Yelp Elite Squad, meet Google Local Guides. Though Google’s program for City Experts was first launched in 2013, Google recently renamed and re-launched the program dubbed Google Local Guides in an effort to make a stronger local push.
Much like Elite Yelpers, Google Local Guides have to sign up to participate in the program and meet certain criteria. Also like Yelp, Google’s program also benefits Local Guides based on a point system that is based on reviews. Local Guides get the opportunity to preview Google apps and services, receive 1 terabyte in Google Drive storage space, and even a chance to meet other top Local Guides at Google’s main campus!
Our first inclination is to “Yelp” a new or unfamiliar business. Yelp reviews can make or break a business. It can be said that the Local Guides program is Google’s effort to invite tech-savvy thought leaders to harness that energy and put it into Google Local instead of other third party review sites, like Yelp.
In influx in reviews for local businesses not only helps the business but it also helps Google. By bringing in more user-generated content, it gives searchers a reason to search, browse and stay on Google for a longer period of time…instead of clicking away and going onto another review site such as Yelp and Zagat.
Gaining user reviews in a “natural” way without explicitly asking is difficult and tricky. And yet Google and Yelp are making it more difficult for businesses to be visible without a good amount of positive reviews. Check out more about Google Local Guides in the video below and let us know what you think. Will you be signing up for Google’s Local Guide program any time soon?