Google Maps and Local Guides development – and what this means for your local business
Google has been making big moves in Google Maps – have you noticed how much more information is available to the user when searching in Google Maps recently? If you are a business, you need to be concerning yourself with reviews – and now, more than ever, attempting to get as much of that happening in the Google space as is humanly possible. What we anticipate, is that reviews elsewhere will draw on the Google database. Google has been asking Maps users to rate their experiences as they visit local restaurants, tourist destinations, accommodations and anything else listed as a business on Google Maps. These reviews are shown to users searching in Maps, and the reviewers can ‘level up’ within the Local Guides service. Just this week, Local Guides badges were upgraded – where Local Guides can now earn four new badges to recognise their accomplishments: Reviewer, Pho
“By contributing to Maps through Local Guides, users make Maps more useful and relevant for everyone who uses it,” says Mich Atagana of Google SA.
Google Maps for businesses
Businesses have the opportunity to reply to their reviewers, and Maps users are able to see the overall rating of a place as they search within Maps. A review process is undertaken by the Local Guides team as Google strives to remain an objective and trusted resource. You should have already registered your business with Google My Business. This is, in essence, letting Google know that you’re out there – and in doing so, allows you some of the most valuable digital space that money can’t buy: the top of a Google results page (when Googling your company name). Have a look below to see what the Brand Candy profile looks like:
And this is what this same profile looks like on Google Maps (mobile view):
Note the Reviews section…
What this means for your search engine rankings is interesting. If Google sees a page with 20 or more reviews, won’t it want to show that page in the mapped listings over a page that doesn’t have any reviews? This falls in line with Google’s approach to search: providing the searcher with the most relevant search result.
In summary, work hard at getting reviews from your customers to assist in developing credibility with both viewers searching in Google, and with Google itself. And if you’re keen to contribute to the community with reviews of places and businesses that you visit, you’ll find it easy to move from Novice to Expert to Master Reviewer within the Local Guides program. Have fun and contact us for any marketing needs.