Why I’ve Joined The Google Local Guides Program
The other day, I decide to join the Google Local Guides program (formerly known as the. I’ll be quite open about it, I joined because I thought it might eventually have a positive effect on my business. Not in a direct SEO way, necessarily – I have no data to even infer that might be the case – though I guess that it’s possible. But since Google knows who I am – I’ve claimed ownership of my two sites via the Google Search Console – I thought it might be time to *read with a wry smile* deepen our relationship.
Hot Doggie, yeah!
Both Google (and anybody else) now knows a whole lot about me. Over Christmas 2016, I wrote about 50 reviews, within a geographical spread of about 100 miles (160 km), predominantly centered around my home town of Wollongong, which is about 3/4 of the way down the map below, thought not named, for some Google Map cartographer’s reason.
In doing so, I quickly attained a Level 3 badge – WOO-HOO! – but more importantly, Google now has a genuine record of my impressions of 50 local businesses and tourist spots.
So, with Google increasingly favoring Local (and even hyperlocal) Search results when a query is made, these reviews capture me as an everyday person living in Wollongong. Indeed, if my reviews were to get the occasional “thumbs-up” vote of confidence, I guess that could excite some part of the Google algorithm and perhaps even benefit my sites, but I’m certainly not expecting that to be the case. However, from a potential customer’s perspective – if they can find my Google Local Guides ID – they now have the chance to drill down into my stream and if they’re from the Wollongong area, evaluate my opinions in relation to their own experiences, perhaps even for the same businesses.
NOTE: It’s my nature to avoid unpleasantness – so there are few gripes in my reviews – I kinda like to dwell on the positives and rave about the sublime. Many folks would like that, while others might feel cheated that I don’t dish the dirt. Consequently, some people would want to work with me, others, not!
So, that’s my rationale. I became a Google Local Guide because:
- it positions me – in the eyes of Google – not merely as a website owner but as a person living in Wollongong, making purchases through local businesses, using public amenities etc.
- there’s a possibility – my conjecture, entirely – that by making these reviews and continuing to do so, it could benefit my sites’ Search Engine rankings &
- it enables my potential customers to possibly “get to know me”
NOTE: Tim Capper, Google-recognized Google+ Top Contributor, kinda agrees with me (September 2016)
What Do Google Get Out Of The Local Guides Program?
Well, here’s the official Google view and it sure looks fine and dandy:
An Introduction To The Google Local Guides Program
However, I have to be blunt, there’s just no way for me to let you down lightly, on this one!
Google is developing the Local Guides program as a fundamental part of its business plans, dovetailing it into the Google My Business listings. There is enormously powerful line slipped into the seemingly innocuous video at 0.50, when Google spills the beans:
“Every photo, tip & review [that Google Local Guides] add,
…local businesses grow.”
That’s not strictly true, of course, though essentially, it is. Let’s not quibble about shabby photos or occasionally less-than-helpful user feedback – instead, we should qualify the quote above with Google’s 2014 research, which found
So, despite the video presenting Google Local Guides as a feelgood love in, my guess is that the planning behind it is far more fiscally orientated. I believe that the Search giant is probably seeing that through the accumulated power of the reviews housed in individual business’ Google My Business listings, Google will not only be the Go To place for Search, it will soon become the Go To place for global online Shopping.
My advice: Buy some Google shares.
Google Local Guides INFO From The Web
Google Brings 75 Google Local Guides From 37 Countries Together For Summit VIDEO – October 2016
Excellent Google Local Guides Primer From Business Insider – October 2016
What Small Business can Learn From The Google Local Guides Program – January 2016
A really excellent read from English SEO expert, Chris Green. Do check the summary at the end, Key Takeaways For Businesses