seem counter-intuitive to traditional branding practices, what Google is trying to do is serve a consumer with all the tools they need to find your business in real life, providing contextual evidence to build your business up to something beyond a logo.
What Others Are Saying
Mike Blumenthal, author at Local University explains how Google will ordinarily favour images that enhance the user’s map experience stating, “It (Google) will give the image you chose preference … BUT … if it is a logo or a head shot and they have an image that would improve a user’s Map experience (like an exterior view) they will substitute that image for the one that you chose”.
This is supplemented by Natalie Gould, author at Advice Local, who again talks about Google’s insatiable need to enhance the user’s experience. In doing so, she outlines several factors that you should probably consider when choosing your preferred image, including:
- Size of the image.
- Content of the image, as “Google tends to rank photos of real images higher than logos. The more relevant the picture is to the nature of your business, the better chances you have to rank higher.”
- Quality of the image.
What Google Says
Straight from the horse’s mouth, Google writes about this in their guidelines for local businesses:
“Recommend the photo that you want your customers to see alongside your business name on Google Maps and Search. Google determines which photo will be shown first using a number of factors, like how well the photo represents the services or products the business offers. Pictures of food at a restaurant, for example, tend to rate well. Although your first photo preference is taken into account, there’s no guarantee that your preferred photo will be the first photo on Google.”
Well then. That seems pretty… straight forward. Saying thank you seems like a bit of a stretch.
What To Do
We can already hear you saying, “But Yoghurt, what about my competitor who has THEIR logo first on THEIR listing?”
We can only speak from the data we’ve collected, but what we’ve noticed is that many of those companies have only uploaded their logo. But this defeats the purpose of Google My Business Listings, which is to provide the user with useful information about your business, like what your store or product look like.
Some other listings that we’ve looked at have pulled the company logo from directories like the Yellow Pages or the White Pages (which is another reason why your listings should be updated frequently).
It’s important to remember, however, that these things change all the time. Google’s My Business platform recently underwent a makeover that allowed users to set preferred images. For a while, before it was algorithm-ised, that option worked unconditionally. And, who knows, maybe they’ll bring that unconditional validation back soon.
Contextualising your locality in your My Business listing will enhance user engagement with not only your online presence, but your whole business. Google is always working to enhance user experience, so if you play by their rules, your potential visitors will have no trouble finding you using your Google My Business listing.