GPS Photo Tags for GMB vs. Schema Pins (Myth vs. Reality)

GPS Photo Tags Google My Business (Blog Cover)

Many SEO experts have examined the myth of GPS photo tags influencing Google Maps rankings. Here’s the reality: it doesn’t work. However, don’t confuse GPS photo tags with other kinds of SEO techniques, such as schema markup — which can, in fact, influence rankings.

Local businesses have been trying to gain an edge since SEO’s inception, and many myths, legends, and fairytales have come along for the ride.

Unfortunately, since Google doesn’t publicly release its algorithm, the industry has a history of guessing games, many of which lead people down a rabbit hole that wastes their time and resources.

What is Image Geo-Tagging?

Geo-tagging, also referred to as GPS photo tags, is the insertion of location information into the file data of any given image. The actual tags are the location information of the photo. 

For instance, one might geotag a photo by inputting latitude, longitude, and altitude information into the EXIF data of a given image.

You can then add the geotagged photo to your Google Business Profile to feed Google more information about the picture and the physical location.

SEO Alternatives To Geo-Tagging

While geotags don’t work for SEO, as Google strips the EXIF data from the image as soon as it’s uploaded, another SEO technique influences rankings.

Using schema markup for location-specific information can influence rankings.

Tools like DataPins automate this process by applying schema markup to “pins” that appear on your website.

What are Schema Pins?

Schema pins are pieces of unique map data, in schema form, generated by the DataPins app.

Just like with GPS photo tags, the basic principle is to create unique, location-oriented content for your website – or, in the case of the emphasis of today’s post, your Google My Business page.

The difference is that Schema Pins influence rankings. 

With the DataPins app, you can take a picture of the worksite, enter the location information, and have unique image and map content published to the relevant sections of your Google My Business page.

Schema pins display pins on the map where the service took place. Unfortunately, some confusion remains regarding schema pins and their relationship to geotags (none).

However, misinformation is floating around on YouTube and other forums, contributing to the bewilderment surrounding this topic.

Schema Pin Example (Screenshot)

Schema pins differ from “geo-tagging” by injecting schema markup for specific geo-coordinates.

GPS Photo Tagging Study

In one study conducted over one month, GPS photo tagging had a negligible effect on search engine rankings.

The study targeted 16 different keywords and involved 18 unique posts, each with its own geotagged image.

The study concluded that six keywords dropped in rankings (2 were actually displaced to the 51st position or lower), nine didn’t change at all, and only three improved rankings (likely unrelated).

Does Geotagging Photos Influence Ranking?

Geotagging photos does not influence ranking.

GPS photo tags for Google Business Profile aren’t effective. They don’t work at all.

Schema Pins Study

Schema Pins helped a local plumbing company reach an organic search discovery rate between 84% and 87%.

Customer reviews for the company also tripled across multiple platforms. Lastly, after a year of use, Schema Pins continually added fresh content to Molberg Plumbing LLC’s Google My Business page. 

While some still insist that GPS photo tags for Google My Business can help increase online exposure, there is no doubt that Schema Pins work. 

Molberg GMB Insights (Screenshot)

Do Schema Pins Influence Rankings?

Yes, schema pins influence search rankings by adding relevant content to a business website and increasing the frequency of customer reviews, both of which are confirmed ranking factors.

With the DataPins app, once a pin is added, a text is automatically sent to the customer with a link to a page to leave a review.

This automated review request process was shown in the same study mentioned in the previous section to be more effective than other methods for getting customer reviews. 

Get Started with DataPins

DataPins is all about sustainability and scalability. It can help expand your business by increasing its digital footprint.

The app is very user-friendly and automates many critical digital marketing processes. To learn more or get started with DataPins, give us a call or shoot us a message.