The photos you post to your hotel’s Google My Business page are the ones that will show up in Google Hotel Search and Maps. So it is essential that you update your Google My Business page with the photos and images that best represent your hotel and brand. As Google continues to evolve the way they showcase hotel results, it is more important than ever that your photos are high-quality and communicate the right message. The photos you upload to your Google My Business page have specifications that need to be followed. Here are our top pro tips, best practices, and step-by-step instructions you need to update your Google business photos.
Follow these instructions on how to update your hotel pictures to Google My Business. Only Google verified businesses are eligible, so if you have not verified your hotel yet, you need to do that first.
Google My Business via Desktop:
- Sign in to your Google My Business page.
- Click on Manage Location for the location you want to update.
- Click on Manage Photos from the business dashboard.
- Choose the Photo Type you want to add and upload it to your page.
Google My Business via Mobile:
- Open the Google My Business app.
- Touch the Menu icon and choose photos.
- Choose the Photo Type you want to add.
- Choose an existing photo from your camera roll or take a new photo.
Google photo specifications
Google has specific standards and specifications for the photos your Business Listing Page will use. By not following these specifications, your photos may be too small to view properly, too large to download quickly, or just look unprofessional, so follow these guidelines:
- All photos must be in JPG or PNG formats.
- Minimum resolution accepted is 720px by 720px.
- Photo download sizes must be between 10KB and 5MB.
- All photos must be of high-quality, in sharp focus, and well lit.
- Photos cannot be altered (Photoshop) or use excessive filters. They must represent a true view of your hotel and may be removed from your listing page if they do not.
Three photos your business listing must have:
Profile Photo—the one that will be featured on your Google+ page. This should not be your logo, but a photo of your actual physical business location.
Cover Photo—the one that will be featured at the top of your Google+ page and may show up on keyword and map searches. Keep in mind that this photo will be cropped to fit a 16:9 aspect ratio, so look for scenic shots: a wide-angle lobby shot, bar space, pool shot, or something that sets the tone for your hotel.
Logo Photo—should be just that, your hotel’s official logo. Your logo image must be high-quality, and Google prefers that it be square shaped. If you don’t have already have a squarish logo, here are a few tips on how to make it fit for social media profiles.
Selecting your Google Business Listing photos
First you’ll want to choose your preferred photo. This is generally the photo that users will see next your business name on Google Maps and Hotel Search. You can select your preferred photo by clicking on the three dot menu icon and selecting a new photo. Choosing a preferred photo lets Google know which photo you want to show as representing your business, but it is not a guarantee that this is the photo they will use.
The best way to ensure Google uses your preferred photo is to make sure that all photos you upload meet their minimum standards for acceptable images. For hotels, Google wants photos of the front of your hotel, the lobby, a suite interior, or an attractive photo of a particular amenity. Pick images that work in various sizes (big and small) and orientations (landscape, vertical, and square). If your preferred photo gives customers a true and accurate idea of what your hotel business represents, then it will most likely be chosen. Logos are not great options for preferred photos.
Adding variety to your listing
Photos that represent all the amenities your hotel has to offer need to be uploaded to your profile. These photos will be visible on Google searches and maps, so they should be a true representation of what your hotel looks like. These photos will show up before guest photos in Google maps, so it is to your benefit to upload a variety of high-quality photos. Google recommends the following category-specific photos for all hotels. They also offer hotel business a special program where you can hire a professional photographer that has been Google certified to take internal street view and virtual tour photos.
Exterior Photos: These photos help customers recognize your hotel. At least three exterior photos from different angles, sides, perspectives, and times of day should be included.
Interior Photos: These photos help customers get a feel for what your hotel ambiance is like. At least three interior photos should be included that showcase your hotel’s best amenities, but the more, the better. They should give a realistic view of what it feels like inside your hotel.
Employees: These photos should show your employees engaging in customer service. At least three photos of employees interacting with guests should be included. This might show hotel employees helping guests with check-ins, assisting with luggage, or serving food.
Teams: These photos help customers see the personal side of your hotel. At least three team photos of your management staff or hotel employees in a group should be included. These can be both formal and informal shots that showcase personalities in a professional manner.
Food and Drinks: These types of photos have higher click-through rates, so they are a must if your hotel has a restaurant or bar. At least three photos of the top food and drinks you serve should be included. Users are more likely to click on a hotel listing if colorful, well lit, and enticing food photos are available.
Common Areas: These photos will attract guests who are looking for both business and leisure travel locations. At least one photo of each of your hotel’s common areas should be included, such as your spa, pool, lounge, breakfast area, and meeting rooms. Common area photos can sway meeting planners, wedding planners, or families traveling with kids decide on a property.
Guest Rooms: These are perhaps the most important photos your hotel will want to feature. Potential guests rely heavily on the photos hotels use to showcase guest rooms. At least three photos of each type of room you offer should be included. Wide angle photos are best to give viewers an idea of the size of each room. Make sure the photos are well-lit, as these photos are often shown in small sizes within Google Maps and Google Hotel Search.
Flagging customer photos for removal
Because guests can upload their own photos that can show up with your search and map results, you might find inappropriate photos that you do not want associated with your hotel. These photos must be in violation of Google’s content guidelines. These may include photos showing illegal activities, are sexually explicit, or posted for malicious reasons. You cannot request a guest photo be removed simply because it shows your hotel in a negative light. However, if you have enough great photos of your own in your Google Business Listing, then this will help prevent bad customer photos from making it to the top of the search results page.
Best practices for photo SEO
You should make sure that the photos you upload are properly labeled so that Google can use them for keyword SERPs. Many businesses skip this important step and are missing out on extra marketing opportunities. Follow these best practices when it comes to labeling your uploaded hotel photos.
Give your images detailed file names that identify your hotel. Instead of IMG000364.jpg, change them to hotel-xyz-savannah-ga.jpg. This will help Google find your photo when someone does an image search for Savannah hotels.
Give your images descriptive alternative (alt) attributes that describe each image. Photos with little to no descriptions will look like this: <img src=”hotel.jpg” alt=”hotel”/>. Instead, your photo descriptions should look like this: <img src=”Hotel XYP Savannah outdoor pool”>. This will help Google identify what your photos are showing. Keep alt descriptions shorter than ten words and describe the picture accurately with nouns.
Do not keyword stuff your image file and alt tag names (i.e. “Best Savannah Hotels”) . This will hurt your SERP because Google will identify it is spam. Stick with informative words that accurately describe each photo.
Optimizing your local SEO results
Google is focusing more on providing accurate local search results, which is a good thing for the hotel industry. While Google’s local algorithms are always changing, it is best to work with them to improve your odds of ranking high on their search engine results pages (SERPs). At $2.4 billion, Travel and Tourism businesses spend the third highest amount of money on Google advertising. The 100 most popular Google keyword searches in 2015 included hotels, flights, and maps. So Google is highly motivated to provide their top advertisers with good search results while also giving users the most relevant local results. By updating your hotel’s photos and information on your Google My Business page, you will improve SERP rankings and look professional to potential guests.
Interested in learning more about local SEO for hotels? Check out our podcast and guide on Hotel SEO 101.
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