Reviews Are Even More Important For Your GMB Now That Customers Can Add A Photo At The Same Time

Okay, so we all know (by now) that getting reviews for your business is very important.  Google just improved the process, and value in our opinion, by allowing photos to be uploaded with reviews on your Google My Business listing.  This is a great new option and can have a positive impact on your listing visibility and ranking in the map pack.  In this episode we discuss the importance of this new feature, and how you can leverage it to maximize the benefits for your GMB and your business!

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  • You can now have photos submitted by users when they leave you a Google My Business review
  • Photos that are uploaded with reviews are a great double dip, to get a review and a photo at the same time
  • Google can tell what is a stock photo and what is original
  • Getting these original photos uploaded by users is a great engagement signal for your Google My Business listing
  • Make sure you have a plan to ask customers for a review, to get more reviews
  • Add a script or process to ask for photos to be included in the review by your customers

Here is the transcription from Episode 64 You Can Now Upload Photos When Leaving A Review On Google My Business Listings;

Jesse Dolan: Welcome back to Local SEO Tactics, where we bring you tips and tricks to help you get found online. I’m your host, Jesse Dolan here again with Bob Brennan in studio and all of its glamour. Happy to bring you guys some more content here talking about SEO. In this episode here, we’re going to be talking about reviews. It’s been a while since we really talked about reviews. If you’ve been listening to this podcast, you know it’s an extremely important part of your SEO. We’ve dedicated multiple episodes to this. We’ve talked about the importance of getting reviews. I should pause; We’re talking about reviews on your Google My Business Profile to be specific. Getting reviews on Yelp, getting reviews on Google and all that stuff’s great, but as many as you can direct to your GMB, your Google My Business, getting reviews there is what I’m talking about here and what we’re talking about for these previous episodes.

So anyways, we’ve talked about the importance of getting them, some tactics on how to get more of them. We’ve talked about how to leverage those reviews, if you want to maybe enter into another sector of business that you haven’t done before, review clout is what we talked about on that. And I’m going to link to all of those in the show notes for anybody maybe jumping in and not having that history. It’s important to get some of that context for why reviews are so important for your SEO because reviews in the SEO world, you’re not doing anything to your website, you’re not doing anything for optimization or keywords or things like that directly. But they do have benefits to your rankings and your conversions and overall your business, which at the end of the day, we’re talking about SEO here to, like we’ve said before, make your phone ring and your email ding. And reviews are an extremely important part of having that happen.

So I’m not going to get into all those features and benefits of the GMB reviews and everything else. But please, if you haven’t, check those previous episodes out to really set you up right on this. So, what we’re talking about here today is getting photos submitted with your reviews. That’s a new feature. I’m trying to remember if it’s been in the last few weeks or a month or so here. It came out a little bit ago, but with coronavirus, here it is June 15th when we’re recording this episode. Reviews in your Google My Business pretty much ground to a halt for a few months there. And it’s all released now. If you’ve been getting reviews, you’ve probably noticed that as you get them, they’re published, they’re not being held back. So things are kind of back to normal on that front.

So we wanted to make sure we highlight one of those newer features that’s been released with reviews recently, which is getting a photo uploaded with it. So, we’re going to talk about that as a feature, how to leverage that, and the benefits that you can gain in doing that here. Before we go there totally, I have to mention, if you have not used our free instant SEO audit tool, go onto the website, I think Bob’s doing it right now if you’re watching on the video, he’s going to run an audit right now. And plug in your website, page or a competitor page, and plug in your keyword that you want to score it against. And it’s going to give you a great punch list of all the areas on site of your webpage or your competitor’s page that you’re looking for how it’s optimized for that keyword and give you a punch list at the bottom for things to tackle and take care of that.

And again, it’s free. Use it as much as you want, meaning if you get a score of let’s say 50 out of 100, you make some tweaks and some changes, go back. See what it upgraded you. Maybe you’re at 70 now, and how it changes. So, use that as often as you want, totally free,, top right corner, big yellow button, instant SEO audit, check that out.

Bob Brennan: That’s where it begins.

Jesse Dolan:   That’s where it begins. Back to the topic at hand, which is getting reviews. So, what’s cool about this is you want to get as many reviews as you can. But now customers, clients, whatever can attach a photo to that review. And that photo gets populated on your Google My Business profile for photos. And we’ve also talked in previous episodes the importance of getting photos uploaded to your GMB. So kind of in the past, customers could leave a review. Customers could submit a photo independently of each other. Both are great benefits. Keep doing both of them, even if you can’t get a review with a photo here. But the new thing now is when somebody leaves a review, they can also attach a photo with it.

So, I’m going to talk about some of the benefits of a photo hitting your GMB. Then we’re going to come back to some ideas on how you can encourage customers to do a photo at the same time. But the benefits of that photo are going to be first, Google knows now with their advanced machine learning and AI. They know what a stock photo is or a photo may be taken off your website and things like that versus original content. They can not only know that it’s stock photo or not, they can also identify elements within that photo. So they can draw relevancy.

So if you’re selling red balloons and a customer’s going to upload a photo, I mean, you want to get them to take a photo of their red balloon because Google will be able to recognize it’s a balloon and that it’s red. I’m using a stupid simple example there, but quite frankly, it’s called Google vision AI, we’ve mentioned it on the show multiple times. That technology is out there and Google is using that to help understand the intent of searches and kind of match what Bob might be searching for with the results they’re going to provide to him, because again, to reiterate at the end of the day, that’s where Google makes money is being a good search engine that we use to find things. So the more they can do to evolve and adapt to make sure they’re giving you what you’re looking for, you’re going to keep coming back, and then they can charge advertisers to advertise on there. And that’s how they make their money, ultimately.

So in using the photo AI that they’ve developed, they can really start to understand more about what a business is and what a business has, not just what we’re typing into our web pages, but by analyzing the images that are on our website or on our GMBs. So that’s important to know because, you say, well, why does a photo matter? Who cares? Google cares. And they’re using that photo just like the text and the review to parse out who you are, what you do, and then match you with people that are searching.

Bob Brennan: And they want to see that customer engagement.

Jesse Dolan:  Yeah. Even more so, absolutely. That is a great point. That’s a great point because if people are doing that, they’re way more engaged. I suppose, to break that down, you can leave just a star rating and not even have to type out a review, right?

Bob Brennan: Right.

Jesse Dolan:  That’d be like minimal engagement let’s say. Star rating plus typed out review. And then add a photo to the end, we’re going to third option. Yeah, you’re way more engaged as a customer.

Bob Brennan: And when you say AI, I think my mind goes to a place where it’s 2000 Space Odyssey or whatever the deal is and it’s just this super, and don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it’s sophisticated. In some ways, you can define AI as did they leave a star review, did they write something and did they take a picture. It’s as simple as that. What you’re talking about in terms of recognizing stock photography or pre-made photography, that’s sophisticated and pretty cool. But it can’t be as simple as this is the level of engagement. I think what they’re trying to prove out is how much of this is legit. And more legitimate it is, the more legitimate your business is, and therefore, we’ll give you higher rank within the three pack for instance.

Jesse Dolan: Correct. I think you bring up a good point too, and I’ve had this talk with customers. Artificial intelligence, and if you heard me, I say AI/machine learning. I actually like that, machine learning, I think is more descriptive and helps people understand because it’s not some actual intelligent or sentient kind of robot in the background doing this. It’s more about instead of 100 human beings mashing on a type keyboard, not a typewriter, but a keyboard, you can program the computer to do these functions way quicker and parse out that data. And if you have a machine do something over and over and over and over again enough, they’ll understand where anomalies and variations come in and then be able to kind of adapt. And that’s the learning part of the machine there.

So yeah, we’re not talking about any kind of sophisticated intelligence compared to our brains. What we’re talking about is something that can kind of really analyze and assess things and make assumptions better. So very good point to make. So again, using that machine learning and that AI, yeah, they can see that you’re a legitimate business, they can see what your business is about. I’ve used the example before, we have multiple times the searcher intent. If I’m searching for a wedding band, do I mean the musical band that plays at my wedding, or do I mean the ring that goes on the finger. A photo of those two things, if you can imagine, and if Google could understand, those two photos, which they can now, that makes that intent not even a guess anymore. If people are uploading photos of your band playing at weddings, Google will definitely get more relevance and knowledge about you being in a band, not selling rings.

So, that’s kind of the importance of the photo, attaching in that regards for the visual part. There’s also some location data that passes through on that photo. Now there’s definitely some speculation out there in the SEO world on how much of that actually passes through. But that data is real. If you take a picture on your phone, there’s like a, I guess it’s called like a GPS coordinates stamp that’s on there that tells date, time, location. And that’s relevant too if you do field service for your customers or maybe you provide tours or limousine service or things like that. In that case, you can kind of help define your service area. If you’re getting photos all around the metro area or certain radius, Google can also understand your customers are kind of in the zone.

If you have a storefront where people are coming to you, they’re showing that multiple people are coming there and kind of originating from the same spot. So, it’s not just the actual image part, it’s some of that micro data that’s attached to that file as well that’s going to be relevant.

So, that’s kind of the background on attaching photos with the reviews, kind of some of the technical stuff on how Google sees that and what it means. Now we want to shift gears a little bit and talk about how to get photos with those reviews. So, first things first is you have to have a plan like we’ve talked before to get a review. It should be a goal pretty much what every customer would just say, not to be too overbearing for people.

Bob Brennan: Yeah. You got to ask every customer because would you say six out of 10 people have a Gmail account maybe?

Jesse Dolan:  Yeah. That’s a good number. More than you might think.

Bob Brennan:  It’s a process. If you ask 10 people, hopefully six have a Gmail account, and now those six, hopefully four will leave a review. It’s a numbers game. If you don’t ask or if you just wish they’d leave a review because you’re a nice guy, well guess what, that ain’t going to happen because we’re just, fortunately as a society we’re negatively oriented. In order to pull the best out of people, you’re going to have to ask. But you also obviously need to execute good service.

Jesse Dolan:  Right. And I just checked real quick, just quick Google search, 1.5 billion users on Gmail. And that’s just Gmail. I have Google accounts for doing our SEO stuff, I don’t actually use Gmail. So there’s going to be more people with Google accounts even overall. I don’t know how that compares to per capita, but it says here that it dominates consumer email.

Bob Brennan: One thing, I’ll just look this up. 2.8 billion people don’t have flush toilets.

Jesse Dolan: I’m going to try to merge that together.

Bob Brennan:   I’m the Cliff Clavin stupid facts. The point is ask. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Jesse Dolan: Yeah. Right. You have to try to get incorporated into your process I should say, asking to get a review. If you’re engaging with your customers in any kind of a fixed timeline here or there’s a follow-up, we even encourage customers to tell people that you’re going to ask a review. Kind of like, hey, I’m going to provide you this service or I’m going to sell you this product, or I’m going to deliver this widget, whatever it is.

When I’m done, my goal is to get you to leave me a five star review on Google. That’s how we do business, that’s how we get business. And it’s important to us. And I’m going to ask you that at the end. That doesn’t mean you have to offer them some kind of a huge incentive or coupon or things like that. Just we found setting the stage and letting them know you’re going to ask for this can increase your conversion rate, I guess, call it a conversion rate, for getting those reviews.

So first things first, have a plan to get reviews. Now start incorporating a plan for getting a photo with that review. And depending on what your product or service is, kind of get creative. I was talking with a gentleman a while back that did have a tour service and told him, if there’s scenic spots that your customers are jumping out right now that you’re kind of showcasing for the cityscape or something else and they’re taking photos anyways, let them know, like, hey, we’re going to get to a few cool spots up here. Take some photos. I’d like to get a review from you too at that point. And just kind of work it in there and encourage that.

If you’re a retail store, maybe there’s a certain spot on the store you want to have them. Take a photo. Or you take their photo and certain backdrop. Whatever it is, be strategic about it, understanding again that Google can kind of understand the content of that photo, the location of that photo, and then associate it with a text that the person’s going to leave in that review. Which segues to the other topic, not photo related, but again, the language of that review. Helping to describe the product, the service, your company, the geographic location that they either came from or you’re going to, if that’s relevant. Still incorporate all that best practices, getting review. Even if you’re not, I should say, previous to getting a photo, do that stuff still. It’s extremely important and now add a photo to it.

Bob Brennan:  Yeah. And the way I line it up is I ask them, can I ask you do you have a Gmail account?

Jesse Dolan:  Perfect.

Bob Brennan:   And if they say yes, say, hey, I need you to help my business out. Either of  these things are going to help my business. One, at the end of this service, if you can’t leave us a five star review, I need to know what I can correct in the future, because obviously, you don’t want to ask somebody to leave a review if you didn’t give them a proper service. And that in turn will help you perform the service properly or better for the next customer. So maybe you didn’t get a review but at least you got a pointer from a customer on what you needed to change.

And then if they can leave a review, it’s a five star review and then you just keep pushing it a little bit and just saying, do you mind taking a photo of me and your furnace or whatever the deal is, right? That helps the SEL process. Or even mention the fact that you’re in a certain city or whatever the deal is. It might be a city you’re trying to get more work in that’s near your home office or what have you.

Jesse Dolan:   And that’s a great point there, Bob is, so in general, you want to do this, right? But let’s be real, we’re all human beings, our team members are human beings and everything else. And you definitely have to remind yourself and your team members to get reviews. So it’s going to ebb and flow with the amount of success you’re having there. Definitely be aware of those geographic areas. You either want more business from or you want it to be going to for business depending on what your business needs are. And where you’re needed, call out special effort for those areas, because you’re going to find that it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s going to make the needle move for you in those markets. So definitely leverage that.

And then the last point I wanted to make is understanding that again, when somebody leaves a review, attaches a photo, that photo hits your GMB photo area. So again, in the past, a customer could leave a review and a customer could also upload a photo to your GMB. Now, when they do that, it’s kind of a combo doing them both at the same time. That’s good for your GMB in kind of on its own right too if they attach a photo with a review. You’re going to add more photos of your GMB. That gives more engagement opportunities for people that are checking out your GMB. Provides more kind of real world exposure and engagement, shows people that people are taking photos. If anybody’s ever looked through photos, maybe a restaurant or something else, you can kind of tell what was maybe a professional photo from the owner or the establishment versus user submitted stuff. And more user submitted stuff really just shows that action and that activity.

If you go into your GMB panel, there’s a spot down at the bottom where you can check in your insights how many photos you have uploaded and shared, or I should say, that are uploaded and shared on your GMB even if you didn’t do them yourself against other businesses. So Google historically has called out the importance of having photos on your GMB. Now, if customers are doing a review, they can add a photo and kind of give you a bump there too. So, really a great evolution of the reviews and of the GMB. So I’d definitely take advantage here. Keep getting reviews. You got to start there. And now start asking for a photo to be attached on them as well.

Bob Brennan:  Yeah. Just a tip too, when you’re working with your team, it’s a lot like golf. You can’t expect to go up and hit the ball off the tee 200, 300 yards at a time. It’s just focusing on one thing. So maybe it’s just keeping your head down for a couple of swings and then adding another thing. In this case, it might be pitchers or whatever the deal is with your team. You really can’t strong arm them and get them to do everything you need them to do right out of the bat. It’s going to take 20, 30 reviews to get them to a point where they’re getting all the right stuff. And you got to figure out a way to review, or not review, but reward your team somehow off the grid in terms of incentivizing them to do it, in my opinion.

Jesse Dolan: Yeah. And a great way to close this is mentioning what Bob just said to incentivize your team. Something we coach everybody to do is, when you’re asking for those reviews, like Bob said, first things first, make sure you tell that customer, you can help me and my business by leaving a review. And then get them to mention your name or that team member’s name. If I’m talking to you out there, I say, hey, leave us a review, mention my name so my boss sees me, that it mentions me because then he’s going to give me some kudos or a pat on the back or whatever it is. And then you internally, when you get alerted that you’re getting these reviews, that’s your scorecard. You just log them like that. So, that’s an important part.

And from the consumer side, we’ve talked with people and there’s this sentiment, this is kind of an opinion here, but when you’re reading reviews and individuals are mentioned in that review, for me and for other people, it seems realer. These aren’t fake reviews. These are legitimate, they’ve mentioned the people that work there and that helps really kind of put the point home. So, that’s pretty much it for that topic. Get more reviews, get photos on those reviews and pump up that GMB and you’re going to find that it moves the needle for you.

Let’s get into our five star review of the week. We got a great five star review here from JF0000T. Awesome. “This podcast is awesome and gives you real advice. As a small business owner, I found so many of these strategies to really move the needle forward.” Perfect. Move the needle, you said that like 17 times in this episode, so perfect. A review ironically there. But thanks for that. It’s what we’re trying to do, share tips and strategies to help you move the needle in your business. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about any design awards or kind of cool tactics and accolades. This is about getting more business out there in the real world to hit our bank accounts.

So, glad to hear that that’s helping you. Everybody else, love to get a review from you. Go to Bottom left corner, check out reviews, or leave us a review. And that’s how it helps to spread the show, to share the show and experiences. If we keep getting them, we’re going to keep reading them. So we really appreciate that. Until next time, that should take care of it here. See you next time.

Bob Brennan: Thanks.

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