Did You Miss Google Top Contributors Too? What It Means and If It Matters

SMS Text

sejAmidst all the Google news and social media changes, it’s easy to miss something. There always seems to be something that’s been around forever that you’re just now noticing or something that you’ve been using for ages yet no one else seems to notice. For me, that was this whole idea of Google Top Contributors.

What are they, can/should I try to become one, and why haven’t I heard about them?

How Google Top Contributors Work

According to the about page, the Top Contributor program officially started in 2005 and now has over 550 members in 53 different countries. A top contributor is all about Google’s Help Forums and your activity in those forums. If you’re a Top Contributor or wanted to become one, there are a few characteristics that you’d need to have:

  • Active. They’re considered to be the most active and knowledgeable person in the forums. Oftentimes Top Contributors specialize in something specific.
  • Google Relationship. They are constantly working with Google directly to remain up to speed on the details of the latest news. Google considers them to be trusted partners (so you know you can believe whatever it is they have to say).
  • Testing New Products. If they’re not answering questions, they’re testing new Google tools or features or starting conversations about upcoming products.
  • Create Engagement. They answer thousands of questions to not only educate, but also create engagement and “influence the future of Google’s products.” According to Google, several Top Contributors have posted more than 100,000 times in Google’s Help Forums during their membership.

A Top Contributor is essentially just one title that you can hold in the Google community. When you post in forums, you can earn badges based on a few factors such as how often you post (more about this later). Below are a few other badges you can earn according to Google:

top contributors

You can sign up to earn a rising star badge, and once you are approved then it’s your job to help people get their questions about Google answered through all of the forums. It’s completely voluntary, so you don’t get paid and you can leave at anytime and then become alumni. However, it isn’t quite as easy as signing up and then getting the badge. You have to earn it.

Steps to Become a Google Top Contributor

  1. Get involved in the forums and start making connections and answering questions.
  2. Check out Top Contributors to get a feel for where they are posting and the kind of information they have to offer. Check out any resources they use to cite their answers and take notes.
  3. Fill out an interest form, found here, to be sent to Google. Once your application has been reviewed, Google will respond and bring you to the next step.
  4. Become a rising star and earn this badge for when you post in forums. You will also have someone at Google to resource for your answers.
  5. Become a Top Contributor only after you’ve really showed that you know your stuff in the forums (positive tone, expert knowledge, active each day, etc.). After about four or so months someone from Google will reach out to you and offer you the opportunity.

A few current top contributors include David King about Chrome, Cesar JB about Gmail, and MosheTLV about AdWords. You can also watch this video to hear the Top Contributors talk about their experience directly.

The Verdict: Is It Worth It?

If you are constantly reading the Google Help Forums and find Google interesting, this could be a good route for you. It’s a great way to gain access to Google products first and create a meaningful relationship with someone who works for Google. Google has also said that being a Top Contributor can help you in your professional career by developing skills you’ll need (talking with others, making connections, learning about Google, etc.) and is something you can put on your resume.

As a company owner, having the inside scoop with Google could be helpful. You’ll be able to create better blog posts and hopefully make more connections with relevant users. So do I think it’s worth it? Personally, I think it’s only best if you have a lot of time to devote and are passionate about Google. If not, just enjoy the forums and see what you can learn.

Are you a Top Contributor or have you known one in the past? Do you think there are benefits to becoming a Top Contributor for business owners? Let us know your experience and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Google.com

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Nice post Amanda. It seem like a good opportunity for those in school or interning, but difficult to monetize and get follow-on paid consulting. You characterized the type of person who could benefit very well when you said a passion for Google.

    • Yes exactly! People in school is actually a really good thought that didn’t cross my mind. Thanks for reading!

  • Great post Amanda!

    I’ve been a Top Contributor on the Google Local side of the house for a couple years and have to say it’s not just for those in school or for interns.

    Being a TC is also for experts that want to build their authority status. Mike Blumenthal, one of the other leaders in the Local Search space, is a TC too. And although we are under NDA and can’t share new products or updates we BETA until they go live, having the inside scoop to be able to be ready to break the news 1st is pretty cool. And just having the opportunity to talk directly to Google management multiple times per day gives us invaluable insights that help us in our day to day consulting businesses.

    I missed the TC Summit, but Google a Hangout for me so I could join in the most important local meetings that came up.

    Being a TC rocks in my opinion – if you have knowledge , time, and passion for a certain Google product category like SEO, social, Youtube or whatever. But I’m not sure how easy it is to break in. I think it’s usually by invite which is how I got in.

    • How great to hear from a Top Contributor! Just what I was hoping for, and it sounds like you’ve had a very positive experience. I think it would be so much fun to talk with Google and get to try things before they’re released–definitely lots of work though. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!

  • I had never really heard of this until your great post. Thanks Amanda.

  • Hi everyone! I keep replying to these and for some reason my responses haven’t showed up, so I’ll try responding here. Linda, I’m so thrilled that a Top Contributor came by and gave a little bit more insight! It’s good to know that you can actually have fun while doing this as opposed to seeing it as just another thing to hopefully improve your career. Thanks for reading!

  • Nice post!

    I’m a TC on the AdWords forum in the Netherlands. I think it’s a great way to learn more about the product because sometimes you have to answer questions that you otherwise probably never thought of yourself. It could also be a really helpful platform to discuss new/ recently launched features.

    It does cost time, but half an hour a day could already be enough. For me the main reason to be a TC is just because I like to help others!

  • My comments keep getting deleted on this post for some reason, but I’ll try this one more time–thank you everyone for reading!