So you’ve carefully selected a beautiful image to feature as your cover photo on your Google my business listing and when you pull up your local knowledge panel in Google search results shock horror.
A different photo is being used from the one you set. How can this be? And how do you make sure your chosen image shows up?
Why Is Your Cover Photo Not The One You Set?
Your Google my business cover photo is the image you should pay the most attention to because it’s the first image visitors will see when they come across your listing in Google search results on Google Maps and also on Mobile.
You shouldn’t judge a book on its cover right, but everybody does.
And anyone casting their eyes on your cover photo will consciously, or not, start judging your business based on that one simple image.
Remember, most visitors who will come across your listing will have never heard of you before.
Your cover photo is your chance to make a good first impression.
The problem is, while setting a cover photo for your listing through your dashboard seems easy enough, there is no guarantee Google will be using it.
That’s because Google reserves the right to choose which photo is most suitable to represent your business, yes, you’ve heard that right.
They even mention it on their guidelines and specify that setting a Cover Photo doesn’t guarantee it will show up as the first image for your business.
It’s not uncommon for Google to automatically switch your preferred cover photo to something else that was published on your listing several months or years ago.
This is because the algorithm believes another photo is more representative of your business based on the number of views that it got or the quality of it.
They may even use images that have been posted by random visitors.
So if you were wondering how or why your cover photo has changed, this is your answer.
And my advice here is, make sure you check your listing from time to time to verify the correct photo is showing.
But what about if it’s not?
Well, you can try uploading the photo again and hope Google will use it this time, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.
There is a better, faster and easier way of doing this with a simple hack.
How To Set Your Cover Photo For Good
First, you have to decide which photo you want to set as your cover photo. You may already have something in mind, but if you don’t, you can design something that looks professional from scratch using canva.com for free.
Step 1: Design your cover photo
If you’re not familiar with Canva.com, it is a graphic design platform that makes it super easy to create digital assets for your website and social media accounts.
Once you’ve logged in, click on create a design.
There are plenty of pre-set templates to choose from but unfortunately none for a Google my business cover photo so select the custom size option instead.
The cover photo format is a landscape and the minimum size for it should be 480px by 270px.
The maximum size is 2120px by one 1192px.
I recommend you go for something in the middle and set the size of your Canva to 1080px by 608px.
According to Google’s guidelines, you should set a cover photo that best represents your business, so you should adhere to that. I suggest you don’t try anything fancy.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is centred enough because your image will get cropped depending on where it shows.
Once you’re happy with your design, click on download and export it somewhere on your computer where you can easily retrieve it.
Step 2: Upload your cover photo to your Google Listing
Next, head over to Google my business and sign in to your Google my business account to access your dashboard.
From the left-hand side menu, click on “website”.
By default, Google will have created a free website for your business when you created your listing based on the information you have filled in.
If you have decided not to use this free website for your business, it won’t be live, and you should see a button that says publish.
If you are using the free website option, then the button will display as “view site”.
It doesn’t matter whether the site is published or not. What you want to do here is scroll down a little until you can see the edit header photo option.
Click on it and either drag and drop the image you’ve just created or fetch it from its location on your computer and save it.
No need to do anything else, you can log out of your account.
Time to view your listing. You might need to refresh your page. Et voilà. Your new cover photo should be showing in all of its glory.
There you have it, editing the header on the free Google website of your Google my business dashboard simply overrides whatever image is currently being used on your listing as your cover photo.
And the good news is, you don’t even need to wait. Once the header photo of the free website has been saved, the cover photo of your listing is updated instantly.
And, it doesn’t matter if you are using the free website or not as your main website.
If you realize your image doesn’t look good when it gets cropped in the various places where Google will show it, simply repeat the process.
Go back and edit the cover photo again and swap your image for another one.
Please note, every time you update the website photo header with a new image, it will automatically be added to the image library of your listing.
So, if like me, you try a different image for the same cover to see what works best you may end up with something like this.
This is not going to look very good for visitors who decide to check your photo gallery.
If it happens to you, log in to your Google my business dashboard.
From the left-hand side menu, select the photo option. Click on the photos you want to get rid of and delete them using the bin.
Final word. Be careful what photo you decide to post and make sure you stick to Google’s guidelines, so you don’t get penalized.
So if you wake up one morning and find Google has decided to switch your cover photo to something else, you will now know exactly why, and there won’t be any need to get angry about it because you’ll know exactly what to do about it.