It is a period of small, but significant news for Google My Business, the free service that Big G makes available to those who have a business and want to appear in an integrated and enriched way among search result pages. In fact, new rules for the publication of photos and videos are coming, and Google asks to update the tabs in real time so to always provide accurate information.

A preventive control on multimedial resources

Let’s start with the technical news. A few days ago, a very important announcement was published on the service’s official profile: all photos or videos uploaded on a Google My Business tab (and in Maps) will be reviewed before publication. Google has in fact modified the policy of photo and video contents, introducing the system of prior (and precautionary) review.

Guranteeing relevance and quality of contents

Barry Schwartz on seroundtable published an official statement from Google, explaining the reasons, criteria and how this review is actually going to work: “To ensure consistency of contents provided by users with our policies, at the end of last year we introduced additional criteria for photos and videos for merchants,” reads the note.

On the technical side, this intervention will be useful to “ensure that all the contents that appear in the Company Profile are relevant, of high quality and appropriate“, and will be done with a mixed system, automated and manual: “Although we do not share specific details about our moderation processes, we use a combination of automatic and manual revisions and continue to work to make photo approvals as efficient as possible”.

New rules for photos and videos in GMB

The tweet refers to a guidelines page for “content generated by Maps users“in which are shown the criteria that must be respected in order to avoid the refusal to upload images and videos that –is assumed– also apply in the Google My Business tab in addition to the general and classic guidelines on prohibited content. What is not clear at the moment is whether the rules apply only to external users (interpretation of part of the SEO observers) or whether they are actually general, and therefore also for those who own the GMB card.

However, the first rule states that it is prohibited to upload screenshots, stock photos, GIFs and other images created manually or taken by others. For Google it is important to ensure the relevance of these resources, and therefore it is mandatory that photos or videos must be made by the user in the place in question. On the contrary, content may be removed if the main subject that appears is not relevant to the location.

How photos and videos should be

There also are more technical and less vague indications: for example, the application of filters or other stylistic changes “are acceptable as long as they are minimal”, while they are prohibited “additions such as borders, text, collages of images and so on”. Too dark or blurred images and the ones without adequate resolution can be rejected, but “exact requirements may vary depending on the type of photo and the loading point”; similarly, videos must be “stable and with good visual quality” and distorted, blurred or blurred content shall not be permitted.

A specific point is that concerning overlayed texts or graphics, which are allowed provided they are consistent with the content conveyed and if they do not divert users’ attention from the content itself. However, they cannot “occupy more than 10% of the image or video and must be present on one board”.

Updating the Google My Business profile for info about the coronavirus

The interest that Google has in this product is also confirmed by the messages that owners of GMB activity cards are receiving these days and by the specifically created info page: the American group is in fact inviting to update in real time the users on the consequences of the pandemic of coronavirus on their own activity, a new confirmation of the impact of the virus on the online world (and not only, of course).

If your business is affected by COVID-19 – reads the message – update your Google My Business profile so to provide as accurate information as possible to your customers. Among the changes you are asked to make are “opening hours, if the activity closes in advance” or other details to the description.

In this way, users who are looking for the activity on Google or through Maps will be able to consult updated data, avoiding to get on the road unnecessarily. Additional information may also be provided, if the operations of the activity are affected by the coronavirus, for example indicating whether the company is taking additional precautions, whether it provides additional services to the community or whether it is experiencing delays or other problems.

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