Google Local Guides write reviews, share photos, add or edit business information, and check facts on Google Maps. Joining the Local Guides program is quick and simple, so you can be earning points and benefits from your Google contributions in just minutes. Find out how to become a Local Guide and help make Google Maps a better place for business information.
It’s difficult to dispute that local search is more important than ever right now. There are countless stats that underpin this assertion, such as the fact that 46% of all Google searches are made with the intent of finding local information.
It’s also impossible to deny that user-generated content (UGC) is quickly growing in importance against this backdrop, with an expanding body of data suggesting that it is a critical tool in the decision-making process.
In this online landscape, Google Local Guides have taken on new relevance and become part of a review management strategy.
Let’s quickly go back a step though before diving into Google Local Guides, as the role of user-generated content in the customer journey and online user’s psyche is extremely relevant to the Local Guides concept as a whole.
According to research performed by Salesforce, user-generated content was already showing signs of its importance in 2016. It reported that pages with user-generated content enjoyed a range of performance benefits, including a 90% uplift in time spent on site, a 50% increase in engagement rates, a 73% improvement in email click-throughs and a 10% boost to conversions.
Fast-forward four years and the BazaarVoice 2020 Shopper Experience Index definitively concludes that more and more brands are empowering their customers to “advocate and sell on their behalf”. Significantly, the Experience Index says that consumers now control product pages, with user-generated content replacing traditional image carousels. Consumer product ratings, reviews, images uploaded by consumers and question and answers all play a pivotal role in purchase decisions.
It’s also important to remember that people trust people. Many consumers, especially the Millennial generation onwards, distrust advertising and brand-generated content. In fact, 84% of Millennials classify themselves as distrustful of traditional marketing. That leaves peers as the most trusted form of recommendation when it comes to everything from finding a restaurant and booking a hotel to finding a contractor or choosing a vet.
The Experience Index backs this up, with its findings revealing that there is a 159% increase in revenue from visitors who engage with reviews. Scientific research also cites empirical evidence that reviews have a significant impact on online sales; in the travel industry for example, just a 10% increase in user reviews led to a more than 5% increase in bookings.
Our own research has tracked this trend over the last decade. Year after year we find that the vast majority (over 8 in 10 people last year) read online reviews for a local business, while 89% of 35-54-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
UGC and Google Local Guides
So, what does this have to do with Google Local Guides? The relevance and impact of UGC directly underpins the function of Google Local Guides.
Google says that Guides are people who “who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places and check facts on Google Maps”. These are all examples of user-generated content. The search engine claims that millions of people around the world rely on the information shared by Guides to decide where to go and what to do.
This makes Google Local Guides important local influencers, able to help shape which local businesses are popular, thanks to the trust consumers naturally place in information shared by peers, rather than brands.
The Local Guides program is most closely linked with Google Maps, with points and rewards for Guides all geared around the contributions made to Maps. This directly ties into your Google Business Profile though, so as a local business, you should take note.
Why Google Local Guides?
Google describes its Local Guides as a community. Members of the community are local consumers who go out and rate local businesses, take photos, share their experiences, leave reviews, answer questions based on their direct knowledge of those businesses, add places not listed on Maps, and check facts.
Participation is rewarded with points, badges, and perks. The rewards system tells us this work is meaningful to Google, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Guides act as an army of fact-checkers and researchers with boots on the ground around the world. Guides hit the streets specifically searching for, noting down, and uploading local business information in real-time. They are a hive mind for the search engine, helping it to ensure its Maps product is more accurate, more up-to-date and superior to rival offerings. It’s not a stretch to say that the work Guides do in their towns and cities around the world powers the whole Maps ecosystem.
It should be noted here that the actions that Guides carry out aren’t restricted to those who register for the program. Even without signing up to be a Google Local Guide, you can perform many of the same functions. You can, for example, leave an unbiased review of a business on local search via Google Reviews. You can upload your own images of a local business, which will then show in local search and on that company’s Google My Business profile. You can also ask a question, suggest an edit on a local business listing and answer Google questions, such as whether a location is wheelchair accessible by clicking on the ‘share the latest info link’ in local search.
The difference is that as a Google Local Guide, your contributions will be linked to gamification, meaning the more you share, the greater the points and rewards you’ll receive.
How do I join the Google Local Guide program?
It’s very easy to join the Google Local Guides program. So easy in fact, you can sign up in a matter of minutes.
Sign in to your Google account and then navigate to the Local Guides signup page.
If you have location enabled on your device, you’ll see that your town will be pre-populated for you. If not, just add your location, confirm you’re over the age of 18, and agree to receive emails.
You’re now signed up and can begin to make contributions to Google Maps. You’ll find a welcome video on your dashboard and an option to leave your first review.
Just search for the place you wish to review and then click the ‘Contribute’ button to start earning points, badges, and rewards.
Once you’ve added the name of the local business you wish to review, you’ll be asked a series of questions by Google, based on the type of business under review.
If you’re reviewing a hotel, for example, you’ll be asked for an overall star rating and then information about the type of trip (business, vacation, solo, friends, family, etc.) you took. You’ll also be able to assign individual star ratings to rooms, location, and service, and upload images.
You can also now begin to make contributions directly to Google Maps. Just go to Maps and you’ll be able to fact check and verify information that other users have submitted about businesses nearby to your location and make edits to incorrect information.
If you turn on location history, Google will also give you suggestions for places to review and verify based on where you’ve been.
How do I unlock Google Local Guide points and badges?
As mentioned, Google Local Guides has a strong gamification aspect with each Guide rewarded for their contributions with points and badges. Those points and badges can be traded for rewards with Google partners. You’ll need to make contributions to Maps to begin earning points, and then increase your activity to earn badges.
- Score a local business by giving it a rating
- Review a local business
- Share photos
- Upload video
- Answer a question about a place you have visited on Maps
- Ask a question and/or provide an answer on the information panel in local search
- Edit information
- Add a missing place
- Check facts
Build the best online reputation from just $8 per month
Find out more
What perks and benefits are available to Google Local Guides?
Each type of contribution you make via the Google Local Guides program (such as leaving a review, uploading a photo, answering a question, making edits or adding missing places), will earn you a certain number of points. If you review a local business, for example, you’ll earn 10 points. If your review is more in-depth and exceeds 200 characters, you’ll get 10 bonus points. Add a photo and earn another five points, and so on.
Just as in a video game, the more points you get, the higher the level you achieve.
Get to a certain level, and you’ll then get a badge. Make more contributions to earn more points and move through the levels, and you’ll also earn better badges. You’ll only receive a badge when you reach level four and above, which requires 250 points. Level 10 is the highest and requires 100,000 points. If your contributions are removed for violating Maps policies, the points earned will be deducted.
Google frequently refers to the benefits that you can enjoy as a Google Local Guides participant. These are likely to be of the most interest to those who are enthusiastic Google users, with Google describing one of the core benefits as receiving early access to new Google features. It also says Google Local Guides can receive special perks from partners, but doesn’t elaborate on what those perks could be, or which partners they’ll come from.
On this Reddit thread, some Guides report receiving freebies such as socks, money off Udemy courses, a free phone case and 1TB of free storage on Google for a period of two years. Others say they haven’t received any perks from partners. In that same thread, some Guides also suspect that those partner perks have been reined in to crack down on Maps fraud. This is a possibility given the local search community’s frustration with Local Guides who abuse and misuse the system to level up their points.
Google does say that badges give the Guide recognition for their contribution so, for those who pride themselves on their local knowledge, the badge could be reward enough.
Can being a Google Local Guide help with SEO?
Bad news if you’ve signed up to be a Google Local Guide to give your local search presence a boost; the notion that you can make suggested edits to Google My Business profiles more easily as a Google Local Guides is a myth. All edits are checked before they make it into Maps or search results. So, while there are no SEO benefits to joining the platform, there could be plenty of downsides for local businesses.
Many local search professionals report that some Guides are too focused on earning points, which means that rather than making valid contributions which are helpful for Maps users and fair to businesses, they’ll make pointless comments simply to add points to their profile for their ‘contribution’.
I spoke to Steady Demand’s Ben Fisher, a Google My Business Product Expert about Google Local Guides in 2019 and he said:
Personally, I have not liked the system ever since it was put into place. It is too easy to manipulate. The Local Guides program was instituted with an incentivized, point-based system, which rarely gives out real-world rewards (the points mainly translate to ‘levels’). There are drawbacks to gamification. The first is that it makes a user feel like they have more power (they don’t) and encourages behaviors to gain points for the sake of gaining points.
Another local SEO expert, Greg Gifford of SearchLab, says Local Guides are actually an indicator of spam for many. He says, “I almost look at non-Guide reviews as more legitimate because they’re left by someone who truly wanted to leave a review, rather than by someone who was vomiting out reviews just to get a few more points in the system.”
Google has policies in place to prevent Guides scamming the system to obtain false benefits for their own business. Its content policy stipulates that all contributions should be an accurate representation of the location while “inappropriate reviews” including fake and spam reviews can also be detected. If you do violate the policy, the offending content is removed and the points deducted from your profile.
Google Local Guide reviews do tend to be given priority when it comes to reviews displayed in Google My Business, but that shouldn’t matter to you as a business owner, because Google does not permit you to review your own business.
However, as of the date publication of this article, Google appears to be testing a new feature with which Local Guides of Level 5 or above are being asked to give feedback on which business reviews are “better”.
#googlemaps has released a new feature that compare two reviews on a particular listing to increase the quality of reviews to feature on Google maps.
— The Very Well People News (@verywellpeople) July 15, 2020
This may well be beneficial to your business if it allows you to vote for your favorite reviews and improve your review profile that way!
Google Local Guides perform an important duty for Google Maps, offering reviews, editing incorrect information, adding missing places, and sharing images and videos. This insight is useful for local consumers and the gamification of the system makes it a fun way for committed search users to get involved with Google products.
That said, there is no SEO reward for signing up to the Google Local Guides program so it shouldn’t form a part of any local search strategy or be relied upon for perks such as preferential edits or better rankings. You should keep an eye on it when you’re performing review management or working on your Google Business Profile, though, to make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
Jamie heads up BrightLocal's content team, ensuring we produce insightful articles, research and resources that enable businesses and SEOs to get even better results in local search.
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As a Local Guide, you earn points when you share reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps. Those points lead to higher levels of the program, as well as benefits like early access to Google features and special rewards from partners.How do I get perks on Google Local Guide? ›
Earn points by contributing content to Google Maps. Score a place with ratings, describe your experience with reviews, share photographs and videos, provide insights with answers, respond to questions about a place, update information with place edits, add missing places, or verify information by checking facts.How do I get a Google Guide badge? ›
Get recognised as you earn more points. Local Guides Level 4 and above receive the badge in Google Maps as a reward. Reviews, edits or photos marked private by Google are in violation of our policies and are visible only to you. Private reviews, edits or photos don't count towards your Local Guides level.What do I get with Google guide points? ›
After accumulating a set number of points you can progress to new levels of the program and unlock new badges. Your badge is displayed next to your name in Google Maps when you leave a review or answer questions, so everyone will recognize you as a local expert.What do level 10 Google guides get? ›
Level 10 Guides, at the top end of the spectrum, write about 15% fewer five-star reviews and 10% fewer one-star reviews than non-Guides, whereas the proportion of two- to four-star reviews increases by 25%.Can Google Local Guides get paid? ›
You can't get paid for being a local guide. Google Localguides is a volunteering program that you can share your knowledge about places you visit on Google Maps. Google may send you some perks for your adventures. Learn more about Localguides program here.Can I get paid as a local guide on Google Maps? ›
Local Guide Program
Google Maps is a popular application that millions of people use every day to navigate through their daily lives. But did you know that you can also earn money by using Google Maps? This is possible through the Local Guide Program, a program that rewards users for contributing to Google Maps.
As you earn more Local Guide points, you increase your Local Guide level. Once you reach Level 4 at 250 points, a badge appears next to your profile picture on reviews and photos. The pinnacle of the Local Guide mountain is Level 10. That's when your number of points exceeds 100,000.What is a Level 5 local guide? ›
Beyond this points, there was no levels to achieve. Those who earned 500 or 5000 or 10000 or more were known as Level 5 Local Guides. This felt stagnation among Local Guides. The new level system allows reaching upto Level 10 brings more enthusiasm to each participants, more recognition, and more contributions.What is the max level for Google guide? ›
Level 10 is the highest and requires 100,000 points. If your contributions are removed for violating Maps policies, the points earned will be deducted. Google frequently refers to the benefits that you can enjoy as a Google Local Guides participant.
Get rewarded with Google Play or PayPal credit for each one you complete. Topics include everything from opinion polls, to hotel reviews, to merchant satisfaction surveys. We'll notify you when a survey is waiting.Do you pay for Google points? ›
It's free to join, there is no recurring or monthly fee, and you'll earn three times the Play Points on everything you buy your first week. To get started, open the Play Store app on your Android device. Tap menu, then Play Points.What are Google Platinum points? ›
|Level||# of points you need to have||Points earned for every $1 spent|
|Bronze||0 - 149||1 point|
|Silver||150 - 599||1.1 points|
|Gold||600 - 2,999||1.2 points|
|Platinum||3,000 or above||1.4 points|
The Google Customer Reviews badge is a visual way to help shoppers easily identify your site with the Google brand. The badge also promotes your seller rating and can be placed on any page on your site that you desire. Note: The actual star rating inside your badge will vary based on the seller rating you receive.How many local guides does Google have? ›
Across 24,000 cities and towns, we now have an active community of 120 million Local Guides on Google Maps who are passionate about sharing their experiences by contributing reviews, photos, lists and more.How can I make money from Google at home? ›
- Ad Manager API. The Google Ad Manager API provides methods for managing Ad Manager inventory, creating orders, pulling reports, and more.
- AdMob. ...
- Google Ads. ...
- Google Ads API. ...
- AdSense Custom Search Ads. ...
- AdSense for Shopping. ...
- AdSense Host API. ...
- AdSense Management API.
While ZipRecruiter is seeing hourly wages as high as $60.58 and as low as $12.50, the majority of Work From Home Google Maps Driver wages currently range between $23.80 (25th percentile) to $43.27 (75th percentile) across the United States.How much does Google pay for Google Maps? ›
|MONTHLY VOLUME RANGE (Price per QUERY)|
|0.005 USD per each (5.00 USD per 1000)||0.004 USD per each (4.00 USD per 1000)||Contact Sales for volume pricing|
At Level 4, you also unlock your first Local Guides badge, which helps your contributions to places get noticed. To make sure that you're signed up for updates, review the email preferences on your Local Guides settings page.How do I rank higher on local search? ›
- Enter complete data. Local results favor the most relevant results for each search. ...
- Verify your locations. ...
- Keep your hours accurate. ...
- Manage & respond to reviews. ...
- Add photos. ...
- Add in-store products. ...
- Relevance. ...
To score the place: Tap the stars. To write a review: Under “Share more about your experience,” enter what you want to say. To add details about your experience: Under the questions that show up, choose the details that best fit your experience. You may not get questions for every place you review.How do local guides make money? ›
Local Guides are not paid nor may Local Guides earn money for their contributions, per our program rules. The Local Guides program is for individuals who contribute to Google Maps who like to help others to discover and explore their world.How do you make money from Google Maps? ›
- Review and rate a place.
- Add photos to a place.
- Answer questions about a place.
- Edit a place's information or Edit a road on the map.
- Add a missing place.
- Check facts about places nearby.
- Respond to Q&As.
- Add and explore dishes.
Level 1:0 points. Level 2: 15 points. Level 3: 75 points. Level 4: 250 points + badge.What is a level 10 at Google? ›
Vice President (Level 10)
Vice Presidents at Google typically head a few 100s to 1000s of employees.
Google provided a chart below that breaks down the Local Guides point distribution. The number of points a user accumulates determines their Local Guide level, of which there are 10.How much can I earn from Google opinion Rewards per day? ›
You will receive between $0.10 and $1.00 per survey completed. The amount can vary and is dependent on the number of questions in the survey and the amount of time it takes to answer the survey. Answering questions in a certain way is not required to receive a payment and is in fact discouraged.Can I pay someone to leave bad Google reviews? ›
Furthermore, 89% of people are more likely to use a business that responds to all of its reviews. When you receive a bad Google review, it's normal to wonder if there is a way to just pay someone to remove it. Unfortunately, this is not possible.Does Google Maps pay for pictures? ›
Users contribute to Maps voluntarily. Further, there is no obligation to do so. Consequentially, there is no way to earn money from Google Maps by uploading photos of places.How long do Google points last? ›
Any points you earn will expire one year after the last time you earned or used points. Level progress: Points you've earned in a calendar year count as progress towards the next level.
1.1 points per dollar spent. Weekly events for up to 4x multiplier on in-game purchases. Monthly events for up to 2x multiplier on books purchased.How much money is 100 Google Play Points? ›
A $1 Google Play credit costs 100 Play Points, for example, and the points will be deducted from your balance. The upside is that purchases in the Google Play Store will help you replenish your balance. You can use your Play Points to purchase credit for the Play Store.What can I do with 1,000 Google Play Points? ›
To keep exploring all that Google Play has to offer, redeem your points for Google Play Credit, which you can use to buy in-app products, apps, books and subscriptions. To redeem your Play Points for offers in apps, merchandise and more, visit the Play Store on your Android device.How to get Google Play points for free? ›
Google Opinion Rewards
Google Opinion Rewards is an app available through the Google Play store. It offers you quick surveys to earn Google Play credit with. All you have to do is download the app and answer basic questions about yourself. Once you've completed this step, you'll receive surveys on a semi-regular basis.
When you choose to redeem your Play Points for donations, Google is a little more generous. 50 Play Points gets you a $1 donation and so on. Participating charities include: Doctors Without Borders.How many reviews do you need for it to show on Google? ›
Fewer than five, or no reviews at all, is not going to be as effective - if at all. Despite that, research tells us that customers will read an average of 10 customer reviews before trusting a business. With that in mind, it's worth shooting for double figures if you want to establish your business as an authority.How do I become a verified reviewer on Google? ›
Sign in to your Merchant Center account (or sign up if you do not have an account). Select “Merchant Center programs” from the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner. Click “Get Started” in the Google Customer Reviews card and accept the Program Agreement. Add the survey opt-in code to your website.How many reviews do you need to get stars on Google? ›
For text ads and shopping ads to show star ratings, sellers are typically required to have at least 100 reviews in the last twelve months.Why I was removed from Google Local Guide? ›
Any Local Guides account can be removed for violating any of our rules and policies, even if it was unintentional. Since our policies change from time to time, make sure you stay up-to-date with our current rules: Local Guides program rules and community policy. Reviews, photos, and videos on Maps.Can you stop being a Local Guide on Google? ›
There are 3 ways to leave: Delete your Connect account. Exit the Local Guides Program. Delete your Google account.
The Google Maps pin is the inverted-drop-shaped icon that marks locations in Google Maps.How do I redeem Google points? ›
To redeem your Play Points for offers in apps, merchandise and more, visit the Play Store on your Android device. Head to your profile at the top right of the Play Store homepage, tap “Play Points” and select “Use.” Offer terms apply.How much can I earn from Google Opinion Rewards per day? ›
You will receive between $0.10 and $1.00 per survey completed. The amount can vary and is dependent on the number of questions in the survey and the amount of time it takes to answer the survey. Answering questions in a certain way is not required to receive a payment and is in fact discouraged.How do you get paid from Google? ›
- Sign up and make your website available for ads. When you create your AdSense account, Google will review your site to make sure it complies with its policies. ...
- Advertisers start bidding. Then, AdSense uses an auction to select the ads that show up on your website. ...
- You get paid.
They give your business credibility, increase click-through rates, and help your rankings. For these reasons, it's critical to pay attention to your business' Google reviews. Encourage customers to leave good reviews for you, monitor your reviews, and respond to them, whether they are good or bad.How do I get the free $10 on Google Play? ›
- Sign up for Swagbucks. Sign up for free with just your email and password.
- Earn 1000 SB. Complete surveys, take advantage of promos, find shopping deals, play games or watch videos.
- Redeem your points for Google Play $10 Gift Card.