On August 10th, a Google Roundtable was held to discuss the importance of both the Google Local Guide Program and verifying Google Map listings for businesses via the Google My Business console. The event, hosted by Anton Shulke, included experts from a range of fields who focused on defining both Google offerings, and explaining the finer points of utilizing the Guides program and Google My Business to positively affect your bottom line.
Karen V. Chin, a Level 5 Local Guide and moderator of the San Francisco Local Guide Google + Community, gave excellent insights into the Program, and discussed the benefits and expectations of being a local guide. William Rock – a marketing strategist, spoke with Tim Capper – a Product Expert in Google My Business, Ben Fisher – a Google My Business Rising Star, Spencer Wade and Eric Gehler, leaders of Google Partner organizations and Product Experts – Eric in Search and Spencer in Search and AdWords (as well as being a Google Mentor), Max Minzer – a digital marketing consultant specializing in local search, and Michael Stricker – lead consultant for a national design firm. They spoke at great length on the importance of verification, controlling the search results through ownership, and ways the Google My Business and Local Guide Program can work together to benefit Google users and business owners alike.
The Roundtable, thanks to our host Anton Shulke of Web Promo Experts and guests, was a great success. Our experts covered the relevant issues in enough detail to give even a novice an understanding of these Google offerings, and, hopefully, our audience gained valuable insights into both the Local Guide Program and Google My Business. As a community, we all benefit from the expertise and experience of our fellow members, so events like this are the perfect way to share ideas and grow together. We sincerely hope you enjoyed the conversation, and hope you will watch for more upcoming discussions.
Roundtable – August 10th, 2016 – What is the Google Local Guide Program?
The Google Local Guide Program is a brilliant example of a company (Google) partnering with an end-user community (Googlers) to enhance the functionality of a product (Google Maps). Local Guides are Google users who, after signing up for the program, earn points for posting reviews, photos, answering questions, and adding or editing places on Google Maps. The points earned accumulate allowing users to gain levels. Each new level brings new rewards for participating. The rewards begin humbly enough, but quickly become well worth the effort.
The Program is a Google-conceived partnership whereby Google Maps is greatly enhanced by allowing end-users to become fact-finders.
Guides are given rewards for participation. These rewards range from newsletters to meetups and access to products before they are public. It is an incentive-driven Program that rewards Guides for doing what they normally do on social media.
Guides post reviews on local businesses and public offerings to earn points toward leveling up. These reviews then bolster the existing information Google has on specific businesses in a city, and can help to beef up the data available to users of Google Maps.
Guides add photos to their reviews to earn extra points. These photos become the property of Google, and allow for greater display potential in the Maps interface.
Guides add and edit information on specific locations. These additions fill out blind spots in Google Maps, and in so doing they improve the experience of all Maps users.
Guides answer questions about locations they have visited in the past or are visiting at the time. These questions give Google relevant information on businesses that allows for future enhancements of the Maps experience.
How important is it to a local business to be a part of the local Guide Program?
The Google Local Guide Program is designed to use the information provided by Googlers to enhance the functionality and user experience of Google Maps. But, Maps is just a tool that people use to get from point A to point B in their daily lives. What are points A & B? Usually, one of the two points is home, and the other? Well, the other is most oftentimes a local business, and those owners would be smart to recognize the enormous benefits they can receive from being a part of the Program.
We all know what Google is to Search, so giving Google the most accurate, relevant information regarding your event, product, or service just makes sense.
Accurate location data allows for more people to find you, and that means the opportunity for growth.
Photos posted of your enterprise basically amount to free advertising. There is truth to the old saying that, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
The questions that Google poses about your enterprise will allow for a more targeted message to be delivered to potential customers. They will have a better sense of your enterprise through the answers provided by Google Local Guides.
What’s the difference between Google My Business and Local Guides?
The target users are the real difference between Google My Business and Google Local Guides. Google My Business is a tool that allows ENTERPRISES to have a hand in managing their online presence across Google platforms. Google Local Guides is a platform that uses a reward system to entice members to upload information Google can use to streamline and improve services like Maps and Search. Each one is directly targeting a specific side of “the counter”.
Google My Business is a tool for enterprises to control the message Google is sending to their customers. It is a tool for the producers of goods and services.
Google Local Guides is a platform that allows Google to incentivize the gathering of data on real-world enterprises and their locations. It is a platform for community-based sharing of information.
Google My Business is a partnership between Google and enterprises. The tools Google provides give an enterprise control over content and clarity.
Google Local Guides is a partnership between Google and its users. By becoming a member of Local Guides, you allow Google to use the data you provide to better serve the needs of your fellow citizens. After all, the next time someone is looking for that new pizza place around the corner from your house that everyone is talking about it will be your Guide Review with photos and edited address information that leads them to a pepperoni slice they have always dreamed about.
Can you stress the importance of having accurate information on these listings?
There are few things that mean more to success in any endeavor than accuracy. Google has become the company it is today through providing accurate information to its users. The same can be said for any enterprise. No matter how many tickets you sell to an event no one will show up on Thursday if they believe your show is Friday. This is exactly what happens when outdated or missing information is all that can be presented via Google Search or Google Maps due to the relevant, accurate information never being provided. The data submitted by Guides and through verification and editing of Google My Business listings is only helpful when it is accurate. In fact, it can be incredibly harmful if it is not.
Google My Business is a free tool. This means that the time it takes for an enterprise to examine, edit, and submit to Google is the only cost associated with the service.
Local Guides are held to a high regard when it comes to the information they collect and post. Google wants to ensure that fairness is always maintained on their platforms.
Accuracy only makes sense. It is in the best interests of all parties to strive for accuracy. Guides provide the best service to their community, enterprises provide the best service to the community in general, and Google provides the best possible information to the entire world community.
*Check out What Is Local SEO?to learn more about Local SEO