A Little Something for Local SEOs, and a Big Thumbs Up for Original Pictures

The point is that small enterprises are such a dynamic part of culture that they influence beautiful art. They are naturally suited to powerful visual expression and are an essential component of the history of towns, cities, and communities.


It’s a timely topic since we are standing between a past filled with crummy stock pictures and a potential future filled with automated AI graphics. I can respect the argument that having access to images for pennies or being able to instruct robots to create images is democratizing, but I have also observed that mass-produced art devoid of meaningful human intention can easily become clutter and be ignored by the very people we are trying to reach.


And that’s an issue because the blood flow to the brain improves by 10% when we view beautiful art. I have to wonder what it does to us to be exposed to visuals that we find boring, repetitious, and soulless yet, according to University College London, this is the same boost we receive from seeing the face of a loved one. Even though every single tin on the shelves features an image, how often do you giddily ogle the can labels in the grocery store? Andy Warhol may have found beauty in Campbell’s soup.


What will search look like when every query leads to a visually rich supermarket aisle? Visual components now account for 36% of smartphone search results, up from 2% in 2016. The Google representatives are pretty open about this, saying,


“We’re converting the SERP into a never-ending flow of visual inspiration.”


I am constantly keeping an eye on multisearch, visual search, and all the variations of image search because I am an artist and am naturally interested by any visual media. It’s time to think about how visual media will fare if it becomes overused in the coming years.


Getting noticed amidst visual noise


For both local and national SEOs, the topic of difference will always be pertinent. We are now aware of the significant competitive advantage high-quality visuals can provide for our clients. According to Google, customers are 90% more likely to make a purchase from a company that has images in Maps and search results. Large, high-quality photos can be clearly seen to affect organic ranks, and Google itself mentions their influence on local rank. Even Google’s review order is impacted by UGC-uploaded images. Early adopters will reap the rewards, but as a once-exceptional behavior becomes standard, the benefits may wane.


The use of photos for local SEO has not yet peaked. An amazing Twitter thread on the seven different sorts of graphics that every Google Business Profile should have was recently provided by expert and friend Darren Shaw. These visuals include brand identity images, exterior and interior premise shots, employee photos, product/service photos, UGC, and review screenshots. The truth is that so many local businesses haven’t even started creating listings yet, and the list is vast enough to keep any company busy in 2023. Nevertheless, I want to inspire you to start thinking beyond the norms before they become the norm.


If your goal is to use AI graphics to keep up with the competition, you risk looking exactly like them, which is contrary to one of the main reasons why people appreciate independent local businesses so much: because they are unique! Through the McDonaldization phenomena, predictability may have helped fast food chains succeed, but the secret to 3 in 4 people shopping small and local is the uniqueness of the goods, services, and experiences they can find there. It makes sense that your digital visual presentation should draw inspiration from this current dynamic and dare to be unique.


Here are my five original ideas for visually setting off the local companies you promote online from less inventive rivals:


Engage a neighborhood artist to paint your company. If your Google Business Profile photo deck featured brilliant fine art depicting your shop, your grounds, your staff, your inventory, and people coming in for experiences with you, just think of how unique it would appear. There is a good fine artist nearby that has the skill to depict how your company is an active member of the neighborhood, I promise. Give your employees and consumers reasons to be pleased with the places they work and shop.


Employ a talented professional photographer to make your company appear interesting. You need basic shots of the assets Darren Shaw mentions, and Joel Headley has already documented the increase in traffic, calls, and other conversion metrics when stock photos are replaced by original images. However, a skilled art photographer could take this a step further by photographing elements of your business in such a way that the general public will want to visit them personally.


Are you employed in a profession that people frequently describe as “boring”? Would it be amusing enough to help your listings stand out? To make your community laugh together with you and remember your brand, think about employing a local cartoonist.


Utilize every chance to create a green area on your property. Being in touch with nature is being emphasized as being important for mental wellness. It’s the reason Trinity College Dublin destroyed its lawns and replaced them with blooming, butterfly-filled wildflower patches. When taking pictures of the planted areas visitors can experience at your location, be sure to emphasize accessibility and spots for quiet reflection as a respite from shopping.


Think about how art, such as paintings, photographs, sculptures, community initiatives, music, and more, might enhance your business. A retail facility with wall space can serve as both a gallery and a social media hotspot, and a grocery store can have a terrific soundtrack. Customers are more likely to want to take selfies at your business the more inviting it appears. Because each person is different, the phenomenon known as user-generated content (UGC) can develop into a valuable asset that will allow you and your community to view your company through the eyes of many.


My two-point viewpoint


Convenience sells, on the one hand. When a robot can do it all for you, why would you open a cookbook, flip a switch, sweep your own floor, toil away at writing anything, or mix your own paints for a hand-painted picture? Why not take it easy because we are all so exhausted? But the issue is, I think I’ve identified the aspect of this worldview that has been really hurting me lately. It sounds like the voice in my head that would allow me to be incredibly lazy rather than work hard to do my best while having a persistent impairment. That sneaky voice that encourages me to take it easy rather than taking care of myself as much as I can, and that is bolstered by every commercial offering to take all of my burdens off of me.


I guess I’m cautious of this pernicious voice being a major force in society because I’ve resisted this urge for years and forced myself to remain optimistic and creative through some extremely difficult circumstances. Because I don’t think humans create great writing, art, music, movements, or anything else of lasting significance when shortcuts are favored over laborious effort, I don’t think everything should always be as easy as possible. Yes, we increasingly have the option to let computers do all of our job and even think for us, but from another angle, I see what we can lose if we never put in the effort ourselves.


I’ve participated in a lot of juried art exhibitions over the years, and I can tell you that there is nothing quite like the rush of entering a large, busy exhibition space, scouring the crowded walls for your work, seeing a blue ribbon hanging on it, and seeing that tiny “sold” sticker on the card that goes with it. There is tremendous satisfaction in discovering that someone else noticed your work and selected it as the finest in the show or even as something to take home and display in their own space. You know exactly what you put into that item, from ideation to drafting to completion.


I want local business owners and their marketers to feel proud of themselves when they are picked because they applied the highest standards to the creative presentation of their businesses rather than settling for poor standards. Local companies that go above and above improve the quality of life for the entire neighborhood. It’s a fantastic thing.


Even if it merely serves as a starting point for your own thoughts about standing out above the clutter of a more automated visual web, I hope you will find some value for my painting in your work. Your originality, good intentions, and above all, your individuality, are important. Some people contend that life is an artistic endeavor, therefore let’s conclude with a wise observation from Cézanne:


“A work of art is not art unless it began in emotion.”


The emotions are all on our side and ready to connect us with the people we care about and serve, regardless of how artificially “intelligent” we make the bots.

No leads were lost. reduced overhead.
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