Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

Can I Use My Company Logo as Google Plus Profile Picture? (Weekly Q&A)

There’s an interesting question being discussed at SEOchat forums:


So let’s break the main question into three parts:

Question #1: Should I use my company logo as my social media avatar in general?

The best answer I can give here: You better not.

Social media connects human beings. Your logo may scare off some of the potential followers and thus screw your profile building efforts.

People are more willing to follow people.

Showing the persona behind the social media profile (even when it is related to business) is a must.

Remember wildly popular business Twitter accounts that have built real-life-personas:

personal business account

Question #2: Can I be banned for not using my real photo as my avatar?

My answer: You might be

No personal avatar

While constantly-evolving Google Plus Terms of Service currently don’t explicitly require you to have your headshot as your avatar (the only network that makes it a must is LinkedIn), Google Plus representatives have many times made it obvious that they want profiles to be personal.

For business use, please take advantage of pages that can be built using a personal account of the representative.

Besides, a profile with a business logo is more likely to be suspected of spamming.

Question #3: Will my logo appear in rich snippets for the claimed article?

My answer: No

Update: John Mu of Google has confirmed that you must have a headshot of yours in order to see your Google Plus avatar in Google’s rich snippet:

For authorship rich snippets you need to have a “good, recognizable headshot as your profile photo”:

Apart from that, you can do what you like 🙂

Down to the bottom of the linked thread, we find some personal experience for that case:

I tried using my website favicon and got the message “your icon does not appear to have a face.” That was weeks ago and none of my posts appear in the SERPs with an image.

Conclusion: Using your personal photo as Google Plus avatar is your safest and the best bet.


checkThe Comparison of TOS of Major Social Media Networks: For you to know when you can actually be banned and why

checkYour Social Media Profile Picture Cheatsheet: For you to change your Google Plus avatar now.

Speaking of Google Plus, don’t forget to add Internet Marketing Ninjas page to your circles!

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by quinn.anya


52 Responses

  1. I switch my image out with a company logo for a client. As soon as i made the switch I lost the rich snippet.

    I also tried using rel=publisher with a company logo for a site I am working on now. It’s been live for months now but still now rich snippet.

    So far the only thing that works is a rel=author tag connected to a google+ profile with a real image of a person. A following of people seems to help too.

  2. I strongly agree with the fact that people should only use their personal photo when networking. If you try to post a logo as your profile for a Google+ account, the account setup will not let you proceed. I tried it with one of the brands I manage and it said “your icon does not appear to have a face.”
    There is no reason not to take advantage of the page feature, as it is an excellent tool for brands. If you are worried about not being able to build your network with the brand page, then I recommend following other brands to see what they are doing to engage users.

    1. Twitter id for that style, G+ is a personal networking structure, like Linked in. You need to understand why the specific platform exists, was it designed for personal , professional, company or business networking. this will determine the site owners logic.

  3. I can’t even get a non-photo image of my face to appear. Seems to be photo only.

  4. The is a very interesting article. Recently I add a picture that was not a head shoot because it was more relevant to my search results however google HATED this action.

  5. I wish i’ve read this article before….
    I tried to use my Blog’s logo to be appear in the SERPs but it didn’t and then i replaced that image with my HEADSHOT image and i was in the SERPs within a week after changing it!

  6. Interesting question. I been going back and forth on this. I think it really depends on what your purpose is with your social media accounts.

  7. My product is printed raffle tickets. I was thinking about doing a photo where I’m holding a large raffle ticket right under my eyes (hiding the rest of my face). Ala Mr. Wison looking over the fence in Home Improvement. Do you think Goggle will ding me?

  8. Now with author rank coming up, Google should really reconsider the point about letting Google Plus users put their company logo as their profile picture. The crazy thing about the entire author rank is that the content on a business website belongs to the organization so how can any one person take credit for it or be associated with it?

    The owner, CEO or MD does not want his name and face next to the link on Google’s SERPs and allowing employees to take credit for business content is also not acceptable should they leave the organization someday. I really think that Google was short-sighted with Google Plus to some degree.

    Take a page out of Twitter’s book and allow users to decide for themselves whether they will use your social media platform as a person or organization and capitalize on all the benefits accordingly.

  9. Thanks very much for this article. Have been trying to get our logo within the SERPS for ages. Will now add a headshot and see what happens.

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