Helpful reviews on Google Maps delivers rewards

Have you ever considered how powerful your review on a Google Map location is?

Your review could either encourage or discourage future trips to the destination or business that you’re posting about to Google Maps.

A popular stop for tourists — Dangar Falls — Located two minutes from downtown Dorrigo

In this article, I’ll run through some tips you may want to consider when posting a Google Review — and I’ll reveal some anecdotes from my time uploading reviews to Google Maps.

What do people want to see in a Google Review?

To know what to post to a review on Google Maps, you first need to know what the expectation is from the Google Map user. For example, my wife has previously used a combination of Google Maps and Instagram Stories to decide which holiday resort she wanted to stay at. So, while planning, she was keen to know what the accommodation was like at each resort and how accessible each resort was to activities and the local market.

Wat Chaiwatthanaram — ABuddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand

Google Reviews need to be helpful

Silicon Valley created social media so that their platforms could help other people. So, if you keep this ‘helpful’ ideology in mind when uploading a Review to Google Maps, then you’re Reviews will have more impact on Google Maps.

There’s no fuel for sale at Moonan Flat — A handy tip for a Google Map review

Helpful reviews on Google Maps

If you’re about to post a review on Google Maps, consider yourself as a trail-blazing explorer. If you were the first person to visit this location, what important information would you tell someone who might also want to visit?

In some cases, the most trivial piece of information can be really helpful in a review. For example, ‘this place serves great burgers, but you need to arrive before midday when it gets really busy.’ Or, ‘this is an excellent stadium, but you’re not allowed to carry backpacks into the stadium.’

Other helpful information in the Google Map Review could include where to park…is there a bathroom nearby?…is there a discount for veterans?…which burger is the best tasting burger?…how helpful are the staff?…is the location wheelchair accessible?

The Crystal Shower Falls in the Dorrigo National Park

Should I include a photo in my Review on Google Maps?

Yes. Google Maps, like most social platforms, loves ‘rich’ content.

In fact, Google Maps rewards people who upload photos.

‘Rich’ content is what the user would know as good quality photos or videos. Photos can sometimes tell a greater story than the review that you’ve written.

Have you ever scrolled through Google Maps, and noticed that people who include photos with their reviews sit near the top of the feedback list? Google Maps’ bot rewards reviewers who upload quality photos that have been taken recently.

The Skywalk Lookout — Dorrigo, Australia

Should I be critical in my Google Map Review?

Each review that you upload will be seen by hundreds and possibly thousands of people. Your words can impact the performance of a business. I attended a ‘Grow With Google’ event about a year ago. The event was targeted at small to medium sized business owners who operated south of Sydney. And, the common question that Google received at the event was “how do I manage negative or bad reviews posted to my business’ Google Map location?” (If you’re interested in knowing Google’s reply, you can read it here).

So, when you upload a review to Google Maps, be mindful that at some time in the future, your review will be read by the owner of the business. It goes without saying that you can’t defame the business owner or the staff in a review. But, like a restaurant reviewer, you can have a personal opinion about your experience.

Don’t be troll on Google Maps.

Bigge Park, Liverpool, Australia

Where do my Google Map Reviews appear?

Everywhere. Writing a review on Google Maps means that your comment will appear not just on the Google Maps app. It will appear in Google searches and on websites that embed Google Map locations. Your Google Map Review can be screenshot and sent to friends or posted on the web. And, the review can be shared to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter via the ‘share’ button at the bottom of your review. Below is an example of my review of Betty’s Burgers & Concrete Co in Parramatta — you’ll notice how easily embedded the review is on websites when I use the ‘share’ function on Google Maps.

What you write today on Google Maps will influence future decisions made by others for years to come.

Writing positive reviews on Google Maps can bring its rewards too. This week I visited my local dentist, and while I was there, I got this feeling that I was receiving some first class service. Then, while I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, the dentist said to me “Mr Wood, thank you for your Google Review last time you visited — it was really appreciated.” I had a similar comment from the local barber.

I want to be a Google Maps super reviewer

Google Maps rewards users for uploading content. And, for some activity on Google Maps, they offer higher reward points. The reward for people with more points is higher notoriety on Google Maps.

Super users on Google Maps are called Local Guides. Anyone can register to be a Local Guide — by doing this, Google unlocks a badge that they pin to your account. Local Guides are people who contribute a lot of reviews, photos and knowledge on Google Maps.

One of the smallest railway stations in Australia — Wondabyne, NSW

The Local Guide Help Center website states this: “As a Local Guide, you earn points for sharing reviews, photos, and knowledge on Google Maps. Those points lead to higher levels of the program, as well as benefits like early access to Google features and special perks from partners. At Level 4, you also unlock your first Local Guides badge, which helps your contributions to places get noticed.”

Below is a list of the points that Google Map users receive for their contributions.

My take out from this list, is that the higher the points that are on offer, the more needy the users are for this content on Google Maps.

Based on the criteria above, when uploading content to Google Maps, you would be wanting to tick-off on each of these items with your uploads:

1/ Detailed review that is more than 200 characters
2/ Include a photo and video
3/ Add a missing road or place
4/ Create lists on your Google Map account

A helpful sign at Wondabyne railway station

Below is the new listing for the Hardwood Lookout, located in the Dorrigo National Park, that I submitted to Google Maps yesterday.

According to the list above, I would have received 15 points for adding this missing place to Google Maps.

Google Map photo tips

If you were a Google Map user, what kind of photos of the business or destination would you like to see? Think of your response to this question as you take photos to upload to Google Maps. And consider uploading these photos:

1/ Broad photo of the location
2/ Narrow photo of something at the location
3/ Menu / price list
4/ If you’re photographing food, take the photo from above the dish
5/ Natural lighting is better than flash lighting
6/ The more photos you share, the more points you gain and the more impact you have on Google Maps

Add hashtags to your Google Map Review

While doing some additional research for this article, I learnt that you can now add hashtags to your review. So, from today, I’ll be adding hashtags that reflect the experience and the location eg #sunsetviews #nofilter #sydney

Make sure you have the basics established on your account too eg a photo of yourself in your Google Map bio.

Thunderbolts Way — Near Barrington Tops, New South Wales

You’ll find more tips about what to upload to Google Maps on the Local Guide YouTube channel.

You can now ‘follow’ other users on Google Maps — I’ve uploaded more details about that new ‘follow’ tool here. At the time of writing this article, I’m a Level 9 Local Guide on Google Maps — you can ‘follow’ my account here.

Follow the Local Guides Twitter account for regular updates from the team at Google Maps.

#GoogleMaps

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