What is a Local Guide?
With Local Guide, Google rewards its users for feeding Google Maps with information. This information includes opening hours for stores, photos, reviews, ratings or new locations. Thus, any person can become a reporter and even be rewarded for it.
Google Maps is used by many people for navigation. When live traffic information was added in 2008, the web service enjoyed a large increase in active users.
Since then, Google has significantly improved the service. Google’s goal is to put as much information into Maps as possible – and is relying on the help of users to do so. This constantly increases the benefit for the user. This gave rise to the idea of the Local Guides. Users are rewarded with a point system when they fill Maps with information. Thus, the user is motivated to send more and more information to Google and to constantly improve the service of Maps.
How it works
The Google Local Guides site works like a social network and is structured accordingly.
Anyone can sign up to be a Local Guide. The principle is simple – Google wants to provide as much information about local businesses as possible for Google Maps.
People were initially rewarded for submitting ratings and reviews with t-shirts or something similar.
Meanwhile, Google has introduced a point system. You can complete different levels and receive various benefits when you reach them, such as advance access to new Google features.
Many people support Google so of course they support local businesses.
Apart from testimonials and ratings (Google stars), you can also add any information about conditions such as available toilets, current prices or accessibility for the disabled.
As social networks are booming, Google has also come up with something for Local Guides.
Content and information gathered can be shared via Local Guides Connect.
These posts can be tagged with a heart (like on Instagram) and of course commented on. Of course, the content can also be shared via other social networks.
There are a wide variety of topics such as travel, food and drink in which the individual posts are organized.
The tool primarily serves Google, as it allows Google Maps to grow and provide more up-to-date and relevant information about places, shops restaurants and the like.
Besides the information, many pictures of the places are also uploaded. In this way, the user can get an impression of the destination he is looking for even before the visit.
From experience, the Local Guides concept works really well. People like to give reviews and are happy to share photos and info with other people and be rewarded with points for doing so.
So if you have something to offer locally, it can be a breeze to get good reviews.
Relevance for SEO
Of course, the Local Guides support Google a lot in collecting information for Maps. But what does this mean for search engine optimization? Quite simply – local businesses can naturally benefit from this information. Anyone can add information and this has the advantage that as a business with a physical location, you don’t have to make the information grow yourself. Photos of my restaurant or opening hours are added by other people.
Reviews (if they are good) also have a positive effect on your ranking, and in the best case scenario, your business will show up first for a given search query. Of course, it works the same way in the other direction. Bad reviews can cause your rankings to drop on Google and keep you out of sight. But if you offer good products or services, you will have satisfied customers or guests.
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