September 23, 2020

The Business Owner’s Manual to Google Local Guides

an image of a person overlooking a map app on a smartphone

Google Local Guides are power users on Google Maps. They enhance the online local experience for other searchers by writing reviews, sharing images, answering questions, and correcting or editing numerous entries on Google Maps.

Google is widely known as the leader when it comes to local search, with customer reviews stats showing the site to hold 57.5% of all online reviews. Those in the Local Guides program not only ensure that Google keeps its commanding lead in online reviews; they also work to be an authoritative source on Maps, which makes them a valuable asset for any business looking to make their mark online.

How Do I Become a Google Local Guide?

The process for becoming a Google Local Guide is as simple as visiting the Local Guides site and clicking the “Join” button at the top of the screen. After making sure you’re signed in to your Google account you’ll need to select your city and check the boxes confirming three things:

  • That you are 18 years old or older
  • Read and agree to the Local Guides program rules
  • Agree to receive emails from the program

Once you check the boxes, you can press the “Sign Up” and wait for Google to confirm your entry into the program.


Aside from the age limit, there are two other pieces of criteria for anyone who wants to be a Local Guide. The program is only available where Google Maps is present. As it stands, Google says that Maps is available in “40 countries and languages.” The other criteria is that Local Guides are only for individuals, not businesses. This ensures that contributions from Local Guides are true to the experience and prevents potential manipulation of the submitted information by any brand.

How A Google Local Guide Contribute to Listings

Every action on a listing by a Local Guide is rewarded with a specific amount of points. This includes things like fact checking information (1 point per fact), adding a new business (15 points), uploading a video (7 points), or leaving a review (10 points or 20 points for every review with more than 200 characters).

The number of points a user accumulates determines their Local Guide level, and there are 10 levels. At level 4 (250 cumulative points), the user will have a Local Guides badge next to their name on Maps. Google also offers rewards and perks for those who climb the ranks. Details are unclear, but Google says it offers “early access to Google features and special perks from partners.”

Many people also seem to ask if a Google Local Guide is paid for their services. As far as we can tell, the program is voluntary and the rewards listed above are the only things Local Guides can get from Google.

a person dropping pins on an online map

How To Get A Google Local Guide to Your Business

In most cases, it’s difficult to spot a Local Guide in person unless they’re wearing Local Guide-branded clothing or if you recognize their face from their many online submissions. The only way to get eventual recognition from a Local Guide is to treat all your customers like one.

This starts with a Google My Business listing that is full of appealing photos and videos as well as correct information on top of a solid local SEO strategy. To help increase online visibility, you should also be proactive and know how to ask for reviews as well as learn how to respond to negative reviews.

Having a dedicated plan for review response and generation not only helps you save face; it can also be the best way to get valuable insights that help improve the customer experience for future customers (who just might be a Google Local Guide).

a man speaking to others via megaphone on a computer screen

The Power of a Google Local Guide

Having a Google Local Guide answer a question, leave a review, or post a photo on your listing on Maps can positively impact your brand. It shows that one of Google’s many highly trusted sources took time to give your business a shot, which can make it easier for future consumers to make a purchase decision.

However, this hinges on the fact that your brand meets the virtual and physical expectations that you set. Providing the correct online information coupled with a top-notch experience at any location makes a Local Guide happy, which means more customers and a chance to further improve the customer experience.

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