Outdated Google Street Views: Not as Important as You Might Think
Is this scenario familiar to you? You’ve made the effort to claim, verify, and optimize your Google My Business listing. Your map marker is accurate, your business information is up to date, you’ve added great high-quality photos. You’ve done everything you can to make your listing highly effective and reliable, but there’s one element you just can’t seem to fix: the Google Street View image. No matter what you’ve tried, the Street View image on your listing is months, maybe even years, old.
You may find yourself with many questions. How will your customers know how to find you? How will they know that the signage on the Street View image is incorrect? Will this outdated Street View deter potential customers from visiting your business? If you’ve found yourself in this situation asking these questions, BroadLeaf Marketing & SEO can help ease your concerns! We’re experts when it comes to local SEO and the effectiveness of your Google listing, and we’re here to tell you why you shouldn’t worry about the outdated Street View on your Google listing!
What is Google Street View?
Google Street View is a great tool, working as a way for people to see a 360-degree image of your business’ exterior. Google has Street View cars, equipped with many 360-degree cameras, driving around the globe 365 days a year. These cars take images of every street they travel down, sending the pictures to Google’s engineers who work tirelessly to update the interactive Street View maps. If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling or viewing a distant city or country, try taking a Street View tour. You can scroll down the boulevards, streets, and roads, experiencing a street-level perspective of any place Google’s cars have photographed!
See for yourself! Take a trip to Disney World, Australia’s Gold Coast, and even the International Space Station on Google Street View!
For business owners in highly-populated areas and large cities, Street View is rarely an issue. Google’s Street View cars often visit densely-populated areas, updating the Street View images regularly. The same, however, cannot be said for business owners in more suburban or rural areas.
How Do Potential Customers Use Street View Images?
Don’t worry yourself sick! If you find yourself with an incorrect Street View image it is not the end of the world. BroadLeaf Marketing & SEO loves analytics and data, so we surveyed 200 people ages 21-49 to find out how they use Street View images!
Based on our survey we found that while not everyone uses Google Maps as their main choice for navigation, a whopping 87% do. Of those people who use Google Maps less than half view the Street View image of the location. When asked how often they view the Street View, only 9.5% of people answered “always”. When asked that same question, we found that 19% of Google Maps users never view the Street View image.
When we asked how important an updated Street View image was in order to find their destination we found that 42% of people don’t find it important at all. When asked if an outdated image caused difficulty finding a location the results were evenly split. 50% of people had no difficulty and the 50% did. When asked how difficult it was to find a destination 19% of people found locations with outdated Street Views only somewhat difficult to find, with 38% saying not difficult at all.
The goal of this survey was to determine whether an outdated Street View image causes a negative impression of your business by potential customers. When asked if an outdated Street View deterred them from visiting a business only 18% said yes. This is good news for business owners, because of the people we surveyed 82% are not deterred from visiting a business with an outdated Street View! When asked if they view a business with an outdated Street View negatively, 87% of people said they did not.
Can an Outdated Street View Image be Fixed?
Depending on your specific listing, a Street View image can be adjusted or updated. Sometimes all your listing needs is a wiggle of the map marker or a quick report of the problem to Google itself. While some Street View issues can be easily resolved, those with years-old images or no image at all are left with few options.
For businesses whose Street View images are out-of-date or nonexistent, there is a workaround solution available! While it will not replace an existing view, or be featured as the “See Outside” image of your listing’s knowledge panel, you are able to contribute your own 360-degree photos from your smartphone or tablet!
If you are concerned with the Street View image confusing or misdirecting potential customers, we recommend downloading the Street View App. This easy-to-use tool will guide you through the process of searching for your business and contributing your own 360-degree photo of your business’ exterior and interior! With the Street View app, you gain the benefit of control and can update your photos whenever your location’s exterior or interior is updated or changed. Download the Street View App here!
Conclusion: What These Results Tell Us
With most people using Google Maps as their primary choice for navigation, only a fraction of those users always use the Street View image, and almost half of those surveyed find no importance in the Street View image. Our conclusion of these results is that if you are a business owner whose Google My Business listing has an outdated or incorrect Street View image, you should not be too concerned! People have common sense, and most are able to use the pictures on your listing paired with the exterior of the building itself (regardless of accurate signage) to find your location.
We know we can add our own 360-degree photos with the Street View app and we know this issue is sometimes caused by a slight inaccuracy of the map marker. Only one final question remains: When are Google’s Street View cars coming back to take new pictures? You can always check up on Google’s “Where We’ve Been & Where We’re Headed Next” page to see the Street View cars’ schedules by country!