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Google Cracks Down on Google My Business Image Guidelines text with Polaroid photos

Google Enforces New Review Process For all Google My Business Photos and Videos

It’s a fight to the death between Google and low quality, misleading, and irrelevant content, as the search engine giant announces stricter guidelines for photos and videos uploaded to Google My Business.

This isn’t Google’s first attempt at cracking down on Google My Business content, as just last month, it revealed that over 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business profiles were given the boot. But now, Google has begun targeting photos and videos, announcing that going forward, all images and videos must be reviewed and approved by Google before they can be published. The goal is to ensure that the photos being used on business profiles are actually of the business in question and are not misleading to consumers.

What Types of Content Make the Cut

So, what types of photos and videos does Google not want to see? Google describes prohibited content that should not be uploaded to Google My Business as “Screenshots, stock photos, GIFs, other manually created imagery or imagery taken by other parties.”

Google also added that “relevant, photos or videos must be taken by users at the location in question. If the primary subject of the content is irrelevant to the location, it may be removed.”

Learn more about the additional criteria for photos and videos put in place in the official Google help document.

In addition to photos and videos, text reviews and captions are subject to strict requirements including:

  • Not using reviews for advertising purposes, such as posting email addresses, phone numbers, social media links, or links to other websites in your reviews.
  • Not discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews or purposely soliciting only positive reviews from customers.
  • Not including any kind of promotional or commercial content.
  • Not offering or accepting money in exchange for reviews.
  • Not soliciting reviews from customers in bulk.

So, Who Decides What Stays and What Goes?

As for the new process for reviewing uploaded photos and videos, when asked whether this new process would be manual or machine-based, Google responded that both humans and machines would be involved in reviewing the photos and videos but didn’t say much else.

“To ensure consistency with our policies for user contributed content, we rolled out additional criteria for photos and videos for merchants late last year,” said Google. “We will continue to update and improve these policies over time to ensure all content that appears in the Business Profile is relevant, high quality, and appropriate. While we don’t share specific details about our moderation processes, we do use a combination of automated and manual reviews, and continue to work on making photo approvals as efficient as possible.”

So, there you have it. If you were hoping to update your Google My Business profile photos in the near future, be prepared to wait a bit before they can go live. Other than that, if you’re not planning on uploading any content could be classified as “prohibited content,” these new guidelines likely won’t have much of an effect on you and your business profile.