According to Review Trackers, over 63% of consumers will check a review on Google before they visit a business. Another report showed that over 20% of consumers consider Google reviews to be one of the most important factors when searching for a business or brand online.
Overall, Google reviews matter to consumers, which is why they should matter to businesses too. With the right strategic approach, businesses can get reviews to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to convincing potential customers to get in touch with them, and Google Local Guides is one way to do that.
What is a Google Local Guide?
Think of a Google Local Guide as a Google Reviews superuser.
Signing up as a Google Local Guide means you enhance local listings in exchange for points and rewards. In 2017, there were already over 30 million Local Guides and the numbers have been steadily increasing since then.
Here are a few of the things that a Google Local Guide can do:
- Rate and review the businesses they visit
- Take photos and add them to Google Maps
- Add new places to Google Maps
- Update phone numbers, addresses, and other details on Google Maps
- Share insights and answer questions about businesses
- Verify information that’s submitted by other people
Every time a Local Guide makes a contribution, they earn points. There are currently 10 Google Local Guides levels and the more points you earn, the higher you go.
Guides who have reached higher levels get early access to any new features and perks that Google launches. They can also use their points to rent movies from the Google Play Store or sign up for a Google Play Music subscription. There was also some talk about a Google Local Guides annual gift for users who have reached a certain level but this doesn’t seem to be accurate.
How to Tell if a Local Guide Has Updated Your Listing
While there currently isn’t a lot of information available that answers this question, it seems that if a Google Local Guide reviews your business, the listing tends to stay at the top of the reviews feed for a longer period of time. Any answers from Local Guides also seem to stay in a prime position in the Q&A section of local search results.
You can identify a Local Guide by looking out for a small star badge next to their profile photo. They will also have the title Local Guide under their name.
While it’s unclear whether Google definitely prefers reviews that have been written by Local Guides, businesses can still benefit from this system.
How to Benefit from Google Local Guides as a Business
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to identify a Local Guide unless you’ve identified the top guides in your area and can recognize them in person. Some Local Guides also wear branded clothing from time to time, making it easier to spot them, but this isn’t always the case.
In order to benefit from Google Local Guides as a business, you need to know how to attract them.
You can start by optimizing your Google Maps listing so that it shows up for the right search queries. Adding images and videos that highlight your products or services will also make your listing more attractive. Running a restaurant? Make sure that your menu is easily accessible. Running a BnB? Make sure that Local Guides can easily make an inquiry.
If you want to make sure that you’re impressing Local Guides, start treating everyone like a Local Guide. The more you can provide new and existing clients with superior service, the more the word will spread about your business, ensuring you keep getting fresh reviews that will boost your listing – it’s a win either way.