More threads by Linda Buquet

Linda Buquet

Local Search Expert
Jun 28, 2012
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This type of out-of the-box creative idea really gets me going.
These are some of the coolest ideas I've seen in a long time!

Below is just a snippet that barely hints at all the rich ideas inside.
Click to read the whole thing!

How to Earn Links with Google’s New Business Photos | Search Engine Journal

Strategies that Surprise and Engage Your Visitors

So how can you use this tool to help your own online engagement strategy? Well, there’s no doubt that some businesses rely on their ambiance to bring people through their doors. Restaurants, in particular, may want to create inviting spaces that sometimes even evoke the cultural heritage of the type of food that is served.

However, it’s not just restaurants that can create interesting environments to explore using a virtual tour in Google’s Inside-Business Photos pages. If you stretch the envelope a bit, you will realize that any business can create fascinating treasure hunts, visual shockers, and mysteries that engage online visitors and have them checking out your website and social networking pages again and again. Not to mention they will share them with their own social networks.

Again you need to go read the whole thing and look at the examples!

Great way to get the locals talking about your client, and linking to them - NATURALLY!
Probably would even some good media attention if you do it right.

What do you think about some of these ideas?
This is actually a pretty clever idea. I'm just wondering if there is any way to get it done without a Google photographer?

I'm trying to figure out a clever way to use this with businesses that don't normally have customers in their office/location.
This is very creative. I liked the ski shops the best! I also wonder if you could do this without a Google Trusted Photographer? If not, does anyone have a ballpark estimate of how much they would charge?
Almost certain I've seen a blog post about how to do it yourself but no idea where and no time to search. Heading into a consult.

I've seen prices mentioned, maybe right on Google but don't remember how much.
Doing a virtual tour is not that big of a deal now. You can shoot panoramas with iPhone 4 + iOS6, or just about any digital camera. Photoshop can stitch a panorama together (12 photos you shoot while turning in a circle).

I'm thinking this is a revenue generator for Google, so they probably won't allow non-Google photogs to do it.
Regarding Cost, this is from their FAQ:

  1. [h=6]What is the cost to get my business photographed?[/h]Because Trusted Photographers are not employees or affiliated with Google, and because Trusted Agencies are independent businesses they both individually decide how much to charge for their services. We expect the Trusted Photographers and Trusted Agencies to offer their services at a fair market value, and you may negotiate with each of them to come to an acceptable price for the service. Prior to any photo shoot, the Trusted photographers will present the Service Agreement, specifying their services, for your acceptance. Similarly, if a Trusted Agency is servicing your needs, they will present the agency Service Agreement for your acceptance. The agreement also spells out (among other things) that, in return for your payment to the Trusted Photographer or Trusted Agency, you will own the images that have been taken.
Good morning Linda, can I suggest this as a future webinar topic? I work with Frank Clark at Trusted Photo Maryland, he's one of Google's 2012 Business Photos award winners. We could go through the process & address some of the questions your readers have. david @ trustedphotomd dot com if you'd like to discuss directly.
Is there a directory of Google Business Photo Trusted Photographers in the USA or UK? I can't find one. Maybe it's something we could start here. Whatcha say Linda?
If anyone is looking for one of these photographers, I would recommend contacting several to get their pricing quotes.

I called 4 in the Las Vegas market to get an idea on pricing in case I wanted any of our clients to have these virtual tours done. The prices I was quoted ranged from $250 to $2,500. And this quote for for the same office space.

I couldn't believe the one guy was charging $2500, but I realize everyone has their own value and if he can get that price good for him.

But just wanted to let you know to shop around until you find someone that is good to work with and offers a fair price.
Good point Greg.

We just discussed all this on yesterday's Pro Conference Call and I had one of our pros speak who IS a Google Trusted Photographer. He explained how price is based and I could see how pricing would be different and subjective between different photogs because it depends on the number of shots the photog thinks are needed to achieve the desired result. Maybe the higher one was trying to do a more in-depth shoot?
HI To everyone on this thread... hopefully I can clear up a few things for those with questions.

Q: Can business owners do the virtual tour themselves?
A: NO, due to the very technical Google QA guidelines it is not possible to do it on your own. You may upload regular photos on your own. But even with those there are reasons why you would want a Google Trusted Photographer to do this for you.

Q: Why is pricing such a large range and what does it depend on?
A: IMHO, The price should really be based on the scale of the Virtual tour, the floor plan, and how many additional Point of Interest photos the business owner would like to use to cover their business. A very large business may only want their lobby photographed while another large business would like to have their entire facility photographed. 2 different prices are involved.

There's a range from photographer to photographer due to their costs as a business and their value as a professional. With that said, Photographers are also supposed to keep a certain price range as a fair market pricing structure, when it comes to the Virtual Tours. Obviously there are plenty of factors when it comes to pricing and the motivation behind it. This is just an example: Those who are new to this kind of photography may only charge $99-300 for a full sized tour so they can build their portfolio... while the "Pros" who have been doing photography for 20+ years would charge nothing less than $1000, and there a few that do it just for the money. Of course you also have to factor in the idea of their business expenses and the other things they bring to the table.

To be fair I would simply ask business owners to choose a photographer not just based on the cost but also the portfolio, who they are as a person, if they are willing to give more value in covering your business. You never know when you may want them to come back to re-shoot a certain area of your business or what else they may be able to offer your business. You also, may want to go through a vetting process if that is important to you. Otherwise look at the list and choose one and schedule a photo shoot.

I have recently chosen to publish a few of my more common packages prices and ranges for the first time on my website. My intent is to clear up any expectations before a business has gone through the list and needs a quote from me. It takes time and gas to do an actual quote and most businesses only want a ballpark estimate before they choose a photographer.

Lastly, If you can get it cheaper from another photographer feel free to do so... I personally do not bid against other photographers. I don't like the feeling and I feel I wouldn't connect with that customer as much. If you are going to have a photographer bid I think it would be nice to let them know that you are shopping for a price. We all pretty much know that the lowest bidder usually wins. This is not to say that I wouldn't help a business out on the price. I offer small discounts for certain situations.

I hope this can clear up some of the questions. I'm happy to help anytime.
Hey Thanks Louis - really appreciated your input in the conference call. Sadly you're on the wrong side of the pond to contract you, would love to return the favour... Armed with what you shared I then was able to have productive conversations with local photographers. The biggest thing you did for me was allay my concerns about cost and use of the images.
Thanks for sharing Shonda. That's the 1st I've heard of it.

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