As a business owner, you know reviews and fresh content are essential to your success.
Suppose you’re passionate about promoting your business. In that case, you likely spend a lot of time creating new blog articles, crafting social media posts, or developing video content to keep your audience engaged.
But there’s another, more passive promotion method that can help grow your business and boost your local search results: Google Local Guides.
Launched in 2015, Google Local Guides—also known as Google Guides—took over where Google Cities left off. Google Guides allows users to add reviews and other content in exchange for various perks ranging from storage space to clothing.
Since its launch, the Google Guides community has proved hugely popular. There are 120 million local guides, spanning 24,000 cities and towns.
There are several potential benefits of Google Guides for your business and its online visibility.
What Are Google Local Guides?
The idea behind Google Guides is simple. It uses user-generated content (UGC) to enrich the information available on Google Maps.
Or as Google explains it, Guides are:
"... a global community of explorers who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and check facts on Google Maps."
Guides’ additional content can increase your business’s visibility and make it easier for consumers to get the information they need.
Becoming a Local Guide is simple. Potential Guides sign up through their Google accounts, choose their locations, and be ready to go.
Once signed up, members of the Google Guides community receive points for each action they take.
All Guides start with zero points and work their way up through 10 levels, earning various perks along the way.
How Does Your Business Benefit From Google Guides?
Let’s start with one of the most crucial elements for businesses today: getting found online.
Google Local Guides Increases Visibility
With most consumers heading online to search for local businesses, and mobile search on the rise, increased visibility is more critical than ever before.
This is where the content Google Guides compile can prove invaluable to your business and potentially help your local search rankings.
A Google my Business Insights Study revealed that high-quality images are vital to your listing.
The survey revealed that profiles with more images receive increased clicks, queries, and inquiries for directions.
Let’s look at the stats. Businesses with over one hundred images received:
520% more calls than average
2,717% more direction requests
1,065% more website clicks
Businesses with more than 100 images received:
960% more search views
3459% more map reviews
1038% more direct searches
Although Google Guides and Google My Business are different products, they’re closely correlated, with both providing information for Google Maps.
This insight means the more detailed information about your business on Google Maps, the higher the likelihood consumers will find you online—and offline.
The Ability to Keep Your Profile Updated and Accurate
As we explained at the start, Google awards points for editing listings. Making sure your details are updated is imperative because inaccurate information such as out-of-date phone numbers or an old address reduces the likelihood a customer will find your business offline.
Besides editing listings for errors, Google Guides can correct omissions. This added detail is essential in attracting new customers.
Statistics from Google show that 67% of your listing visitors would not feel the need to conduct further research if the profile includes essential information such as:
The same study shows that 41% of users who come across an incomplete profile would continue with their research and leave the business’s profile, possibly depriving the business of an opportunity to gain a new customer.
Looking for more local SEO tips? Here’s a quick video of four proven tips to help your business rank high in near me searches.
Google Local Guides Drive Online Reviews
You know positive reviews inspire customer trust, but they can also help you get noticed online.
In an increasingly digital world, this online validation for your business is vital because:
93% of consumers say online reviews affect their buying decisions
91% of consumers value online reviews as much as personal recommendations
90% of consumers will read reviews before visiting a brick-and-mortar business
Google is the first place consumers go to read reviews these days.
The search engine leads the way in online reviews, with over 60% of would-be buyers heading to Google when considering making a purchase.
Although there has been some debate about just how critical reviews are to SEO, Google confirms they play an indispensable role in local search:
"High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location."
Optimize Your Google My Business Page
Despite the apparent advantages of optimizing Google My Business, research has found over half of local businesses hadn’t claimed their listings.
Optimize Your Business Map’s Listing
Optimizing your map doesn’t just make it easier for locals to find you; it also makes it easier for Google Guides to discover your business.
To make your site stand out, optimize your Google map listing by:
responding to reviews
completing your profile
keeping your profile updated
Stress the Importance of Reviews to Your Business
There isn’t anything wrong with explaining to your customers how important reviews are to your business. However, be careful about how you approach getting more reviews.
If you need some basic guidelines on getting more reviews, Google has these suggestions:
Begin a conversation with your shoppers about reviews.
Make leaving feedback easy. - QR Code linked to you listing
Share positive reviews.
Respond to online feedback.
Don't be afraid to ask either directly of via email
Google Local Guides can help you attract new interest in your business. But you may be unaware of the potential advantages of being profiled by local guides.
Businesses with an increased amount of user-generated content (UGC) stand to benefit from increased consumer confidence in their brand, enhanced trust from Google, and potentially improved local search rankings.
As a result, your business may experience an increased number of queries, enhanced visibility for your goods and services, and more visits to your offline store.