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What Are Google Local Guides?

As our Review Response Team has been managing online reviews, we’ve noticed an increase of something on Google called Local Guides. What are they? What does this mean? Do people need guidance on Google? The vast majority of people are pretty Google-savvy and don’t need a tour so what the heck is a Google Guide? We’re glad you asked!

As you know, we WebPunchers are always researching new information as it pertains to Facebook, Google, Yelp, and all the main-player review sites so that we can share data with our clients and followers.

We’ve noticed that a lot of reviewers have “Local Guide” underneath their names and were determined to figure out what it meant.

Google Local Guides

When you click on a reviewer’s name, it brings you to a screen that shows you how many “points” the reviewer has garnered and what level of guide they have reached.


Google Local Guides


Why the points? Why the levels? What’s going on? Well, here’s the lowdown in Google’s own words:

Local Guides is a global community of explorers who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, add or edit places, and check facts on Google Maps. Millions of people rely on contributions like these to decide where to go and what to do.

As the people who bring Google Maps to life, Local Guides write reviews, post photos, and gather facts that make it easier, tastier, and more fun to navigate the world. The badge symbolizes on-the-ground expertise and a commitment to sharing everyday experiences that inform real-time decisions across the globe. From photographing a must-order dish to adding a small business, Local Guides capture stories that lead neighbors, travelers, and everyone in between toward a better understanding of the places around them. The community takes that mission seriously.  

Guides earn points by contributing content to Google Maps. They can score a place with ratings and describe their experience with reviews, photographs and videos, provide insights with answers, respond to questions about a place, update information with place edits, add missing places, or verify the information by checking facts.

Google is also serious about ensuring that their Local Guides are following protocol. Here’s what they expect from their Guides:


Share Thoughtful Reviews And Tips

It’s in the details. Always include notable information about a place and your experience. Avoid vague, generic, and repetitive comments like reviews that just say “ok,” “good,” or “yum.” Describe the setting, the design, the vibe, the highs and/or lows, and relevant specifics.

Restaurants, cafes, and bars: Say what you ordered and would recommend or avoid.
Shops: Describe the selection, price range, service, and the type of clientele who might like it. Local Guides who duplicate reviews across locations will be removed from the program.

Take Photos That Clearly And Accurately Represent A Location

Photos help tell the story of a place. To do that, it’s important that images be relevant and in focus. It’s helpful to take advantage of natural light, try shots from different angles before uploading the best options, and zoom out enough to capture the entirety of a subject, like a horizontal photo that shows the full exterior of a building, or a restaurant dish shot from above. Also please respect the privacy of others and ask for permission or avoid taking identifiable images of people at places like schools and hospitals.

Dark, blurry, and redundant photos will be removed. Users who duplicate photos across locations, or post images that infringe on copyrights, will also be removed.

Be Trustworthy

Contributions must be based on real experiences and information. Deliberately fake edits, copied or stolen photos, off-topic answers, defamatory language, personal attacks, and unnecessary or incorrect edits are all in violation of our policy.

Users Who Abuse This Trust Will Be Removed From The Local Guides Program

According to a Google Blog, “Local Guides help people get around easier, navigate and explore with confidence, and support local businesses.”

If you’re interested in working with Google to become a Local Guide, you will receive some perks. Each time you review a company or add photos or videos to their Google page, you’ll gain points.


Google Local Guides


Different contributions on Google Maps will earn you the following number of points.


Maps contribution Points earned
Review 5 points per review
Rating 1 point per rating
Photo 5 points per photo
Video 7 points per video
Answer 1 point per answer
Respond to Q&As 3 points per response
Edit 5 points per edit
Place added 15 points per place added
Fact checked 1 point per fact checked


And as you accumulated points, you’ll move up in levels:


Level Points Badge
Level 1 0 points No badge
Level 2 15 points No badge
Level 3 75 points No badge
Level 4 250 points  Google Local Guides
Level 5 500 points  Google Local Guides
Level 6 1,500 points  Google Local Guides
Level 7 5,000 points  Google Local Guides
Level 8 15,000 points  Google Local Guides
Level 9 50,000 points  Google Local Guides
Level 10 100,000 points  Google Local Guides


Those who have made it to level 2 and higher can expect occasional perks such as early access to Google’s new features. Level 4 and up gets a free, three-month Google Play Music subscription and 75 percent off Play Movies rentals. However, these promotions are only valid until November 30th. We’re guessing that Google will have new perks after this promotion ends.

We get it  – having your business details correct online is really important so we should be very grateful that there are people who want to be Local Guides. Seems like an awful lot of work to me but some people are really getting into this. We all have that friend who reviews every single business they frequent with great enthusiasm. Maybe some people like the thought of having one of those cool badges next to their name when they post a review and getting a real badge in the mail from Google as well. “We don’t need no stinking badges.” Sorry, couldn’t resist.


Google Local Guides


There you have it folks. Google needs these Local Guides to help ensure accuracy on the millions of Google pages out there. So if you’re detail oriented, love taking photos, enjoy posting reviews, and like to get badges, go sign up! We need people like you to keep things running smoothly on Google.


Karin Siccardi

Karin Siccardi is a Reputation Defender, Blogger, and Proofreader/Editor at WebPunch. Originally from Oregon, she migrated to Tennessee where she lives with her husband, four children, and the family dog who lounges at her feet as she enjoys the luxury of working from her home office. An avid reader, she enjoys all wordy things as well as coffee, chocolate, and wine.