You probably know exactly what Google Street View is, likely because you’ve used it to virtually walk around neighborhoods, cities, and sometimes even far-off locations in distant countries (and if you haven’t done that, you totally should, it’s fantastic– you’ll lose hours).
But Google Street View goes far beyond having fun with one of the world’s most sophisticated and accessible map systems… it can be an amazing tool for your company. Specifically, Google’s 360 virtual reality portion of Street View (which will let customers take a virtual tour of your business).
This can be a powerful tool to connect with your target customers more easily and quickly. By reaching people when they’re searching and building trust with them quickly, you have a much greater potential of gaining more customers and increasing your revenue.
In this article, we’re going to discuss how Google’s Street View can help more people find you on Google Maps through local search engine optimization (SEO) and the other incredible benefits it has to offer.
First What is Google Street View?
Google’s Street View is technology that is formally part of Google Maps (and by extension of that, Google Earth). (If you need help with your Google Maps listing, we’ve got you covered here.) Google Street View allows you to virtually walk through the streets of various places throughout the world. As you walk by clicking, these interactive panoramas dynamically shift around you to give you the feel of actually exploring these locations. The technology uses stitched virtual reality photographs, with most of the photos being taken by specially designed cars (though some of the photos are done by snowmobile, boat, cycle, some underwater devices, and even on foot).
In addition to being able to walk the streets of a location using Google Street View, businesses can offer virtual 360-degree tours for customers to come in and check out their location online. If this sounds overly complicated or like it’s “not for you,” read on, because it’s simple, and you definitely need to consider it.
You’ll see without a doubt that adding a Google Street View (specifically the 360 tour) to your Google Maps listing is one of the best things you can do for your business. Here we go.
Yes, Google Street View Is For You
Keep in mind that 41% of Google Maps searches result in an in-person visit from a customer. And don’t dismiss the potential of how Google Street View can boost your Google Maps presence until you hear all of the details– because the evidence is pretty astounding.
Remember, the 360 view is a series of photos, and Google’s own metrics show that 62% of Google Maps users prefer listings that have photos of store interiors. And furthermore, any listings that have photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate customer interest. When you add a 360 view in addition to all of the other information you fill out, Google considers this a more complete listing– and complete listings are 78% more likely to be perceived (by Google and by customers) as more well-established.
Let your customers walk right in your door virtually and start shopping before they even arrive. Google reports that having high-quality photos and 360 tours on your Google My Business Listing helps customers find you faster, helps to build their trust in you. It’s proven that customers are more likely to make a purchase from a business with a listing. One thing to remember when talking about 360 tours is that even though they’re comprised of photographs, they are a special kind of photo and typically require cameras that take full, 360 pictures.
When surveyed, two out of three customers who frequent Google Maps expressed that they want more virtual tours. Are you going to give your customers what they want? Or stay behind the curve?
What Can a Google Maps Virtual Tour Business Truly Accomplish?
In addition to benefiting your Google My Business listing at a high level, here are some more in-depth reasons why Google Street View and a Google Maps Virtual Tour of your business can help bring your business to the next tier in terms of quality.
It Sets You Apart
Think about it– when your customers are searching on Google Maps, they’re actively looking to go somewhere to make a purchase. You have to do everything you can to set yourself apart. When customers are researching, they want to have as much information as possible available to them. By letting the customer envision what it looks like inside your store, you begin the shopping experience immediately. The customer is now walking around inside your store visually shopping. This allows the customer to start to make a connection with your business beyond a logo or a Google Maps listing. Help customers see themselves in your store, and they’re more likely to take action to physically make that happen.
People Trust What They Can See
It’s a fact that many people put their trust in what they see. You can talk about your selection, or your quality, or the number of options you can offer your customers– but until they see it for themselves, there’s still going to be a disconnect between what you say and what they’re imagining or believing.
Your Google Maps listing with a 360 view helps to build authenticity and lets customers understand that you are everything you claim to be.
Additionally, a business that takes the time and effort to show their customers exactly what to expect can come across as more thoughtful and focused on customer service. So even if you’re not explicitly saying your customer service is better than a listing that doesn’t have a 360 tour, the evidence is there for the people who are searching. Customers notice when a business like yours goes the extra mile to make things more accessible and simple, and they begin to associate those positive feelings with your brand.
Show People Your Personality
Your business is unique, but that can be challenging to show on Google Maps. Every business’s listing can start to blend together. Name, phone number, website, business hours– side by side, many Google My Business listings that appear in Google Maps are going to look essentially identical.
One of the only tools you have to set your business apart is photos– especially in the form of a 360 virtual tour via Google Street View. You can go beyond all of the generic information from your Google My Business Listing by focusing on showing your personality through your location.
For example, maybe you have posters of movies, bands, or sports teams hanging in various locations. Or maybe you have an especially nice guitar hanging on the wall or an especially gorgeous fountain in the lobby. All of these things will help your potential customers begin to see your personality and begin to form their own personal connections with your business.
Go beyond a normal listing and show your customers a warmer, more personalized side of your business with a virtual tour and they’re more likely to make a trip to you.
Improve Your SEO
We all want our businesses to be found when customers are searching. And with more and more Google Maps listings to contend with, you don’t want yours to get lost in an ocean of competition.
So what if you and a few competitors are mostly equal in terms of how Google sees you on Google Maps? Here’s how you can break away from the pack. For example, you both have the same number of reviews, you’ve both been around the same amount of time– according to Google Maps, you’re virtually equal. So how can you set yourself apart?
In addition to getting more reviews, interactive content that’s high quality gets more clicks overall, and a higher level of engagement. So in a world where two competitors are equal, in Google’s eyes, you’ll be more relevant just because people are spending more time on your listing and interacting with it more. This will allow you to boost your local SEO and reach a higher ranking in the Google Maps search page.
Ensure the Quality of Your 360 Tour
So, you’re convinced that your business can benefit from a 360 tour through Google’s Street View. Well, it’s actually a process that takes great care. And you can definitely try to get it set up yourself (we’ll give you some advice on that in a moment). However, to create a quality, immersive experience for your customers you want to be sure your 360 tour is professional and represents you well. Here are some things to consider.
There once was a time when Google only allowed a 360 tour to be shot and uploaded by their own certified Google “trusted” photographers. These people were explicitly endorsed by Google because they were trained by Google themselves with specific guidelines on how to properly shoot a 360 tour of the utmost quality. Those days are gone, and the floodgates of mediocrity have opened.
Now, anyone can shoot a virtual tour. This means that you have plenty of options– but not everyone knows the best practices to create an excellent 360 tour that complies with what Google is looking for. It’s crucial to hire the right candidate for the job because a poorly shot 360 tour in Google’s Street View can potentially do more damage than good. Be careful who you hire for the job, and be sure to do a ton of research on cost and time involved if you plan on trying to do it yourself.
Good Rep Media Has The Experience You Need
Here at Good Rep Media, we understand how to properly shoot a 360 virtual tour that will give you all of the benefits we’ve laid out in this article.
We’re in business to help companies like yours get the marketing they deserve for a price they can afford. We’ll shoot straight with you and can not only help you with your Google Street View but also help you optimize your Google My Business Listing overall to be sure your company is getting the most mileage out of it.
It’s time to upgrade your Google My Business Listing with a 360 tour via Street View and get more customers.
Give us a call today, or schedule a consultation.