Google Maps covers over a billion kilometers of geographical data from more than 220 countries. As more people depend on it to get where they’re going and recommend nearby services, it is also an invaluable marketing tool. With so many consumers and businesses relying on its services, it has also created some unique opportunities to earn money from Google Maps.
Earning Badges and Perks as a Google Local Guide
To expand and verify the information in its database, Google started a program to encourage more user-generated content (UGC). Anyone can sign up to become a Google Local Guide and earn rewards based on the contributions you make. With more than 120 million Local Guides around the world, theirs is an active online community that enjoys sharing their experiences. Although they don’t earn money for their efforts, they are passionate that others should benefit from them as they explore new locations and destinations.
Based on gamification, you earn points for each contribution you make to Google Maps. Every action earns you points. However, the value varies depending on the difficulty of the task. While scoring a business with a rating, checking facts, and answering questions will earn you a few points, leaving reviews, uploading photos or videos, and adding missing locations net you much more. The more time you spend generating the content, the more points you earn.
Once you start accruing points, you earn badges and level up. Unfortunately, you can’t redeem your points for cash. However, several Redditors have traded their points for rewards from Google’s partners. They have reported that they received free clothing and phone accessories, discounts on Udemy courses, expanded Google storage, and early access to new Google features. However, many more say they have never received anything for their contributions. That has left many people wondering, how can you earn money from Google Maps?
How to Get Paid and Earn Money from Google Maps
Businesses rely on accurate information and representation to bring in customers, making UGC extremely important. By proxy, Local Guides are important influencers in their local online community. They are much more than just fact-checkers who verify the accuracy of the information. Contributors help shape search results and boost businesses that are popular with their customers. The more positive reviews and contributions a business receives, the greater its online presence becomes.
Google Map contributors are not limited to those who officially enroll in the program either. Anyone can add to the wealth of knowledge. But, some people have found ways to earn a liveable income while they do it.
1. Online Marketing Consultant
If you have any experience with advertising, SEO, and web development, consider offering your services as an online marketing consultant. First, you must understand what type of user-generated content boosts a brand or business. Then, you can use this to draw in more customers and online traffic.
As any small business owner will tell you, one of the most difficult challenges is landing your first client. However, a little creative thinking could help you find local businesses that could benefit from your expertise. Search for businesses in your area that have a minimal or nonexistent online presence. These are businesses that have very few or older reviews, no ratings at all, or never claimed their business on Google. Contact them and discuss how you could help increase their internet presence and attract more customers. As an incentive, you could help them claim their business on Google as a free demonstration of what you could do for their business to earn more money from Google Maps.
When working on your sales pitch, be sure to outline the services you can offer that will optimize their brand presence. Something as simple as modernizing the page layout or editing the web copy can breathe new life into stale websites. A few other ways to improve their site would include adding/updating information about the hours of operation, contact information, FAQs, photos, lists, and pricing of available services. You could also add digital payment methods to provide customers with more options. And, getting them listed in local directories like the Better Business Bureau, Facebook, and Yelp will expose them to a wider platform and customer base.
2. Map Analyst
Other paying positions that rely on Google Maps are Quality and Map Data Analysts. Companies like Lionbridge work with search engines to ensure their content is accurate and functioning as it should. New positions are readily available and offer an incredible amount of flexibility. Most people take these jobs to supplement their income since they only offer part-time schedules up to 20 hours a week. They typically pay $10-16 an hour. In addition to being incredibly easy, you can do it anywhere.
However, there are a few basic requirements for these jobs. The first and the most obvious, you must have internet access and your own equipment to perform assigned tasks. Furthermore, you must speak the local language and have lived at your current location for the last 3 years. They want people who have a good working knowledge of the geographical area. If you meet these qualifications, the last step is to pass an evaluation to show comprehension and application of guidelines.
While tasks usually require you to verify the relevance and accuracy of map information, they do vary from time to time. Sometimes they will ask you to do some online research as well. However, they will include specified guidelines for each task.
3. Positions at Google
For those who want to work directly with Google Maps in a formal role, you could apply for any available positions on the Google Careers website. However, these positions are limited. So, you may have to wait and diligently watch for the job you want.
If you don’t want to wait for open positions on the Google Maps team, you could look at positions on another team. This would allow you to get your foot in the door with Google. Then, you could move internally once a job becomes available on the specific team you want to work with.
These are just a few ideas of how you could earn money using Google Maps. With a little innovation and application of your skillset, you too could find a way to use their free services to generate extra income.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.