In the Google local guide program, Google counts on a community of passionate volunteers around the world to update information about businesses, places, and local attractions on Search and Maps. These volunteers are called local guides.
When visiting a new city and searching for information about hotels and restaurants, chances are high that Google’s local guides have already posted the information you need to make an informed decision. Thanks to the local guide program, local guides unselfishly post reviews, photos, videos, and more for the benefit of users just like you. They do, however, receive virtual encouragement for their labors through the Local Guide program.
Local Guides also verify the accuracy of information provided by local businesses.
Becoming a member of the Local Guide program is open to anyone – and if you’re already adding reviews to Google Maps, you can get recognition for doing so.
Here, we’ll tell you what the Google Local Guide program is, how to join, and what privileges you can get.
What is the Google Local Guide program?
Google Local Guide is a gaming concept that rewards participants for contributing to Google Maps and Google Business Profiles. As a local guide, you earn points for each contribution. Once you accumulate a certain number of points, you can advance to new levels of the program and unlock new badges. Your badge will appear next to your name on Google Maps when you answer questions or leave feedback, so everyone recognizes you as a local expert.
Points, levels, and badges
Points can be earned for the Google Maps contributions listed below:
- Rate a business
- Check fact
- Tag a photo
- Answer in Q&As
- Upload a photo
- Edit information
- Provide a description (in the list)
- Upload a video
- Leave a review
- Provide a list of suitable sites
- Add location – 15 points
- Add road – 15 points
- Leave a review of more than 200 characters
As you gain points, you will be able to reach higher levels in the local guide program.
Above level four, you will earn a badge that will appear next to your name if it appears on Google Maps.
The levels in the local guide program are as follows:
- 1st level – 0 points
- 2nd level – 15 points
- 3rd level – 75 points
- 4th level – 250 points
- 5th level – 500 points
- 6th level – 1 500 points
- 7th level – 5 000 points
- 8th level – 15 000 points
- 9th level – 50 000 points
- 10th level – 100 000 points
Google used to offer bonuses for participants in the Local Guide program with high levels, such as free cloud storage and discounts in the Google Play store. As the program has evolved, Google has phased out additional features and now awards only badges. Sometimes local guides get early access to new Google features, although nothing is guaranteed.
Available bonuses in the local guide program may be limited to certain categories of participants, such as the following:
- Residents of U.S. embargoed countries;
- Persons ordinarily resident in embargoed countries;
- persons otherwise subject to sanctions or export control programs;
- Government officials, including:
- civil servants;
- candidates for public office;
- employees of state-owned or state-controlled companies, international public organizations, and political parties.
How to connect to Google Local Guide Program?
Visit the Google Local Guides page and select Get Started.
Type the name of your city in the box and then select “Become a Local Guide.”
Start earning points by contributing to Google Maps.
In the dashboard, you’ll be able to track your scores and move to the next level.
If you let Google view your location history, you can get recommendations of places to check out based on where you’ve been.
However, you don’t have to allow your location history to be tracked to participate in the Local Guide program. You will be able to search for places manually and contribute to them.
If you have an idea for Google Maps, Connect, perks, or local guides, share it here, and maybe it will become a reality.
How does it happen?
- Post an idea.
Talk about the feature or enhancement and why it would help the community.
- Community members vote.
The Local guide program can approve your idea, ask questions, and add suggestions.
- The most popular ideas rise to the top.
Googlers analyze and respond.
Connect in the Local Guide program
Your Connect guide
Connect is a forum and blog designed for the Local Guides community – users of Google Maps who help others make the best decisions about where to go and what to do. In this forum, you can connect with peers in the Local Guides community, share tips and ideas, and get input from Googlers.
You can write a post, suggest ideas for improving the forum, and participate in discussions about other Local Guides’ content. A full step-by-step description with screenshots demonstrating how to write a post can be found here.
You can also share your accomplishments on Connect.
Here are some rules for using photos on Connect
First of all, you should always use an image taken by you (or owned by you). Horizontal (or landscape) images are recommended, as thumbnails in Connect are automatically cropped to the horizontal version. You can click here to read more about tips for using photos in Connect. Looking for tips on creating photos for Google Maps? Check out this post.
How to become a contributor?
On a regular basis, Google features local guides who contribute to the community. They have several recurring columns published regularly on Connect to bring attention to outstanding local guides. These include Affordability Champion, Meet the Moderator, Favorite Fridays, and others. A better way to get into this column is to tell your story on Connect. The Googler command is always looking for interesting local guides and normally finds them through Connect posts.
Check out these other tips for more information and guidance.
Choosing a theme for your message in Connect
Whether you’re new to Connect or just want to learn more about areas where you can contribute and learn about local guides around the world, here’s a breakdown of topics and recommendations for each.
Announcements: The bulletin board is the main place where Googlers staff share news and other information. Typically, news about topics such as changes to the Google Maps app and other important Googley features is posted here. Only Googlers can post information on the message board. This page is worth subscribing to so you don’t miss important news.
Travels: Find inspiration for your next adventure or share reviews of interesting trips you’ve taken on the travel page.
Food & Drink: The Food & Drink section is where you can talk about your favorite food and drink from around the world.
Local Stories: The Local Stories page allows you to share stories from your community with local guides around the world. It also features some of the periodic series written by the Google team, such as Meet a Connect Moderator.
Meetups: In this section, you’ll find information about meetings around the world. You have the opportunity to attend a meetup to explore new places and meet local guides in your area. You can also find meeting reviews here.
Tips: In this section, you can share tips with other local guides and exchange information about how to create interesting content on Google Maps and Connect. You can also ask questions about Local Guides, Google Maps, and Connect, but be sure to look for answers in the community beforehand.
Help Desk: This is where all the official guides put together by Googlers are collected. If you have a question or encounter a quandary, we recommend visiting the help desk to see if it’s already been addressed here.
Idea Exchange: Got an idea for a new feature? This board is the best place to post it. Visitors will vote for their favorite ideas. The most popular Idea Exchange posts will go to the top of the list and be submitted to Googlers for consideration.
Achievements: In this forum, you can celebrate your accomplishments with community members and praise others for their achievements.
The importance of user-generated content for business
Let’s now talk about the importance of user-generated content in the buying process and the psychology of Internet users. This is very important because it significantly impacts the concept of the local guide program in general.
According to a Salesforce study in 2016, pages filled with user-generated content helped increase time on site by 90%, engagement by 50%, email clicks by 73%, and conversions by 10%.
In 2020, the BazaarVoice Customer Experience Index stated unequivocally that an increasing number of brands are enabling their customers to “advertise and sell on their behalf. In no small part, according to the Experience Index, user-generated content has replaced familiar carousels of images on product pages, giving shoppers more control. Product ratings, reviews, photos posted by consumers, and questions and answers have a significant impact on purchase decisions.
Also, keep in mind that people prefer to trust other users. A lot of consumers can’t stand ads and content created by the brand. About 84% of the Millennial generation is skeptical of traditional marketing. Peers are the most trusted channel for advice on everything from choosing a restaurant and booking an airline ticket to hiring a job or choosing a doctor.
Experience Index findings showing a 159% increase in revenue from visitors who turn to reviews support this claim. In the airline industry, for example, it was found that an increase in user reviews of just 10% resulted in an increase of more than 5% in bookings. In addition, the scientific study offers factual evidence that reviews have a significant impact on online sales.
In the last ten years, it has been found that an overwhelming majority (nearly 8 in 10 people in 2021) read online reviews of local businesses, and 89 percent of shoppers aged 35 believe that online evaluations are as trustworthy as in-person reviews.
How does this apply to Google Local Guides? The purpose of Google Local Guides is directly based on the relevance and impact of user-generated content.
According to Google, guides are users who “leave reviews, post images, respond to queries, add or update locations and confirm facts on Google Maps. Each is a prime example of user-generated content. Google claims that millions of consumers rely on the knowledge provided by guides to make travel and outdoor decisions.
Because people, by nature, trust more information offered by others than by a brand, local Google guides become meaningful local influencers who help determine the popularity of local businesses.
Google Maps and the Local Guides project are connected in the strongest way possible: local guides receive points and awards based on their contributions to Maps. Google describes local guides as a community. Users in the community rate local companies, take photos, describe their experiences, post reviews, respond to inquiries based on their own experiences with these companies, and put places that don’t already exist on maps and double-check the information.
The guides play the role of a global network of fact-checking and on-the-ground information. Through the rewards program, we learn that these efforts are essential to Google, which is no surprise. Guides go out on the streets to find, record, and download information about local businesses in real time. They are acting as the collective intelligence for the search engine, assisting it in making the Maps product more precise, more up-to-date, and superior to competing options. The efforts made by guides in their villages and towns around the world, it’s reasonable to assume, fuel the entire Maps ecosystem.
It should be noted that the functions that guides perform are not only available to those who have registered for the program. Many of the same tasks you can perform even if you choose not to register as a Google Local Guide. For example, you can use Google Reviews to give an unbiased assessment of your local business. Google My Business and local search results will show your own photos that you’ve uploaded. When you select the “share the latest information” link in a local search, you can also ask questions, make changes to your list of local businesses, and provide answers to Google queries, such as whether a given establishment is wheelchair accessible.
However, if you act as a registered local Google guide, your efforts become gamified: the more you contribute, the more points and rewards you earn.
Can Google Local Guide Program help with SEO?
There’s a misconception that it’s easier for you to make edits to Google My Business profiles as a member of the Google Local Guide Program. If you signed up for Google Local Guides to boost your local search presence, I’d give you grief: before any updates are made to search results and maps, they will be verified. There are many potential downsides to local businesses using this platform, even though there are no SEO benefits.
Local search experts believe that some guides are too concerned with getting points, which encourages them to make meaningless comments to increase the overall “contribution” quotient of their profile rather than making meaningful contributions that are useful to Maps users and objective to businesses.
For example, Greg Gifford (SearchLab’s local SEO expert) states that local guides can be indicators of spam. He says, “I find non-Guide reviews to be more truthful because they are left by someone who really wanted to leave a review, rather than a user who piles on reviews just to score a few more points in the system.”
Google has rules in place that prevent guides from abusing the system to gain an unfair advantage for their company. According to the content guidelines, all postings must accurately reflect a specific area, and “inappropriate reviews” such as fake and spammy reviews can also be identified. If you do break the rules, the material will be immediately removed, and your profile will lose points.
Even though scores from Google Local Guide Program often show up before those from Google My Business, this shouldn’t bother you as a business owner because Google doesn’t allow you to give scores to your own establishment.
Google, though, seems to be trying out a new feature that asks local guides level 5 and up about which customer reviews of businesses are “better.”
Unfortunately, not all local guides act with the best of intentions. At some point, some companies get fraudulent (or unscrupulous) reviews or ratings that hurt their business. Most local guides, however, contribute to the overall ecosystem as intended. For some people, more exciting than just frank and helpful reviews is accumulating points, earning badges, and gaining influence.
People looking for the nearest restaurant or store and reading reviews probably trust the advice of local guides more. But, surprisingly, after reading some of the reviews of badge holders, one can see to what extent they are untrue. The goal of Local Guides is to make Google Maps a trusted source of useful information that actually makes a difference. Unfortunately, those who simply seek to earn a “Local Guide” badge are increasingly leaving meaningless and damaging reviews.
Savvy marketers and product developers are applying gamification techniques to their projects and services to increase engagement, interest, and loyalty. Google Maps and Local Guides are no exception. However, the gamified dopamine surge that Local Guides perks provide can drive people to such behavior that they take action just to get points or badges rather than benefiting the community in real ways.
So, should you trust them? To check if you are really confident in a particular guide, go to their profile. Then investigate to see if their account is fraudulent or if they are trying to manipulate the system on purpose.
Entrepreneurs: How to protect yourself from unfair reviews
Has your business found itself at the mercy of rogue local guides or crafty competitors? Although removing fake reviews is not the easiest procedure, it is doable.
The best defense is a proactive offense.
With a tool like Cloutly, you can proactively attract new reviews from your customers to your Google My Business list (or almost any other review site), helping you build trust and bury fake or negative reviews at the bottom of the list. Cloutly – an all-in-one review platform that allows you to ask customers to leave feedback about you via video! With Cloutly, the process of review creation is humanized, turning a boring task into a fun one. Cloutly is free for 14 days.
There is even a free QR code generator for Google reviews to help you promote your business.
Why should you ask for testimonials?
A personal recommendation has at all times been the most powerful form of “social proof” of a business’s effectiveness. If you trust and count on someone, you place a high value on their experience, so when a company itself advertises that they have the best service, the most affordable prices, and the gold standard of product quality, we are often skeptical.
In fact, their marketing is self-defeating. Of course, they say that!
If your relative, a close friend, or a trusted advisor mentions that they had a great experience with a company, you are much more willing to believe and trust their recommendation.
Social reinforcement shapes how people make decisions. Asking for reviews online is the fastest way to get more people talking about your business on sources like Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, TrustPilot, TripAdvisor, ProductReview, and others.
Word-of-mouth marketing has evolved. It’s just as powerful, but now it’s become ubiquitous.
When should I ask for feedback?
Asking for feedback should be done at the peak of communication with the customer when they are most satisfied with you (so you have a better chance of getting good feedback rather than negative). This can vary from company to company:
- Do you provide consultations?
- Do you provide free samples?
- Do you sell products online?
- Do you organize events?
A recall request template can also help here. Here are some questions to help you determine the best time to ask for a review:
- At what point in the buying journey is my customer happiest?
- Would my customer be more inclined to write a good review now or later?
- At what stage would my customer be ready for me to ask for a review?
Determine what will work best for your business and then double-time it.
Top 3 tips for asking customers to write a review in the google local guide program
So, when you’re ready to ask a customer to leave a review, what should you say? Stand in the customer’s shoes and question yourself, “What motivates me to leave a review?”
Here are three main tips:
- Make your request personalized – try to stand out by quickly reminding the customer of their experience with you.
- Keep it simple – don’t waste time and letters on convoluted trivia. Keep it to one or two sentences.
- Let them know exactly what you want them to do – express your request specifically and clearly.
How to remove negative feedback from the Google Local Guide Program?
You can’t just give the command “Google, remove” and hope that bad reviews will be removed, but you can very well challenge Google’s review.
The process is not always easy, and it can be a little confusing. If a situation arises where you need to remove a negative review, it is recommended that you continue to accumulate positive reviews at the same time. You need to raise your star rating as quickly as possible if you encounter more than one negative review.
How Google’s review removal policy works
Pay attention to the list to find out what Google themselves classifies as inappropriate reviews. This is usually the best way to remove Google reviews.
Here’s a list of what they disapprove of:
- Spam and fake content
Content should be an authentic reflection of the experience at the relevant location. The review should be honest and should not manipulate ratings for the sake of it.
- Off-topic information
Comments should be about a specific place and not become a forum for idle talk or social or political discussion.
- Prohibited Content
Reviews should not be allowed to advertise products or services that are subject to local legal regulations. This includes gambling, alcohol, weapons, adult and financial services, and medical offers.
- Illegal content
Google does not allow content related to any illegal activity, including infringement of the rights of others, sexual violence, illegal activities and products, and images of violent scenes and terrorist activities.
- Terrorist Content
Google does not tolerate content that advocates terrorist acts, motivates violence, or glorifies terrorist attacks.
- Sexual Content
Sexual content is not allowed, especially if it exploits children. In this case, the content will be removed, the account will be closed, and a report will be sent to the appropriate National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and appropriate law enforcement agencies.
- Offensive Content
Google employees will remove all foul language and gestures.
- Dangerous and derogatory content
Google Maps is a respectful and safe place to communicate. Hate speech, harassment, or advocacy of self-harm are not allowed.
You may not post content on Google that impersonates another person or has the potential to mislead or deceive.
- Conflict of Interest
It is a conflict of interest to post self-promotional content, post content about current or previous work experience, or about competitors in order to falsify their rankings.
If Google sees that a review meets the above conditions in any format, including snapshots, videos, and written reviews that misrepresent the truth, it will definitely be removed.
Automated review processing identifies inappropriate content, such as fake reviews and spam. Google may remove reviews that have been flagged to comply with its policies or legal obligations.
How to get a negative review removed correctly
Google’s review policy states that any review that is false, defamatory, or inappropriate will be removed.
So, the easiest way to get a negative review removed is as follows: log into your Google My Business account and select your location. In the upper left-hand corner, you will find the “Reviews” section. When you find the review in the local guide program you would like to remove, select the vertical dots in the menu and click on the “Mark as Unacceptable” option.
Or you can quickly search for your business on Google, find the negative review in the Google My Business list (on the right side of the search results), and then repeat the process – this time by clicking “Report a Review.”
It usually takes 14 days for Google to review your request and see if it will remove the review. If possible, ask other people and customers to report the review as well, which may draw more attention to the content and encourage Google to remove the review.
If, for some reason, flagging the review does not cause it to be removed from your business list, the next step is to report it to Google Small Business Support. Visit Business Support and select “Contact Us,” “Customer Reviews and Photos,” and then “Manage Customer Reviews.” Choose how you want to get help: via web chat, email, or phone. You can expect help within 24 hours.
Once you’ve made contact, you can explain why Google should remove the review. Be prepared to tell them why you think the review violates their policy or why it falls under the category of fake Google reviews or spam. If the support team cannot remove the review on their own, they may refer the issue to a senior review specialist who will make the final decision. If the decision is negative, you may have better luck enlisting the services of a content removal company.
You can also ask the client to remove their negative feedback
There is a certain strategy, but it does not guarantee success. You can write an epic response to the review, apologizing, thanking them for taking the time to review you, trying to solve the problem offline, and possibly paying compensation such as a refund or guaranteeing a discount.
If the problem is resolved, they can delete their original review. This can be asked politely by saying: “If you believe we have resolved your issue and you are satisfied, would you please edit or erase your original review for the sake of preserving our reputation?” Who knows, maybe they’ll agree.
Fake Google reviews in local guide program detection and notification
Reputation matters! So it’s important to get to work quickly and limit the damage by responding to the review author, even if you suspect their review is fake. This will demonstrate to other potential customers that you care and are actively involved in customer feedback. By the way, you respond, they will be able to see your support skills, empathy, and consideration, and help them get to know your side of the story.
When you respond to Google feedback, make sure you don’t get personal or defensive. Respond with kindness, apologize if you think it’s appropriate, and offer to fix the situation if possible. If there is an opportunity to communicate privately, do so. If not, try to keep your response brief, polite, and on-topic. Your attitude toward the response may cause the reviewer to delete their review on Google. Invite the reviewer to contact you personally so that you can fully explore their experience. If possible, follow up and try to do whatever is necessary to turn the incident into a positive experience.
Reasons why you can’t just delete every negative review
Google reviews in the local guide program help users make informed decisions about buying products and services. Getting something removed from Google isn’t easy, and you might want to know how to get rid of negative posts about your business online, but it’s far from impossible.
Removing negative results from Google requires commensurate with the notion of a “trust economy,” where businesses that do right by their customers are recognized and rewarded, while questionable entrepreneurs and bad businessmen are quickly put on the public forum.
Reviews increase brand credibility, improve your online reputation, and show consumers your transparency and how you respond to positive and negative reviews and openly. A true negative review can improve your service offerings because it helps you understand what you’re doing wrong and how you can do it better. Many negative reviews are actually objective criticism, so it pays to take a deep breath and keep that in mind before responding to them.
Reviews increase click-throughs and can ultimately convert more users into customers. So it pays to have a working strategy for responding to bad reviews on your business page. Some customers will look at how you handle negative reviews to see what to expect from you in the future. Be sure to take proactive steps to attract reviews and respond to all of them in a timely manner. They will attract traffic to your website and, in turn, to your physical location (if you have one).
Is there an option to remove customer photos from Google My Business?
If a user has posted an unflattering photo of your business, such as a photo of raw chicken on a plate or an untidy bathroom (yuck), it’s not surprising that you would want to delete it. Having photo facts can make a bad review worse and hurt your business profile.
But unfortunately, you can’t get a review removed just because you don’t like it. The same goes for reviews. It has to contradict Google’s guidelines for reviews.
But if there are grounds for deletion, then:
- Open it in Google Maps (you can’t do this from the Google My Business panel).
- Click on the photo and then on Report a problem.
- Give a reason for reporting the photo.
- Next, wait and hope for Google to agree.
The importance of local search
And here are some facts that prove how important local search is to businesses.
- According to Google, 76% of people who do a local search on their smartphone go to a business website within 24 hours, and 28% of those searches lead to a purchase.
- In general, 30% of all search queries processed are location-related.
- 61% of consumers surveyed said in a recent study that they conduct daily local searches.
- A recent study of local SEO found that 82% of consumers read online reviews that other users have posted thanks to the local guide program and spend about 14 minutes doing so before making a decision.
- 86% of people use Google Maps to find a business location.
- Yelp is in the top five search results for SMBs 92% of the time.
- Globally, 74% of consumers shopping in stores who searched before physically arriving at the store said they searched for things like “nearest store to my place,” “location,” “in stock near me,” and other types of similar information.
- More than 50% of Internet users worldwide use their mobile devices to search locally.
- 83% of people use Google Search to find out more about businesses nearby; 55% use Google Maps, 44% use Apple Maps, 39% search on Yahoo, and 31% choose Bing.
How Google calculates local rankings
Google keeps its organic search ranking mechanisms a closely guarded secret but is much more open about what is required to rank in local search results.
According to Google, the three main categories of local ranking factors are as follows:
- Relevance: how well a local business profile matches what someone is searching for.
Post complete and detailed information about your business to give Google enough data to correlate your profile with relevant search queries.
- Distance: How far away the search result is from the location term used in the search. If the user didn’t provide a location in the search, Google would calculate the distance based on what it knows about the searcher’s location.
- Prominence: How well-known Google recognizes the business in question. This is perhaps the most difficult factor in local rankings, as search algorithms try to take your offline fame into account as well.
Based on Whitespark’s “2021 Local Search Ranking Factors” study, here’s what local SEO experts say are the main Local Pack ranking factors:
- Main GBP category.
- Keywords in the ad title.
- The closeness of the business address to the searcher’s location.
- The physical location of the address in the search city.
- Extra GMB categories.
- High star rating.
- The richness of GMB listings.
- Good quality and authority of the incoming links to the related domain.
- Google’s keywords in their own reviews.
As you now realize, local search is an important channel for all types of businesses serving local customers – retail chains, so-called Mom & Pop stores (independent or family-owned small businesses), franchises, financial services companies, service providers, corporations, and small and medium-sized businesses.
The Importance of Google Maps for Business
Over the years, Google Maps has evolved from a simple interactive map to a place that allows you to explore local businesses, detail your route and discover new suggested locations.
This platform is more than just a map. It’s a place for discovery.
Google Maps provides many opportunities for businesses. Let’s break down what recent updates and features have turned Google Maps into a powerful marketing tool.
Explore tab to display a map of businesses
In the 2020 Google Map update, Google added an “Explore” tab that allows users to search for nearby businesses easily.
By scrolling through lists of businesses, users can view all the options and make a decision. Thanks to the local guide program, the list of businesses on the map displays relevant information about the business, including:
- Ratings and reviews
- Pictures and photos
- News and messages
- Link to their website
- Call button
- Button to navigate
The explore tab allows users to discover new local establishments on the same platform.
Personal Google Maps for Business
More updates were coming in 2021. Google Maps offered new ways to explore and personalize, including:
- An enhanced Live View feature. It lets you learn about “nearby stores and restaurants, how busy they are, recent reviews and photos.” All of this is made possible, in part, by the Local Guide program.
- Recommendations are now given according to the time of the day, such as suggesting nearby breakfast spots in the morning or dinner spots in the evening. If you’re traveling to a new city, Google Maps will display information about popular tourist attractions.
Using Google Maps helps businesses convert
Year after year, we’ve seen Google Maps increase its role as a comprehensive tool for finding, comparing, and evaluating businesses.
Now it’s not just a tool for finding directions from point A to point B but also a tool for discovering point B, making it an even more profitable platform for businesses.
With the number of Google Maps users already surpassing one billion, Google Maps for Business (with the help of the Google Local Guide Program) creates a great opportunity to connect with a large audience. And, most uniquely, with an audience that is ready to make a decision.
Rules for creating a business listing on Google Maps
Business listings on Google Maps are taken from your Google Business Profile, formerly called Google My Business. To help Google Maps showcase your business, you need to create and optimize your profile.
To get started, create your Google business profile and fill out the requested information in as much detail as possible.
What you need to include:
- Contact information and address
- Your business hours
- Types of business
- Pictures and photos
- Social media profiles
- Share updates or posts
When your business profile is created, the same information shows up on Google Business Maps. If you ever need to change the information displayed on Google Maps, simply update your business profile, and Google Maps will take the updated information from there.
Some business benefits of Google Maps
With so many people relying on Google Maps, it has become an attractive marketing tool for businesses. It allows users to find anything and everything. From choosing the nearest restaurant, car service, or the best cocktail in town, Google Maps is the perfect solution.
Check out five ways to use Google Maps for business that should be part of your marketing strategy.
Pros of Google Maps:
- Allows people to find your business.
Local search features allow Google Maps to flag and list businesses relevant to a customer’s search. Users can easily browse options before deciding to visit or contact a company.
Google Maps acts not only as a map that provides directions to a particular location but also as a search engine to find that establishment.
This is especially true since nearly 1/3 of all mobile searches are location-related, which means that Google Maps is a critical factor in mobile traffic.
- Enables users to connect with your business quickly.
When users view your listing on Google Maps, the system provides a full list of information about your business, including your business phone number. And since most searches on Google Maps are done by phone, customers can call you with the click of a button.
Given that people use Google Maps to make decisions (like where to eat or find the nearest shoe store), the system gives them an easy way to contact an organization, ask questions, and then decide whether or not to visit. This makes it easier for users to take the next step, and for businesses, it provides direct contact with potential customers.
- Encourages people to visit your website or location.
In addition to providing a business phone number, Google Maps also highlights other reference information.
Users can quickly explore the profile of your business and find their way to it without leaving Google Maps. There’s no need to navigate between apps or other web pages. A simple scroll and click of a button separate a potential customer from becoming your customer.
For companies selling services or products that need additional research or are associated with major purchases, the Google Maps listing provides a direct link to the website. This way, users can easily explore and learn more about the company.
Google Maps drives both personal and website traffic. Of course, this means that your website must be designed for mobile screens to convert Google Maps business traffic!
- Demonstrates your business with images added by you and thanks to the local guide program.
Users these days are partial to images. When researching or evaluating a business, a picture can easily be the deciding factor.
For example, you’re choosing between two different restaurants for lunch with partners. After researching reviews and menus (right from the ad on Google Maps), you move on to view pictures of the food. All of this is made possible by a local guide program, where people post these photos and share reviews about a particular establishment.
The restaurant that has more pictures and is more appealing is more likely to win your choice.
Fresh information and content are important; photos and images give a visual representation of your business that would otherwise be lost. So it’s worth asking your loyal customers not to be lazy and share pictures of their favorite products they buy from you in google reviews.
Of course, you can add images to your listing yourself (via Google’s business profile). But the biggest impact comes from photos posted by your customers in reviews.
- Builds customer trust with testimonials and the local guide program.
Among the most successful ways to build brand credibility are online reviews, which Google Maps displays in profile listings.
Business credibility on Google Maps includes:
- Rating displayed with stars
- Reviews of your customers
Encouraging consumers to leave reviews on Google allows other potential customers to gain confidence in your business and increase your conversion rate.
As Google Maps expands its features and capabilities, so does its position as an effective marketing tactic for businesses. Most importantly, there are ways to optimize your business profile with all the benefits of Google Maps listed above.
Time to make Google Maps work for you!
You can quickly start participating in Google Local Guide program by going through a simple registration process available to anyone with a Google account.
Once you’ve contributed enough to reach Level 4, an icon will appear next to your name when you post reviews to signify that you’re a local guide.
Through the Local Guide program, Google recognizes those who continually update their Maps and Business profiles with accurate information, up-to-date photos, and in-depth reviews.
Participating in the Local Guide program is another way to expand your online presence and make yourself known on the world’s leading search engine.
In addition to scoring, correcting inaccurate information, adding missing places, and posting photos and videos, the Google Local Guide program also plays a prominent role in Google Maps. This information is proving beneficial to local consumers, and the gamification of the system makes it an enjoyable method for loyal search users to interact with Google products.