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How to Fix Image Not Approved in Google Business Profile Photos

Small businesses and marketers are often told that they need to be actively managing their Google Business Profile listings (formerly Google My Business). One way to keep the business listing fresh and engaging for visitors is by uploading relevant and interesting images.

However, if you have spent any time working with a Google Business Profile (GBP), you likely know the system can be finicky at times. If you’re uploading images on a regular basis on your Google Business Profile, you will indubitably encounter the dreaded “Not Approved” status on a photo.

photo upload rejected gbp

Thankfully, there is a way to get your photos reconsidered for inclusion, even after they have been rejected. Before we jump into photo appeal steps, it’s important to understand why your image likely was rejected in the first place.

What Causes Images to Get Rejected on Google Business Profile

It’s important to remember that there is no individual person checking the images you upload. Google solely relies on its automated systems to automatically accept or reject images based upon pre-programmed, albeit impressive, image detection systems.

As such, it helps to understand what the system is looking out for when you upload an image.

Legitimate Reasons Your Images Were Rejected

The following are legitimate reasons an image will not be approved for your Google Business Profile listing. The list below was lovingly compiled based upon Google’s Map User Contributed Content Policy, Google’s guidelines for Managing Photos on Google Business Profiles, Google’s Business Profile Photo and Video Policy, Google’s Prohibited and Restricted Content List, feedback from Google Business Profile product experts, and our own experience working with hundreds of Google Business Profile listings for over a decade.

Keep in mind that your image does not have to specifically hit one of these criteria to be rejected. Google’s automated system must simply think you’ve violated one of the following guidelines.

Image Format and Quality Related Issues

Format related issues are related to the file uploaded itself. These are typically the easiest errors to identify and resolve.

  • The image is low quality. Low quality images include blurry, dark/poor lighting, noisy/overly busy, or low-resolution images. Google even states that excessive image editing and collages can sometimes trigger their photo quality filter.
  • Screenshots are specifically prohibited. If you’re taking screenshots and uploading them to your listings, they will likely get rejected.
  • The image is the wrong format or size. Google Business Profile only accepts images in JPG, JPEG, or PNG format. Images should be at least 720 pixels wide and 720 pixels high. However, we’ve had better luck uploading even higher resolution images.
  • The file size of the image must be smaller than 5 MB.

For formatting and sizing issues, you can use a tool like Adobe Photoshop, or the easy-to-use and Free Adobe Express to resize the photos properly.

Image Content Related Issues

The following are common reasons images get rejected due to the content of the image itself:

  • The image contains inappropriate content which can include nudity, violence, terrorist, hate speech, or other items that are illegal or dangerous.
  • The image is copyrighted. If Google thinks you do not have the legal right to upload copyrighted images to Google Business Profile, it will likely get flagged. Watermarks are certainly a quick indicator of copyrighted content.
  • If Google suspects you have images of people taken without their consent, this can also flag an image rejection.
  • Google states that stock photos purchased from stock photography sites should not be used on your listing and Google Maps.
  • The image has too much text. Less than 10% of the image should have overlayed text. In general, Google states text overlays should be minimal. Additionally, we’ve seen some circumstances where text including phone numbers or large logos is automatically rejected.
  • The image is a duplicate. You cannot and should not upload the same image multiple times.
  • If you are misrepresenting your business with the image, it can easily be flagged and rejected.

Account Related Issues

If your account or listing has any of the following issues, your uploaded images will likely get rejected:

  • You Google Business Profile Listing is not fully verified.
  • Your Google Business Profile listing is suspended.
  • The Google Business Profile listing is less than two weeks old. Sometimes photos uploaded in this 14-day period will automatically publish.
  • The personal account associated with managing your GBP is deactivated.

To easily gauge your Google Business Profile's overall health, you can use BrightLocal's toolset to monitor for updates and optimize the listing.

Additional Requirements for Cover Photos

Please note that if you are looking to change or fix your Google Business Profile cover photo, the principles in this article certainly still apply. However, GBP cover photos have an extra layer of requirements to get the uploaded photo to actually be used as a cover photo. Check out our guide on how to update or fix your Google Business Profile (GBP) cover photo for more information.

Other Reasons Your Images May Have Been Rejected

Perhaps your images meet all the proper criteria and guidelines, but your image is still getting rejected. You’re not alone; we’ve had it happen to us too. Typically when this occurs, it can be related to a temporary bug. These bugs or “new feature rollouts” (said with mild sarcasm) sometimes occur in the Google Business Profile photo system that can cause images to be rejected without a rhyme or reason.

If you think this is the case, you can try uploading the image again immediately, or after 1-2 weeks (recommended).

Please also note that images uploaded sometimes are marked with a “Not Approved” wording and after 48 hours, the image pushes through successfully.

How to Appeal Images Being Rejected

Step 1: Check the Image Guidelines

First, you should be checking the content, quality, and format of your images. If you have indirectly or directly violated one of those guidelines, simply choose to upload a new image, or adjust the existing image to fit within the guidelines.

Step 2: Try Uploading Again After Wait Period

If you’re confident that your images abide by all guidelines, but the image is still being rejected, simply wait and try again. Automated systems often have temporary issues. Instead of spending too much time on this, come back a week or two later and attempt uploading the images once again.

Step 3: Use the Photo Appeal Form

If your images meet the guidelines and are still being rejected despite multiple upload attempts over an extended period of time, it may be time to reach out to Google via their image appeal form.

google image appeal form

Previously, reaching out to Google support for image help yielded very little results. However, in 2023, Google released an updated support form that allows you to appeal an image that has been rejected. Use the following steps to appeal the image rejection:

  1. Make sure you are logged into the Google account associated with your Google Business Profile.
  2. Visit Google's Help Portal
  3. Select the business with which you need assistance.
  4. Where it says, “tell us what we can help with,” enter “image not approved.”
  5. Click “Next.”
  6. Under “choose the best description of this issue,” select “fix photo that doesn’t show.”
  7. Click Next Step.
  8. Click Next Step again.
  9. Under Contact Options, select email.
  10. Fill out all the relevant fields on the page with 100% accuracy. The more detail you can give here the better, especially in the Describe your issue field.
  11. Under the “attach photos/videos you are unable to upload to Google”, add only the photos that were rejected. Do not miss this step, otherwise the form is pointless!                                          attach photos step
  12. Click Submit.
  13. Write down the Case ID that is generated, as you may need the case ID for tracking and follow up purposes.
  14. You should receive a follow up email from Google support.

This will get a case created with Google Support specifically to re-review the photos. Theoretically, since Google now has unique form criteria for photo appeals, the hope is that you’ll get your request in front of the right eyeballs. You’ll need to wait patiently for support to get back to you and provide additional details.

While you wait for Google to reconsider your photos, consider subscribing to our free monthly newsletter for more SEO, digital marketing, and web design tips. Hopefully, your image issue will be resolved by the time our next monthly newsletter is delivered to your inbox!

If you’ve seen other reasons photos get rejected that would help readers, or you are Google and want us to amend our info, feel free to contact us.

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