Google Local Guides Program: Earning Points and Achieving Badges

What Is The Google Local Guide Program?

Launched in 2015, the Google Local Guide program is a global initiative that empowers individuals to share their unique insights and knowledge on Google Maps, thereby enhancing the richness and accuracy of Google Business Profiles (GBP) and Maps. 

With a vibrant community of over 120 million members, Local Guides contribute by writing detailed reviews, uploading vivid photos, answering user queries, and much more. These contributions not only enrich the user experience on Google Maps but also offer businesses a unique opportunity to amplify their online presence and credibility.

Let’s delve into the potential impacts on your rankings and the control over your Google Business Profile!

How Google Local Guides Program Work

Google Local Guides is a community program where people like you and me help improve Google Maps. Here’s how it works in simple terms:

1. Joining:

You sign up with your Google account and start sharing your experiences by reviewing places, adding photos, and answering questions about locations on Google Maps.

2. Earning Points:

Every time you share something, you earn points. Things like writing a review or uploading a photo give you points that count towards your Local Guide level.

3. Levels and Rewards:

The more points you get, the higher your level. Higher levels can potentially unlock special rewards, like early access to new Google features.

4. Making Maps Better:

Your contributions help others decide where to go by providing them real, honest information about places. You can tell them what’s good, what’s not, and everything in between.

5. Helping Businesses:

When Local Guides share positive reviews and photos, it can help businesses get noticed more on Google Maps. It’s a great way to support your favorite spots.

So, being a Google Local Guide means sharing what you know about places to make Google Maps more useful for everyone. It’s about helping out others while earning cool perks along the way.

How To Join The Google Local Guides Program

Joining the Google Local Guides program is a straightforward process that opens up a world of possibilities for enhancing local search experiences. Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting started:

1. Sign Up Via Sign-up Page

Use your Google account to sign up for the Local Guides program via the official Local Guides signup page or simply click on Contribute in your Google Maps phone app.

2. Make Your First Contribution

Begin sharing your local insights by reviewing places, adding photos, responding to questions, and updating location information on Google Maps.

How can I get Google Local Guide points and badges?

To begin earning points you’ll need to make contributions, and then you will be able to earn badges and rewards for your activity.

Those are some examples of activity on Google Maps that will be rewarded: 

  • Give a rating to a nearby business.
  • Write a review for a local business.
  • Share pictures.
  • Post a video.
  • Respond to a question about a place you’ve been to on Maps.
  • Ask a question or share information about a place in local search.
  • Correct information.
  • Add a place that’s not listed.
  • Verify facts.
In the Google Local Guides program, individuals earn points by contributing to Google Maps through various activities, such as writing reviews, uploading photos, and answering questions. The amount of points awarded depends on the type of contribution, with specific actions like adding a detailed review or a new place earning more points.
Contribution Points
Write a review 10
Write a 200+ character review 10
Rate a business 1
Upload a photo 5
Tag a photo 3
Add a caption to a photo 10
Upload a video 7
Answer 1
Respond to Q&As 3
Edit information 5
Add a place 15
Add a road 15
Check a fact 1

Upon reaching Level 4 and above, Local Guides earn a badge, a visual symbol of their achievements, displayed next to their name on Google Maps. These badges not only recognize the guides’ contributions but also signify their expertise and reliability to other users on the platform.

Local Guides Level Points Required
Level 1 0
Level 2 15
Level 3 75
Level 4 250
Level 5 500
Level 6 1,500
Level 7 5,000
Level 8 15,000
Level 9 50,000
Level 10 100,000

Google often talks about the advantages you get as a Google Local Guides member. It mentions that you might get special rewards from partners, but it doesn’t say what those rewards are or who the partners are. 

Right now, Google is focusing on making local search results better, and they’ll appreciate content made by real users. After the hype around Ai generated content, we’re returning to more genuine and useful experiences. So it’s entirely possible that in the future, local guides could receive some freebies or special rewards from Google’s partners.

How Local Guides Can Impact on Local SEO

Local Guides play a pivotal role in shaping the SEO landscape for businesses. Here’s how:

Enhanced Visibility:

Contributions from Local Guides, such as reviews and photos, enhance the relevance and completeness of Google My Business (GMB) listings. Listings that receive regular, positive updates tend to attract Google’s algorithm, potentially elevating visibility in local search outcomes.

Increased Engagement:

The engagement a listing receives through reviews and photo uploads is crucial for SEO. Google favors active listings, interpreting high engagement levels as indicators of popularity and relevance, which could positively influence search rankings.

Quality Content:

User-generated content from Local Guides offers a richer depiction of the listing, aiding in better engagement and interactions—factors favored by search ranking metrics.

Community Trust:

Positive endorsements from Local Guides can enhance a listing’s community credibility. This can translate into increased visitations and interactions, signaling to Google the listing’s value and relevance.

In summary, the Google Local Guides program offers an unparalleled avenue for improving the quality of Google Maps and Business Profiles, indirectly influencing your SEO efforts. By understanding and engaging with this powerful tool, businesses can unlock new potentials for visibility, engagement, and overall online growth.

Can a Public User Change My Google Business Profile?

The concern about public users being able to edit or change information on your Google Business Profile is valid. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Suggest Edits Feature: Google Maps allows users, including Local Guides, to suggest edits to your GMB listing information. This can include altering business hours, location, and other details. However, Google typically verifies these suggestions before implementing changes.
  • Q&A Section: Local Guides and other Google users can answer questions about your business posted in the Q&A section of your GMB profile. While this isn’t a direct change to your profile information, it’s user-generated content associated with your listing.
  • Reporting Inaccuracies: Users can report inaccuracies or answer questions about your business, prompting Google to review and potentially adjust the details.
While users can suggest edits and contribute content, Google’s verification process acts as a safeguard against inaccurate information. Nonetheless, it’s crucial for business owners to regularly monitor their Google Business Profile to ensure its accuracy and integrity.

How To Identify Unauthorized Changes to Your Google Business Profile

Staying vigilant about updates made to your Google Business Profile ensures that all the information remains accurate and up-to-date. Here’s how you can detect if a public user has made edits to your profile:

  1. Check Notification Emails: Google sends notification emails to the primary contact listed on the Google Business Profile when changes are made. Check your inbox regularly for any alerts regarding updates or edits.
  2. Check Google My Business Dashboard: Regularly log into your Google My Business dashboard. Here, any suggested changes from public users that require your review or approval will be highlighted.
  3. Review Public Changes: Often, Google will automatically apply user-suggested edits if it deems them credible. Regularly review your business listing details (such as hours, address, services) on Google Maps and Search to spot any changes you didn’t authorize.
  4. Change History Feature: Utilize the “Change History” feature within your Google My Business dashboard, which records all modifications made to your profile, offering clues on when and what changes were introduced, potentially by public users.

By closely monitoring your Google Business Profile through these channels, you can quickly identify and rectify any unauthorized or incorrect edits, maintaining the integrity of your business information online.

How to Boost Your Rankings with Google Local Guides

Idea for local businesses! You can tell your customers about this program and explain that  their contributions make Google Maps a richer, more reliable resource for users worldwide.

Embrace the power of the Google Local Guide program to elevate your business’s online presence. By engaging with this community-driven initiative, you not only increase your visibility but also gain insights and authentic content. Ready to unlock the full potential of your Google Business Profile? 

Contact Local View today and let us guide you through the journey of transforming your digital footprint with the help of local insights and expertise!

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