Looking for unbiased, proven local marketing advice? The Google My Business Community Forum is a great place to connect with vetted experts like Krystal Taing, our Listings Management Product Specialist here at Rio SEO. Krystal is a Gold Product Expert in the GMB Forum, where volunteer users from all backgrounds come to ask questions or look for advice about their local marketing issues.
While GMB publishes excellent guidelines on their products and managing your listings, these don’t cover every scenario a user may encounter. That’s where the GMB forum is helpful. Most questions are answered by forum volunteers passionate about and skilled in local marketing; often, they’re drawing from their experience dealing with similar issues.
A select group of these volunteers have been recognized by Google’s Community Managers as the most esteemed, longest-serving and most helpful contributors. They are the members of the Google My Business Product Expert Program. In this post, Gold Product Expert Krystal explains what the program is about and how you can benefit from it.
Q. What is the Google My Business Product Expert Program?
Krystal: “The Google My Business Product Expert Program are forum volunteers recognized by the Community Managers for their contributions. We share recommendations, advice and tips based on our knowledge of GMB and the experiences we’ve had using them.
We are also interpreting Google’s published guidelines and advising forum users on what may make the most sense for their unique situation.
Each Google product has their own section of the forum and is run by Google Community managers who help moderate and escalate particular issues. It’s a great resource where you can get timely, actionable advice from experts and also access more help from GMB, if needed.
Q. What is a GMB Gold Product Expert?
Krystal: “This past October, Google rebranded the previous ‘Top Contributor’ program to the ‘Product Experts’ program. Previously, the two levels of the program were ‘Rising Star’ and ‘Top Contributor’. Google rebranded these designations as ‘Product Experts’ as it more accurately represents the role these members of the forum serve in the community.
Google explains that the Silver Product Expert and Gold Product Expert rankings are earned by their most-esteemed experts and long-time members of the Community. Silver Experts are recognized for regular forum participation and providing helpful insight and responses to users.”
Q. How do you become a GMB Gold Product Expert?
Krystal: “Silver Product Experts who continue to contribute and improve the community may then have the opportunity to earn the Gold Product Expert badge. There is no specific method or set of steps to becoming a Gold Product Expert. I’ve used Google My Business for years and love helping newer and less familiar users solve some of the challenges I once had myself.”
Q. How do you ask questions to get GMB Expert advice?
Krystal: “To begin, sign up as a member of the GMB forum and determine which section(s) are most relevant for you. While all users may not post their questions under the appropriate section, Google has done a good job at segmenting the core issues users are looking to solve.
Under each section, you’ll be able to see all the threads posted and can jump in to ask your question. Be specific and give as much information about your situation as possible (without violating confidentiality, of course) so GMB Experts can make an informed recommendation for you.”
Q. What are the benefits of working with a GMB Gold Product Expert?
Krystal: “All members of the Google My Business forum and Product Expert program contribute purely as volunteers. Once we’re inducted into the Product Expert program, we’ve earned the nod from Google that our expertise, feedback, and guidance about the specific Google Product can be helpful to both users and creators of the product or service.
You’ll see a silver or gold badge on the profile of Expert users. As a GMB Gold Expert, I have access to a private forum with Google team members and can also join the Trusted Testers program to test out cool new features before they’re released. Once new products are released, Gold Product Experts have access to training. We are also Trusted Verifiers who have the ability to bypass traditional verification methods in order to add new businesses to Google. This is a completely free service offered by Google via Trusted Verifiers, but is not available for all businesses or all scenarios.
Additionally, each Google product expert team has assigned Community Managers who can help you navigate and escalate issues.”
Q. What else can I do to build my local search marketing knowledge?
Krystal: “We have a ton of great resources available for you, many of which I’ve contributed to or advised on myself! Don’t miss:
- Rio SEO’s Google My Business Updates Timeline, where you’ll see all of GMB’s recent product releases, features updates, and more
- Google Posts Playbook, a guide I co-authored to help multi-location and enterprise brands outpace their competition with smart, informed Google Posts strategy
- Highlights and takeaways from our recent webinar, Optimizing Your Listings & Reviews for Smarter GMB Strategy (with a link to the full webinar recording)
Of course, it would be great to see you in the GMB Community, as well. If you’re looking for more specific information about how a partner like Rio SEO can help improve your local marketing performance across hundreds or even thousands of locations, get in touch with our team. We’re here to help!”
Krystal Taing leads Local Product Strategy at Rio SEO for global enterprise brands across hundreds of thousands of locations in finance and insurance, retail, hospitality, healthcare, and more. Her extensive experience informing and crafting local strategy aids multi-location brands in solving their most persistent local marketing challenges to improve local organic visibility, search rankings, and online-to-offline traffic. A Gold Product Expert on the Google My Business Forum, Krystal is a respected local search authority and a resource for marketers and businesses of all types and sizes.