Local Guide Program by Google Explained
Google launched its Local Guides program in 2017. This initiative allows people to earn money by helping others find places to go, things to do, and restaurants to eat.
But what happens when someone signs up under pretenses or uses fake reviews to boost his or her credibility? Is it possible that Google's Local Guides could be used to manipulate consumer behavior?
Business owners across North America say yes. They're concerned that Google's Local Guides system could be used to game the system, unfairly compete against competitors, or even trick consumers into thinking that a restaurant is better than it is. And while most people think of Google as a trustworthy source, many worry that the company isn't doing enough to protect its reputation.
Why UGC Google Local Guides?
The relevance and impact of UGC directly underpin the function and value of Google Local Guides. With over 40 million members worldwide, Google Local Guides have trusted voices about local businesses across the globe. They provide free, impartial advice from restaurants to dentists, hotels to hair salons, theatres to taxis, and shops to sports teams.
Google says that Guides are people "who write Google reviews…share photos, answer questions, add or edit places and check facts on Google Maps ". These are all examples of User Generated Content (UGC).
According to the search engine, billions of people worldwide use its services to decide where they want to go and what they want to do. Because of this, Google Local Guides are an incredibly influential local influencer, alongside Google Search and Maps, to help determine which local businesses are prevalent.
How to sign up for the Google Local Guides program
Becoming a Google Local Guide isn't hard. All you need to do is head to the Google Local Guides website and start reviewing businesses, restaurants, and attractions near your home. If you want to ensure you don't miss out on anything, use the "Search nearby" feature to find what you're looking for.
Once you've completed your initial registration process, you'll receive verification emails asking you to verify your identity, such as sending a photo ID or signing into your social media accounts. Once you've done that, you'll be able to add photos and reviews to your profile. To keep things simple, we recommend sticking to one language per account.
You'll need to log in every few months to maintain your status. When you do, you'll be asked to update your information and provide proof that you still reside at your current address. You'll also be required to complete training courses and earn badges.
4 steps to join the Google Local Guide program:
Log into your Google Account and go to the Local Guides sign-up page.
You'll see that your city will be automatically populated if you've selected "Show My Location" from the menu. If not, then jud your location, check that you're over 18, and agree to receive email messages from us.
You've been successfully registered and can start making contributions to Google Maps. YA welcome video greets you on your dashboard and an option to leave the first review.
You can easily find the place you want to write reviews by searching for it online. Then, juicy the 'Contribute' button to earn points, awards, and rewards.
After adding the name of the local store you want to write about, you'll be asked some basic demographic and location information.
Suppose you're reviewing an online travel agency. If you're going to take a flight, you'll be asked to rate the experience from 1 to 5 stars. You may also be asked for additional details about the type of trip you're taking. You'll be able to rate each room individually, add photos, and create custom reviews.
You can now contribute directly to Google Maps. You can use jo to Google Maps and verify information that other people have submitted about local business locations near where you're standing.
You can also get recommendations for things to see and do based on where you've already been.
What are the benefits of becoming a local guide?
Google wants to ensure that its Local Guides program is accessible to everyone — no matter where they live. So it launched a global initiative called "Local Guides Everywhere," which aims to connect people across the globe via digital tools and resources.
The Local Guides program allows anyone to join and contribute to the community. All you need is a smartphone and a passion for helping fellow travelers find what they're looking for while traveling locally.
As part of the Local Guides program, you'll get to help promote local businesses, events, and attractions. You'll also earn points, badges, and perks based on how much you participate in the program.
When you hit level four of the guides program, you'll unlock the very first Local Guides badge. This badge is the first step towards becoming a full-fledged member of the Local Guides community. Once you've unlocked your first badge, you'll start getting exclusive perks and benefits.
You'll also receive early access to special perks and new Google products like Google Maps and Google Trips. And finally, if you're lucky enough, you might even be selected to attend one of Google's fully-expensed summits.
How to get Google Local Guide points and a Badge?
As a member of the Local Guide Program, you get rewards for sharing accurate, up-to-date information. Most of the time, local guide members provide accurate, up-to-date information.
Google Local Guides offers a real-world gamification system where the more you participate and share, the better your chances of receiving rewards.
You can also trade your rewards for thousands of Google partner sites' rewards. For example, if you're an active user of Google Maps, you can get rewards from hundreds of thousands of Google Maps partner sites.
Local guides can ask and answer questions; they can also contribute by editing places (maintaining their information up to date); they can also write reviews for local business listings; they may answer questions on the information panels in searches; they may leave reviews for establishments; they may correct errors, and they may maintain and keep up to date the information on listing pages.
You'll be awarded a certain number of "credits for every contribution." Credits allow you to access different features and content within the app. You can quickly accrue credits by making contributions. These credits can then be used to unlock new features and content.
You must accumulate at least 250 points before you can unlock level 10. Superstar is at the top level with 100,000 points.
With the rise of social media, brands now realize that they're not just competing against each other for sales; they're also competing against their customers for attention.
Because they're just another way to get people to write fake reviews.
Google Maps and Local Guides weren't created to make people happy. Some Local Guides aren't interested in helping others at all. They want to get rewarded for doing something.
Gamification is a term that describes applying games' aspects to non-gaming environments. For example, earning badges for completing mundane tasks can make them feel rewarded. However, gamification is not limited to just mundane tasks. You could also apply gaming elements to learning, such as awarding points for answering questions correctly.
Gamifying the Local Guide program has been successful because it encourages people to be more engaged and loyal to the Local Guides program than if it were a regular service.
As long as you're honest, you don't need to worry about bad reviews or fake photos. You need to focus on earning good reviews and absolute photos.
Overall, the program is a good one, but its implementation has been subpar. It may be worth giving it another shot if you're having trouble finding an answer to your question.
Can local guides be trusted?
At a high-enough-of-a-high-enough-level unfortunately, not all local guides are in it for the right reason. Many businesses receive fake (or low effort/quality) reviews or ratings, which are detrimental to their businesses.
Why would someone do something so crazy?
It's fun to score points, unlock achievements, and earn clout. It's even more fun than writing honest, helpful reviews.
People searching for a local restaurant or service using Google Maps might be more likely to believe a review written by a Local Guide than an anonymous user. However, if they read through the comments on the review page, they may discover just how unrealistic some of the ratings are.
The Local Guides program was designed to help people find reliable sources of local information online. However, we've noticed that some users may abuse the system by creating multiple accounts solely to leave negative reviews. So, before you click "Submit Review," "make sure you're familiar with the person who posted the review and confirms that they own the business you're reviewing.
How to protect your business from negative reviews
Do you know what happens when people write bad reviews online? They don't just disappear - they linger around forever, poisoning your reputation and hurting your chances of attracting new customers. And there are plenty of ways to ensure that doesn't happen to you, too. But first, let's talk about why it's so hard to get rid of those bad reviews.
Why do some businesses seem to attract a disproportionate number of bad reviews? Well, we've seen many cases where businesses have been victims of revenge campaigns, either because someone had a bad experience or because they're angry at something that happened to someone else. In both cases, the person writing the review might not want to hurt the business, but they feel compelled to vent their anger somehow.
And while it's tempting to think that you'll never find out who posted a bad review, the truth is that you probably already know. If you check your Google Reviews regularly, you'll see that many comments come from the same IP address. This isn't necessarily proof that the reviewer is real, but it does suggest that they've used a proxy server to disguise their location.
So what can you do to prevent this sort of thing from happening to you? Unfortunately, there aren't straightforward solutions. Some tools can detect suspicious activity and flag potentially fraudulent reviews, but they won't always work. So the best way to avoid problems is to ask your customers to be honest and fair. After all, if they're happy with your business, they'll tell everyone else.
But if you do end up having trouble, don't worry. We've got a few tips to help you deal with the situation.
First, try contacting the reviewer directly. Even if you don't manage to get hold of them, you'll still likely learn a lot about what's going on. For example, you could discover whether they're being paid to post a review or whether they genuinely hate your business.
If you can contact them, you might consider offering to buy them lunch. It's not unheard of for disgruntled reviewers to accept payment to delete their posts, especially if they've received the money in exchange for positive feedback. If you're lucky enough to spot one of these situations early on, you could save yourself a lot of hassle.
Google Local Guides are an excellent opportunity for users to engage with Google Maps and offer a great experience for consumers. However, the lack of SEO benefits means it isn't something you should rely on for anything other than getting people to sign up and use the product.