Google Business Cover Photo: The Problem
Have you ever tried to update your Google Business cover photo on your listing, only to find some random other photo is still your cover photo? You’ve probably even uploaded it a second time, only to find it’s still not changed! So annoying right. Why does this happen?
Google reserves the right to choose which cover photo represents your business. The Google algorithm thinks it knows better, which photo is the best choice to represent your business and will use their photo choice for your Google Business Cover Photo in your listing, despite you uploading a newer photo.
What Google would choose itself as your Google Business Cover Photo, might be based on the number of views the photo has had, the quality of the photo, or whether the photo has been boosted by others. The Google guidelines even say that just because you upload a cover photo, doesn’t guarantee that photo will be used to actually be the cover photo.
Do you care what your Google Business Cover Photo is?
Absolutely you should care. It’s a no brainer that you want to optimise your organic search results. Your Google Business Cover Photo on your listing is the first image people will see….
- as the photo with your business on google search results
- on google maps
- on mobile
Many people that come across your listing will never have heard about you before, and they will absolutely judge you by that photo. Customers who review your business upload photos with their review sometimes. Did you know there are even random people out there that photograph business premises to upload to Google as that gives them more points as ‘Google Local Guides’ for contributing content to Google.
You don’t want a photo taken by somebody else representing your business. You need to be in control of your business branding and how you’re showing up across the internet.
Google Business Cover Photo: 100% Success Method
How do we take control of what cover photo shows up on our Google Business Profile listing? How do you make sure the photo you choose is your cover photo?
It’s a simple back door hack that is in no way obvious.
When you log into your Google Business listing dashboard, you will find that Google has an option for you to publish a free website through them. Most people don’t use that and so it stays unpublished. If you choose ‘Website” from the lefthand side menu on your dashboard, you’ll see it says ‘publish’. If it is published because you are using that free Google website option, it will say ‘visit site’.
Regardless of whether it is published or not, scroll down until you see the ‘edit header photo’ option. Click on it and upload the photo you want to use as your Google Business Cover Photo and save it. You do not need to do anything else. You do not need to click publish it. As long as you saved the photo after you uploaded it to the ‘edit header photo’ option, you can log out.
Refresh your screen and you should see that photo you’ve uploaded is now your cover photo with your business listing. If you check Google Maps and on your mobile, you’ll also see that cover photo there.
Google Business Cover Photo Essentials
You should make sure you comply with Google’s guidelines which say to use a photo which best represents your business. This means you need to consider what you use across all platforms your business is represented on. This will include any social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok etc.
What size should your cover photo be?
Google used to like a 16:9 photo ratio. For your Google Business cover photo, the recommendations they used to have no longer apply, but it’s still a good rule of thumb to follow them. The minimum size is 480 x 270 and the maximum is 2121 x 1192.
If you’re creating a cover photo, then I recommend you go for something in between and choose 1108 x 608 as it will be a high enough resolution but still have a fast enough page load time. Make sure your logo or business name is in the centre, as it may be cropped depending on where it shows up and on what type of device.
It should be a minimum is 10KB and a maximum of 5MB and in either JPG or PNG format. Your photo also needs to be clear, realistic, in focus and well lit. These things are all stated specifically in Google’s guidelines.
Although filters are allowed, try to avoid any heavy filters and try not to edit the photo too much. Google wants photos that represent the actual reality a person would see when visiting your business. So it should be full colour, not black and white.
If your cover photo does not comply with all of Google’s requirements, it may be rejected.
Choose a cover photo that represents your business really well. For bricks & mortar businesses, this is usually an unobstructed exterior photo of your business premises clearly showing your business logo.
Your Google Business Cover Photo needs to be something that’s going to catch the eye of the person searching and make them want to engage with your business. If you’re in the food industry, it could even be a well presented delicious looking plate of food.
It might even be worth the investment of getting a professional photographer as a great cover photo that really stands out might give you a serious competitive edge amongst other businesses showing up in search results and pay for itself many times over if it results in a great click through rate for your business.
Where are the Google Business Photo Guidelines?
In their guidelines Google also sets out how to remove a photo a customer has uploaded, as well as having tips for the different categories of photos they give you:
- Exterior Photos
- Interior Photos
- Product Photos
- Photos at Work
- Food & Drink Photos
- Common Areas
- Team Photos
You can get busy taking photos to upload to the categories relevant to you to optimise your listing!
Here’s a link to the Google Business Guidelines.
Remember, the Google algorithm is always at work. So you should you should periodically check your Google Business listing to make sure you’re happy with what is showing up and that you have fully optimised the listing to suit your Business.
If you’re wondering why I keep saying ‘Google Business’ and not ‘Google My Business’…. you’re not going mad. It did used to be called Google my Business, but Google changed the name of that Google product in early 2022 to simply ‘Google Business’.
At MRB Creative we specialise in optimising Google Business listings, so don’t hesitate to contact us if we can help you with your listing on your Google Business account.