With the boom of local searches on the Internet and the increase of Google My Business listings, Google partially lost control of what was and wasn’t being published on Google Maps. From here came the idea of creating a kind of power users and moderators called: Google Local Guides.
With them, the intention from the beginning was to shed truth to the information offered on Google Maps so users who browse the app could find real reviews from trustworthy people.
This is why, the idea of creating a premium community (although it doesn’t cost anything to belong to it) was developed. This community would be in charge of shedding light on Google My Business listings and providing verified information about them.
Logically, people don’t usually offer their time for free. Thus, initially, this program encouraged users to write reviews by offering small Google products for free in exchange, such as, storage in the cloud or music streaming services at no cost.
From the moment that the Local Guides program started in 2015, the number of Local Guides has surpassed 120 million users. A great success.
What’s Google Local Guides?
Google Local Guides is a program developed by Google to create a community of power users that will be in charge of verifying that the information offered by Google Maps is correct and also, contributing more valuable information.
That is, these users will be in charge of valuing each local business through their reviews. Their opinions will be more important than the rest of users.
This system helped Google to filter those users that made spam on Google My Business listings or those who only wrote negative reviews on their competitors’ profile.
It also helped Google to discover new interesting places for the public even if they weren’t a local business themselves, such as, special settings or places of interests in cities, etc.
All this information offered by users for free makes it possible that Google can with almost complete certainty show the best places to eat in a city, the best monuments to visit in any specific place or the hidden jewels to avoid massive tourism, etc.
This has made possible that in industries like tourism, Featured Snippets are displayed on Google’s results as information directly published by users which helps other users in the same situation.
How do you become a Local Guide?
In order to become a Google Local Guide, you must have a Google account and join the program by clicking the following link:
Once you have signed up, you can start writing as many authentic reviews as you want to climb higher levels within the Local Guide program.
How many points you need for each level
As you publish reviews, upload photos of local businesses, add places on Google Maps, verify information, etc., you will earn points to reach higher levels.
From level 4 you will earn your first Google Local Guide Badge which recognize you as trustworthy user for the system:
- Level 1:0 points
- Level 2: 15 points
- Level 3: 75 points
- Level 4: 250 points + badge
- Level 5: 500 points + badge
- Level 6: 1,500 points + badge
- Level 7: 5,000 points + badge
- Level 8: 15,000 points + badge
- Level 9: 50,000 points + badge
- Level 10: 100,000 points + badge
How many points can you earn per action?
Every time you take an action, you will increase the number of points on your Local Guide profile. Logically, the more effort your action requires, the more points you will receive:
- Each Review: 10 points
- Review with more than 200 characters: 10 bonus points per review
- Rating a place: 1 point
- Upload a photo to a Google Maps listing: 5 points
- Photo tags: 3 points
- Upload a photo to a Google Maps listing: 7 points
- Reply to a review: 1 point
- Respond to Q&As: 3 points
- Edit a listing: 5 points
- Add a new place on Google Maps: 15 points
- Add a new road on Google Maps: 15 points
- Fact checked: 1 point
- Eligible list published: 10 points
- Description (in list): 5 points
What is Google Local Guide for?
Being a Google Local Guide brings some advantages such as:
- Your opinions will be more valuable than other users who hardly participate. This is important when you report comments and fake or negative reviews. A Local Guide can report spam and Google will probably accept the request and delete the comment. This is why it’s important to be a Local Guide for local SEO.
- You will contribute the community and have access to Beta phases developed on Google Maps. This is crucial to be up to date about coming changes on Google Maps.
- You will access special discounts only available to participants of the program.
- You will be invited to sponsored events where you can talk to other participants of the program and meet people.
As you have probably realized, being a Google Local Guide is very important if you own a local business since you will have more power to report fake comments from competitors or spam on your Google My Business listing.
This is why, being part of this program will always be beneficial, at least until you reach the level 4 where you will get a badge that identifies you as a reliable Local Guide.
Reaching a Level 4 is quite easy just by interacting with the platform a little bit. It will always be a plus to keep this profile just for having early access to new features on Google Maps which importance is increasing each year.
If you want more information about Google My Business