Google Business View could be Great for your Business (and your local search results)
Here’s something you may not have noticed before but may be a perfect fit for your marketing plan. Have you ever noticed that little button on your Google Plus Dashboard that says “Add Virtual Tour?” Well, Google Maps Business View could be exactly what your business needed.
Businesses can now use Google’s Street View Technology right inside your own business. Google Maps Business View brings potential customers inside your retail store, restaurant, office and more. When people search for local businesses online, they will have the opportunity to see inside your business with a 360 degree virtual tour from your Google business listing. And, if they have used street view at all, they will be used to the familiar interface.
Improved Local Search Results?
Since customers can enter your virtual tours directly from Google Maps and Google+ Local, there’s some discussion about whether this might also have an impact on your business’ placement in local search results. It does seem that the use of certain Google properties can help increase your search rankings overall, such as Google Plus, YouTube, and now perhaps Google Business View. And some customers of the Trusted Google Photographers have reported seeing increases in their rankings.
But, even if having a virtual tour doesn’t actually increase your rankings, it is still a great advertising feature for businesses who may benefit from a potential customer being able to take a peek inside of their business. If people love the look of your business, why not show it off? For many businesses, first impressions are everything!
Using Virtual Tours Creatively
What type of business do you own? Perhaps you could incorporate a scavenger hunt or some other contest that might be fun for your customers or social media followers. Or a tour through your building might be useful. How about a drive through your car wash? It will depend of the nature of your business, but think about what your customers might want to see or how you could entertain them.
Here’s a neat virtual tour of Diagon Alley at Warner Bros. Studio Tours in London. Click and Drag!!
Get Your Own Business View in Hamilton
Let’s take a look at how easy it is to get your own business view within Hamilton, Ontario. Since only Google Trusted Photographers can publish the tours to Google, the first step is to contact a local photographer with that certification. You can use the location filter on this page to find one near your location (http://www.google.com/maps/
From my Hamilton search, I see that there are 6 Google Trusted Photographers in the area. Most show some samples on their websites, so check them out and maybe get some ideas for your own virtual tour.
How Expensive are Virtual Tours?
From what I see, the rates are pretty reasonable for this service, considering you’re getting a professional photographer and considering the amount of time, effort and equipment used to meet Google’s guidelines. Some businesses might be able to pay that expense off with one sale.
Some of these photographers offer a number of photos that will be labelled and uploaded into your Google Plus gallery and are also available for you to use as you wish. Considering these are professional photos, that is an excellent benefit if your photographer provides it. Be sure to ask.
In addition, these tours can easily be embedded onto your own website or on social media networks. This is particularly handy since it provides value to your website to be able to provide a tour that uses such a user-friendly interface.
Steps to Get Your Own Virtual Tour
- Decide whether your business might benefit by showcasing it in some fashion.
- Think about how you might best show off your business and/or products. Should you try something creative?
- Find a Google Trusted Photographer in your area and book a photo shoot.
- Embed the Google Business View on your website, and promote it.
Let us know what you think of this relatively new tool, and how you might plan on using it!