In 2010, Google released what they call Google Business View, which is a virtual tour of your store or office. This service is only available to business store-fronts, thus you cannot partake if you run your business from home or use a service-area based approach.
If you are eligible, a Google Trusted Photographer will come to your store, take photos and then morph them together to create the 360 degree, walkthrough virtual tour.
If you’re on the fence, here are the top eight reasons to pull the trigger:
1. To Boost Rankings: Adding Google Business View to your Google Places page will help with your search ranking, though it may only give you a slight boost. At the end of the day, this service puts money right into Google’s revenue stream, so it would make sense that Google would give it some sort of importance in an effort to increase demand.
2. It’s a Lasting Benefit: Google Business View can make your Google Places page more interesting and enticing, and it can also be embedded onto your website.
3. Increases Engagement: Having Google Business View can help foster engagement. Your virtual tour will show up in the knowledge graph on the side of SERP, and acts as a call-to-action. Adding this feature will most likely increase the traffic on your business listing, bringing users that much closer to becoming a long-time customer. Here is a screenshot of Maocular Tech Expert listing.
4. Local Listings are Trumping Organic:
It’s no secret that Google placed more importance on local listings with the Panda algorithm update in April, 2014, and even further when they cut the number of local listings from seven to three this past August. Local listings are cannibalizing organic listings, so it’s extremely important to have a well optimized Google Places page. The virtual tour will help separate you from the competition, enticing people to click on your listing over another.
5. Show it Off: If you have a well-kept office or store, why not show it off! You can increase the chances of converting a potential customer by showing them that they will be coming to a clean, warm and professional environment. If your office makes clients feel that they are walking into an episode of Hoarders, this may not be the best idea, unless that’s what you’re going for!
6. Defy Expectations: If you operate your business in an older neighbourhood, quite often your storefront may look a little run down from Google Street View or if a client has driven past your store. Google Business View can be used to show potential clients that the inside of your store is much more well kept and modern inside.
7. Everyone’s Going Mobile: The ‘See Inside’ option on Google Places listings is even more prominent and impressive when viewing on a mobile or tablet device. As users become more dependent on the usage of mobile, Google continues to optimize search features to be more appealing on these devices.
8. An Excuse for Professional Photos: If desired, you can add on to the service by having the photographer take still photos of your store. Photos can be used to improve the appearance of your website, social platforms or even used to create print material.
Any business with a storefront, particularly one with an impressive and inviting appearance, should really consider the advantages of Google Business View. We live in a world where customers can buy most items online from the comfort of their home, and if they’re going to leave their house and hit the pavement, they want to know the type of establishment they’ll be entering. A GBV listing gives potential customers one more reason to visit your store.