This post explains the Google Local Guide program. It is meant for the small business owner, the person responsible for a locally focused entity such as a non-profit and for those involved in locally focused economic development.
1. What is the Google Local Guide Program – It is an official Google program that encourages users such as the consumer to make contributions to Google Maps listings for locally focused businesses and other entities such as non-profits. These contributions can include:
- Adding reviews about these businesses and other entities
- Making edits to Google map listings such as editing the hours, website site address, address information, moving the map marker and more. This is done to ensure that the map listing has correct information.
- When the business is missing, adding it to Google Maps
- Adding photos to the Google Map listings
2. Why is Google doing this? – Google is constantly seeking to enhance its maps as it’s a primary tool consumer use in the process of discovering businesses and other entities. By encouraging users to contribute the above information, Google hopes to enhance its maps. In addition, Google’s general mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
3. What is its value to your business or organization? – Google Maps and the Local Finder which is seen in Google search is a prime discovery tool for consumers when they are searching for the service and/or products you offer and when they search specifically for your business or organization. As such it is imperative that your organization’s Google Maps and Local Finder information is accurate and attractive. Just imagine if the information about your organization is wrong such as its hours of operation or location. That will simply not be good for you or your customers.
In addition, having reviews associated with your organization helps the consumer to decide whether to do business with you. Reviews have been shown to be a powerful influence on consumers henceforth having them will allow you to standout from the competition.
4. Top questions you might have concerning the Local Guide program – On more than one occasion I’ve been asked by either the business owner or someone responsible for the organization what I’m doing taking photos of their business. They tend to ask many questions. As such, here are a list of common questions that should help you further understand the program.
- What will this cost me? – Nothing and nor can a local guide receive compensation for any of this work.
- How does this help my business or organization? – It helps ensure your Google Maps listing is accurate and appealing which is all part of today’s consumer’s journey toward finding your business or organization.
- What happens if I get a negative review, a poor quality image or some other unwanted information added to my Google maps listing? – There are some elements of your Google Maps listing that you can control or influence. This will require you to claim, verify and manage your Google My Business listing.
- Can I make edits to our Google Maps listing? – Yes! In fact, Google wants the organization to claim, verify and optimize its Google Maps listing. This can be through something call Google My Business as mentioned above.
- Is this all we need to be found online by our customers – No, but it is a good start.
- Where did this Google Maps listing come from? We didn’t put our information on it. – A Google Maps listing can be created by Google through using 3rd party information. Once your business or organization has information in the public domain, very likely these 3rd party information sources will collect and then distribute the information.
There are several reasons why I participate in the program. These include:
- Doing my part toward economic development
- It’s similar to what I do professionally as a local search practioners
- Ties into the Google Trusted Program
Want to learn more? Here are a few additional resources for reference.
- Official Google Local Guides website
- Google Local Guide Article By William Rock concerning the processes a Google Local Guide goes through
- Video from Google Local Guide program meant for guides
Need more information? Then contact me.