Google Local Guides are Google Maps users who share reviews, and photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and even check facts on Google Maps. Anyone can sign up to be a Local Guide by using their Google account. So, let’s understand how you can become a guide and their impact on your business and reputation management. 

What is Google Local Guide Program?

The Google Local Guides program is a community-driven initiative encouraging users to contribute information about local businesses and attractions. Known as Local Guides, users can share reviews, pictures, and updates on Google Maps, reports span content, create lists of places, and more, and earn points to unlock the different levels of this program and its benefits. 

Users can make the most of exclusive benefits like early access to features and special events. This program aims to enhance the quality of information on local businesses on Google Maps. This creates a community of users passionate about sharing insights and improving information available worldwide.

In order to become a Google Local Guide, you must have:

  • A valid Google account
  • Meet the minimum age for participating as per your home country
  • Sign up for the program and agree to its rules and guidelines

How to Become Local Guide on Google?

To become a Google Local Guide, the first step is to have a Google account. If you don’t have one, create one to start your journey. After this step, download the Google Maps app on your mobile device or access it through your web browser. Follow the below steps to become a Local Guide:

Step 1: Open Google Maps and sign in to your Google account.

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Step 2: Click on the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner to open the menu bar. 

Step 3: Scroll down and select “Your contributions.” From there, select “Join Local Guides” and follow the instructions to sign up for the program. 

Alternatively, you can also sign up by directly visiting https://maps.google.com/localguides/.

What are the Google Local Guide Benefits?

Local Guides can earn points by making contributions to Google Maps. Your Google Local Guide levels will increase with your increase in contributions which can be writing reviews, sharing photos and videos, and responding to questions, among others. 

There are a total of 10 levels, and if you want to know how to get Google local guide badge, then you need to reach level 4. Additionally, there are numerous benefits of Google Local Guide as they can get access to special events, parties, or meetups. The local guide rewards also include getting discounts on Google products, eligibility to test new Google products, as well as receiving thank-you gifts for high-quality participation.

Significance of Google Local Guide Program in Local Business Listings

The Google Local Guide Program plays a key role in improving local business listings on Google Maps. Contributions of the Local Guides make it easier for others to find the information they were looking for. It increases the visibility of local businesses and increases their traffic. 

Essentially, active participation of Local Guides ensures the reliability of details on Google Maps, benefiting both businesses and users seeking credible information about local establishments. This program relies on the efforts of Local Guides to maintain comprehensive and helpful local business listings or as officially called, Google Business Profiles.

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How Local Guides Impact Your Business Reputations?

The contributions of Google Map Local Guides have a distinctive influence on your local business:

  • Reviews and Ratings

Positive reviews from Local Guides can boost the reputation of your business whereas negative reviews can deter potential customers. In many cases, the reviews and ratings show up at the top of the business listings as reviews written by Local Guides tend to be longer and include photos and videos. Therefore, this factor significantly impacts your customer decisions.

  • Online Visibility and Exposure

Businesses with positive reviews from Local Guides can increase in their visibility on Google Maps and other services. Active participation fosters higher user engagement, encouraging interactions like inquiries, directions, and bookings for your local business. 

  • Brand Trust

Reviews and information provided by Local Guides impact the credibility and trustworthiness of your brand. Oftentimes, users rely on reviews from real customers to make informed decisions about what services to use or where to go. The user-generated content published by Local Guides on your Google Business Profile can significantly influence consumer trust and confidence. 

  • Community Building 

Brands engaging with the Local Guides community create a supporting environment. Positive interactions lead to a potential brand advocate within the community and foster a sense of community support. 

  • Local SEO Impact

Contents published by Local Guides, including reviews, photos, or answers can positively affect local SEO. A Google Business Profile with detailed and positive Local Guide contributions may achieve a higher rank in the local search results. 

  • Customer Experience Management

Reviews posted by Local Guides, whether positive or negative, offer valuable feedback to the local business. By responding to the reviews, especially constructive criticism can demonstrate proactive customer concern. Moreover, unsolicited feedback provides a business with detailed insight and becomes a valuable source for improving customer experiences.

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How to Drive Google Local Guides to Your Business?

As a business owner, you need to treat all your customers like one and work towards surpassing their expectations. Some of the effective reputation management strategies that you can use while engaging with Google Local Guides are:

  • Manage Your Google Business Profile: Ensure your Business Profile is updated with accurate details, focusing on the business name, address, operating hours, and phone number to attract Google Local Guides. 
  • Respond to Reviews: Timely responses to reviews, especially within 7 days can enhance customer perception. Therefore, engage with Local Guides and other customers by responding to reviews which is critical for building a positive image. 
  • Evalue Feedback of Local Guides: Leverage authentic feedback from Local Guides to gain insightful information into customer experience. Focus on extracting actionable information from the reviews and work towards addressing the challenges effectively.
  • Don’t Buy or Incentivize Reviews: Encourage organic contributions from Local Guides and customers instead of buying reviews or offering incentives to them. These practices violate Google’s review policy and lead to penalties from regulatory authorities. 

Conclusion

Thus, Google Local Guides play a vital role in influencing your local business. You can easily become a Local Guide by following the steps listed in this blog and reap the Google Maps Local Guide rewards and benefits. If you are a business owner, utilize the feedback from your reviews and implement effective reputation management strategies to elevate customer experiences.