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Photos are engaging. Whether they beef up engagement with a Facebook post, boost click-through rates in an ad, or grab the attention of a potential patient, everyone likes photos.

Even search engines are coming around. Although Google and Bing generally return text-based results, that practice is changing as the search engine monsters have decided to include photos in search results for certain categories (food and beverage, for instance). No doubt more categories will be designated to add photos to SERPs.

Photos matter. So, what are you doing in your Google My Business profile to manage your photos that get displayed? Here are some tips to make sure your practice is shown in the best light.

Don’t let default be your fault

Even if you don’t claim your Google My Business profile or upload a photo, Google can still go out and grab a photo and put it up. It could be something from Google Street View or a poorly shot image posted to your page by a patient. No one knows what makes the Google bots choose what they choose, but wouldn’t you rather control the options?

Set your profile image in Google My Business

Odds are your MyAdvice representative is helping you with this, but in case you’re administering your Google My Business page here’s a tip: upload photos that are the best representation of your practice. Google allows you to select a profile photo, logo, and cover photo, along with additional interior and exterior shots of your practice, your staff, and other items. These are the photos that users can see when logged into your Google My Business account.

And this is where Google pulls from when picking a photo to put up. Google decides which photo to show first, despite your best efforts to influence the algorithm. Google has said photo choice can be influenced by how well the photo represents your business’s service or product, along with other factors such as format, size, and quality of the photo.

If you don’t like an image, dump it

Because you can’t control Google’s decision making, at least control its options. If Google puts up a photo you’re not overly fond of for your profile picture, the way to get it out of there is to delete it from your images. Then Google is forced to choose a different photo. Of course, to notice this you need to check the images being displayed in search results on a regular basis.

Use only quality photos

A photo’s a photo, right? Wrong. Quality matters. Big time. A report from the National Retail Federation says that two thirds of consumers say the quality of a product image is very important in selecting and purchasing products online. Most likely, those trends aren’t any different when sizing up a potential practice. The quality of your photos impacts the perception of your practice.

Make sure they are cropped properly

Of course, no matter how good the photo, if it isn’t cropped or formatted properly that’s all for naught. Make sure the subject of your photos is centered. Anticipate its use in thumbnail portraits in mobile listings, cropped square in a snack pack listing, or formatted as a landscape in full map listings. Don’t let Google make haphazard cropping decisions!

Don’t use stock

Don’t be lazy and use stock photos, either. Do your photos consist of one exterior shot and then a bunch of stock procedure photos? That’s no good. Potential patients are a savvy lot and they can sniff out a stock shot. While stock images are fine within your website, you don’t want them showing up in a profile image. A stock image there makes a potential patient question the authenticity of your practice and wonder if you’re cutting corners elsewhere.

If you have any questions about using photos with your Google My Business page, or any other questions about local search issues, simply get a hold of your MyAdvice representative and ask away!

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