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Why did Google decide to remove the "See Inside" from search results?

We've been involved in a unique program working with Google Maps Street View almost since it's inception. In short, we're able to extend Street View technology inside of private organizations and businesses. One of the most well-known benefits of participation in this program is getting the beloved "See Inside" button on the search results page. But just getting that "See Inside" link wasn't the sole reason to invest in premium 360-degree business photography on Google Maps.

First, A little background on the Google Street View Photography Program

At first, there was only a tiny handful of photographers and digital agencies certified to do this but the program has grown quite a bit over the past few years. Add to this that both the hardware and software needed to create 360-degree photos (and videos while we're on the subject) is getting cheaper and easier to use, more and more photographers are entering the mix and quality has been taking a pretty big hit.

We actually created a whole 'nother web presence to showcase some of our work in this program over at Biz View 360.

So, what's all the fuss about this "See Inside" button?

One of the most well-known benefits business owners saw after electing to participate in this unique program by hiring a certified Google Street View photographer, was the "See Inside" tile/button that would then appear in select (and appropriate) search results (when and where and how these things appear always has and always will be controlled exclusively by Google).

Recently, Google announced that the "See Inside" language and image are going away and that Google Street View virtual tours by professionally trained and certified Google Street View photographers will now appear along with all other imagery for the business, including Google Street View imagery (from the actual Street View cars that drive by outside the business), still imagery by the business owner, user submitted imagery, as well as still imagery from Google Street View photography pros.

We've gotten a ton of questions about this over the last few weeks from past and prospective customers alike. So, I made a short video to kind of show what the "See Inside" option used to look like and to basically summarize why I feel like it's not quite as big of a deal as some are making it out to be. You can check out the video here:



Where can I find some info directly from Google on the topic of this "See Inside" hubbub?

In the Google Maps & Earth Help Forum (which is frequently referenced by existing Google Street View pro photographers as well as those in training), you can see it straight from Stephanie Chan who is who is likely one of the most qualified and informed folks to answer questions about the direction of where professionally sanctioned photography will appear within the various Google products (like Search, Maps, etc):

----- Re-posted from Stephanie Chan's FAQ page --------
Is See Inside going away?
In our previous interface design, See Inside, Street View, and photos were represented by three distinct image buckets. This has proven to be a confusing and unnecessary distinction for our users because See Inside is often showing exterior views, Street View is often not on streets, and photos are often actually 360 photos. Thus, we are moving away from distinguishing 360 photos with the “See Inside” language and are now showcasing 360 imagery on it’s own visible tab in the photos gallery, both on mobile and on desktop.

How can I reassure my clients that their purchased imagery will surface?
While we've shifted to a new photo gallery, image quality remains the most important ranking consideration. Just like search result ranking should never be guaranteed, image ranking in photo galleries shouldn't be guaranteed to your clients, but with an emphasis on great quality content, it's very likely that your images will surface highly.
-------- End re-posted answers --------

Takeaway and Wrap-Up

Google has ultimate control over how content from businesses (and the service providers they hire even despite any Google endorsements or certifications) is reviewed, ranked and displayed within Google's various products.

At the heart of almost every decision Google makes is a simple theme. That theme is: Quality. Google wants to connect users with the best answers to their queries. The best quality content in every medium whether its an article, a video, or photography on Google Maps.

The important thing to take away here is that Stephanie echoes this same thought process Google has always stood for: Quality. Quality will rank in the long run. Quality will get engagement. Quality will sell.

If you want to invest in your web presence and online visibility put great quality content anywhere customers or prospective customers are likely to see it so you get their best consideration as they shop, compare, and in some cases simply seek out information about your business after learning of it thru some other channel (word of mouth, offline advertising, etc).

Google Search and Google Maps are still great places to feature great quality content and our plans at Vendilli are to continue offering high-quality business photography services and our expertise with Google Maps and Google Street View to the businesses out there who know that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right!

Chris Vendilli
About the Author
Chris is the founder and CEO of Vendilli Digital Group. In his free time, you’ll find him camping, fishing, or playing beer league ice hockey with a bunch of guys who refuse to admit they’re already over the hill.
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