Google My Business Troubleshooting: I Want to Change My Cover Photo
Google My Business is one of your most important SEO tools, displaying information about your business in searches on a variety of Google platforms. If you’ve been following the advice in our GMB guides, you’ve probably spent some time refining your listing and ensuring everything is up to date — which makes it especially frustrating when you search for your brand and find that your listing has a cover photo that you didn’t choose and don’t like.
Your GMB cover photo is the primary image that appears along with your listing when you perform a search related to your business on Google, Maps, and beyond.
In most cases, this is the first image a searcher is going to see related to your brand, so you want it to make a good first impression! But here’s where it gets tricky. You can set your cover photo on your GMB account, but Google doesn’t guarantee that that’s the image they’ll end up using.
Google will choose the photo that they think best shows searchers what your business offers, and it could come from your uploaded photos, image search, or user-submitted photos. The main factors that influence this decision are the quality of the photo and the number of views it has.
Even though it’s ultimately up to the all-mighty algorithm, this guide will walk you through some steps you can take to try to feature your preferred cover photo on GMB.
First things first: Set a good cover photo.
If you didn’t already do this as part of your initial GMB setup, start by specifying your cover image:
- Go to your Google My Business profile either on desktop (business.google.com) or the app.
- Go to “Post,” and click on “Add photos/videos” to upload your photo.
- Click on the “More” menu (the three dots stacked vertically) on the top right corner of the photo.
- Select “Set as cover photo.”
To give your photo the best chance of being displayed as your cover, make sure that it follows Google’s guidelines:
- Format: JPG or PNG
- Size: Between 10 KB and 5 MB
- Recommended resolution: 720 px tall, 720 px wide
- Minimum resolution: 250 px tall, 250 px wide
- Quality: The photo should be in focus and well lit, and have no significant alterations or excessive use of filters. In other words, the image should represent reality.
Pro tip: Remember that your cover photo is used in a thumbnail format in mobile searches, so be sure to select a photo that will look good in this size. Square photos with a central focus look best in the thumbnail.
Again, this doesn’t guarantee Google will select this photo as the cover photo. So if you’ve already done all of the above and Google is still displaying a different photo, here are a couple things you can try.
1. Change your photo on the free GMB website.
Did you know that when you set up a GMB profile, you can create a free GMB website for your business? You might never publish or use this website, but many SEO experts have noted that changing the header photo on this website automatically updated their GMB listing’s cover photo. To do this:
- Sign in to your GMB profile on business.google.com.
- On the left-hand menu, click “Website.”
- On the top right of the header photo, click “Edit Header Photo.”
- Upload or drag your desired photo.
Once you’ve saved your changes, do a search for your business and see if the GMB photo has updated. This trick has worked for many in the past, and you don’t even need to publish your GMB website.
2. Upload new photos often.
If you’re still seeing an image you don’t like associated with your profile, it’s time to give Google some new options to choose from. Keeping your profile fresh is a best practice anyway, so be sure to regularly upload new photos showing what your business offers. This includes photos of the interior and exterior of your business (if you have a physical space) as well as photos of people having fun on your activities and photos of your staff. Just be sure these photos are high quality and meet the requirements outlined above.
3. Flag inappropriate photos for removal.
Google doesn’t just consider the photos you upload yourself. They can also choose from the photos that people submit when they review your business. Because they’re uploaded by your customers, you don’t have control of removing these photos.
However, in the event that an inappropriate or irrelevant user-submitted photo is being displayed as your cover image, you do have the option to flag it for removal by following these steps:
- Sign in to your GMB profile.
- Go to “Photos.”
- Find the photo you’d like to remove, and click the flag icon on the top right corner.
- Select the reason for reporting this image and submit.
If Google finds that the photo doesn’t follow its content guidelines, they will remove it. This may not solve your issue of setting your desired cover photo, but at least you can get rid of odd images that don’t represent your business.
Now that you know you can’t just set your cover photo and forget it, you should plan to regularly monitor your listing. Set a reminder to do a quick Google search for your business each month to check that your preferred photo is still the cover, and if it’s not, loop back to the beginning of this guide.
Check out our GMB checklist for more tips on maintaining your listing.