More threads by Ellen


Apr 4, 2016
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I'm going to include a snippet of outreach recently sent to one of our clients. Is this false promise against the trusted photographer guidelines? Something tells me Google wouldn't want their trusted photographer program to allow false claims, but I can't find that sentiment explicitly stated anywhere by Google. Anyone know?

I don't want to call out this company/person specifically, because maybe they are misinformed, but virtual tours are not listed in how Google's determines Local Ranking Factors


I am all for high quality photos of the business though! :)
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It would seem they are claiming that using them would boost the overall ranking/visibility of the business and your example mentions just the ranking of the photo and doesn't fully discount their claim.

I am curious to know where this person got this from. It sounds like a false claim. I don't suppose you could reach out to them on your client's behalf and ask them to show you how that works? ;)
The problem here is in the interpretation and Google is probably (as per usual) sufficiently vague so that it can be perceived as a boost in SEO. See this page: Enhance your Google My Business listing with Street View imagery.

The key phrases on Google that would relate are:

  • Listings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest
  • On average, 41% of these place searches result in an on-site visit
So this could be interpreted as 'seo' but they don't specifically say that.

What I can tell you as a virtual tour photographer over the past 5 years is that the real value in virtual tours is when you don't just publish it on the GMB page and do nothing else with it. It's when you add it to the client's website with a properly designed overlay that provides:
  • menu-based navigation
  • auto-image rotation to add a 'video-like' feel to the images
  • hotspots as information
  • hotspots that connect to either product shopping carts or booking engines
  • Google Analytics
  • VR headset compatibility
  • etc...
Finally, let's not forget, it's one more digital asset. If you don't promote it, then it's no better than paying for a TV commercial shoot and then never showing it to anyone.

Virtual tours work and they work very well IF you are strategic about the implementation.

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