Do 360° Photos Help Rank on Google?
Google wants more 360° photos, but does it reward you for taking them?
Google really wants 360° photographs and they love it when you do it for them. It has spend tons of money on its “Street View” project and has launched an app to encourage users to shoot more of these photos to complement it. For those business owners that are less tech-saavy, the company has gone as far as to set up an entire service to facilitate the hiring of photographers that are equipped to do 360° photos for your business. Since Google wants these kinds of photos to be included in Maps and local search, do they reward sites that include them in their Google My Business profile?
We decided it was worth the hour or so to figure out how to take and post a 360° photo
After looking at a few options for actual 360° cameras, I decided to go with the free iPhone app. It took a few minutes to download and install the app, then find the listing for my business so that I could post it. I followed the prompts on the app and in about 15 minutes, I had the photo listed in my Google My Business account for Sagapixel. It really was that easy.
What was the impact on search?
It’s hard to attribute one SEO tactic to the results that one sees, but there is a chance that the posting of this 360° panoramic photo had a disproportionate impact on our local search results. Our SEO efforts have been pretty steady over the last few months and as far as organic search is concerned, it’s been a slow, steady rise for everything that we’ve targeted. The only exception to this were our local results.
We posted the 360° photo sometime in mid May. Our sheer number of impressions took a noticeable upwards tick after posting this photo, despite the fact that we haven’t really made any other big changes to our SEO efforts and there was no corresponding increase in our impressions for organic search. While this huge jump may have been a coincidence, there’s also a chance that it wasn’t, and considering how easy it was to post this photo, it was certainly worth the time and effort.
How to post a 360° panoramic photo
Search for your business address. Click on the little camera icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
Follow the instructions on the screen, then publish.
That was really all it took to publish the photo.
I’ve had a few hundred views of it since I put it up and a possible rank boost in local search. While it all could have been a totally coincidence, there is always the chance that it wasn’t, and it was totally worth the time that it took to put up. Additionally, even if 360° photos are not a ranking factor, that doesn’t mean that they won’t be in the future, and those local businesses that have taken the time to post them will reap the benefits.