Google Business View – Don’t just tell customers where you are, show them around!
So you’ve set up your Google+ account, claimed and optimized your Google My Business listing and made sure you’ve got a Google Map accessible from your site. Is there anything else you can do through your Google profile to make your listing more attractive, both to Google itself for SEO results and to users who see your listing?
Would adding Google Business View to your profile benefit your business? If you have the type of business that gains revenue from customers visiting your location, then it definitely could.
If your business is office based and not generally visited by customers, or if you provide a service that isn’t based around a physical location (if you’re a plumber or a home inspector, for example), or if your business is industrial and based in a location that isn’t exactly photogenic (and none of your clients would expect it to be), then this might not be a worthwhile investment for you.
If, however, your business is a retail location, restaurant, event venue, hotel or any kind of business that might attract customers by virtue of the attractiveness of its interior, then you should absolutely consider Google Business View.
Make sure your Business View is a benefit and not a liability!
First off, you need to make sure that your business’s interior is attractive. This should be a no-brainer. You don’t want to show off your location if it doesn’t look good. If a potential customer takes a virtual tour of your restaurant and sees a place that looks unsanitary, they aren’t likely to pay you a visit. If your business really isn’t attractive to look at, maybe you should reconsider this avenue – or, better yet, address the issues that are making your location look less than its best to begin with!
Also keep in mind that you’ll want to make sure your Business View stays accurate. If your location’s look stays fairly static, your Business View might stay accurate for years. If, however, you remodel or even seriously redecorate, depending on the nature of the business, you may want to redo your Business View. If your retail store changes its displays, that probably doesn’t warrant a new Business View – most retail stores change displays frequently, and customers won’t expect things to look exactly as they do in the virtual tour. If you’re running a hotel, though, and you make a significant change to the way your rooms are laid out or decorated, you won’t want potential customers making their decision about whether to stay with you based on outdated visuals. And if this is the case, hopefully the changes you made were for the better, and you’d want to show off your new improvements!
How do you make this happen, and how much does it cost?
To get Google Business View set up, you’ll need to hire a Google certified photographer – fortunately Google has made it easy for you to locate a Google Trusted Photographer or agency in your area. The cost for the photography will vary somewhat by photographer but will depend greatly on the size of your location and extensiveness of the tour. Looking at pricing packages listed by various photographers online, costs can range from $350 to multiple thousands of dollars. If you think that a Business View would benefit you, chances are you can find a photographer and a package that will fit into your budget.
Add it to your website for maximum visibility!
Once your Business View is set up on your Google account, it will show up as an option whenever someone views your Google+ page as well as your Google My Business listing, as shown in the example above. You may also want to embed it directly into your website, giving your users a way to access it if they get to your website directly rather than through Google. Check out Veronica G Boutique and Jubilee Banquet Facility for examples of Business Views embedded into websites.
But will it help your SEO?
While there doesn’t seem to be any official word from Google about this – unsurprising, as they usually play these things pretty close to the vest – it’s no secret that Google does seem to favor the use of their tools and profiles, and adding more information and content directly to Google certainly can’t hurt. That said, there’s no concrete evidence that adding a Business View to your profile will have a direct impact on your SEO. It’s possible, but unconfirmed.
Even if your SEO isn’t affected, your customer engagement will be – who can resist virtually poking around a location to get a feel for it before visiting in person? You’ll be showing off your location, adding fun functionality to your website and feeding content to Google all in one move.