Thanks to Google’s AWESOME planning and implementation, business owners still can’t choose which photo shows up for their Google Local Carousel image. Obviously, with such a visual layout, the photo that shows for your business can make you or break you.
Hopefully, Google will update the system soon and allow businesses to choose their Carousel photo. Until then, we’re stuck with the random whack-a-mole process that’s currently in place.
You may have noticed that many of the Local Carousel photos are oddly cropped. Mostly, it’s because businesses uploaded images way before the Carousel even existed. Now that you know that any photo in your Google Plus Business page could be used, it’s important to upload photos that will look great in the Carousel.
So, here’s a walkthrough of exactly how the Carousel images are cropped for display. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a great looking Carousel image that will help get you more clicks (if you get lucky enough to have Google choose that photo).
With “landscape” photos (standard camera position, where it’s wider than it is tall), Google will crop a square thumbnail that’s anchored in the center of the image. Basically, the square will be centered on the photo and the size of the square is based on the height of the image. Then, you’ll lose approximately the bottom third of the image once the review overlay is added, so you need to be sure that the top two-thirds of your image is your “money shot.”
With portrait images (where the photo is taller than it is wide – like you turned the camera 90 degrees), Google is going to crop the square thumbnail, anchored in the top left corner. That means that the height of the square thumbnail is determined by the width of the image, and the top left corner of your image will be the top left corner of the thumbnail. Then, just like in the landscape thumbnails, you’re doing to lose approximately the bottom third of the image behind the review overlay. Once again, your “money shot” needs to be the top two-thirds of the resulting square thumbnail.
Now that you know how Google crops your images for display in the Local Carousel, you can hedge your bets and make sure that the images uploaded to your account will all look great as a thumbnail. Since Google appears to be randomly switching out the images, you’re better off if every image would look good as a thumbnail.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Google Local Carousel!