Google Local Guides aren’t your average Google user.
In a nutshell, Google Local Guides are power users for Google Reviews. Users who sign up and contribute to the program are rewarded with “Google Local Guide” status. These guides also enhance the local experience for other online searchers by adding and improving listings on Google Maps.
This isn’t just another small club for the Google elite. Last year, Google said that it had more than 30 million contributors in its Local Guides program.
Many people consider Local Guides to be an authoritative source, and their words can be the last word in whether or not a place is worth visiting. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
How Can I Tell if a Google Local Guide Contributed to My Listing?
Google doesn’t have plenty of details on the matter, but our observations revealed that a Local Guide review for a business usually stays near the top of the reviews feed in the default “Most Relevant” sorting. Answers from Local Guides are also prominent in the “Questions & answers” section of a listing in local search.
You can actually tell a Local Guide apart from another user by the “Local Guide” title underneath their name as well as the small star badge next to their profile picture.
Google’s algorithm may show preferential treatment for reviews written by Google Local Guides (by pushing these reviews higher), or their prominent position in your reviews feed may simply be because of the guide’s authority because the quality of review written by a Google Local Guide is often very high.
Compared to most users, Google will show the number of photo and review submissions next to a Local Guide’s name. Most of the time, the submission number is impressive, and it can rank up in the hundreds.
What Else Can a Google Local Guide Do?
Every action on a listing by a Local Guide is rewarded with points. This includes things like correcting listing information, adding a new business, and uploading a video. The number of points a user accumulates determines their Local Guide level.
There are 10 Local Guide levels, and Google offers rewards and perks for those who climb the ranks. For instance, those who are level two or higher get early access to new Google product features. They also “get occasional perks from Google and local perks from partners.”
Members on levels 4 – 10 can redeem their points to get a three-month Google Play Music subscription or 75 percent off a rental in the Google Play Movie store.
These rewards aren’t exactly tantalizing. However, it’s enough to provide an incentive for Local Guides to help Google and others users understand every listing on the map.
How Do I Spot/Attract Google Local Guides to a Business?
In most cases, it’s difficult to spot a Local Guide unless they’re wearing Local Guide-branded clothing or if you recognize their face from their many online submissions.
However, there are other ways to attract Local Guides.
You can optimize a business’ Maps listing so that it fits specific search queries or add video to showcase products and offerings. Restaurants should have a menu readily available to view on their Google listing as well as an appointment URL so that Local Guides can easily book a reservation.
In the end, however, you should treat everyone who visits the business as if they were all Local Guides. Providing excellent service, showing accurate information, and asking for feedback all contribute to raising your online profile.
Sooner or later, an actual Local Guide might stop by, and their review of the experience can convince more people to visit that specific establishment.