How to Maximize Your Google Maps Local Guide Contributions

As a level 7 Local Guide on Google Maps with over 10,000 points, I’ve figured out a couple simple ways to maximize your contributions. This technique isn’t cheating or dishonest. It simply involves a good understanding of how your contributions earn you points.

Learn how you can maximize your Google local guide contributions, earn points, and become a master photographer, reviewer, trailblazer, and fact finder.

Google Maps Local Guide Points

First, let’s review how to earn points as a Local Guide on Google Maps. You can earn points not only from reviews and photos, but also from checking facts and answering questions.

Here is a complete list of all the different ways you can earn points as a Google Maps contributor along with their point values.

Maps contribution Points earned
Review 10 points
Review with more than 200 characters 10 bonus points per review
Rating 1 point
Photo 5 points
Photo tags 3 points
Video 7 points
Answer 1 point
Respond to Q&As 3 points
Edit 5 points
Place added 15 points
Road added 15 points
Fact checked 1 point
Eligible list published 10 points
Description (in list) 5 points

At 15 points per addition, you’d think that adding places and roads are the best ways you can earn points as a Google local guide—and you’d be right. However, there’s a specific way that you need to approach adding a place to Google Maps to maximize your points.

Maximize Points When Adding a New Place to Google Maps

While I don’t have any experience adding roads, I definitely have experience adding places to Google Maps. As a Master Trailblazer, the highest badge level achievable, I’ve added over 50 places to Google Maps.

Over time, I’ve discovered a secret to maximize the number of points you earn when adding places. You see, when you add a missing place to Google Maps, you have the option to add one or more photos. Regardless of how many photos you add when creating a place, you get 15 points. So if you add no photos, you get 15 points, and if you add six photos, you get 15 points.

Add missing place to Google MapsPin

The trick here is to only add one photo when you add a place to Google Maps. While you could technically get away with not adding any photos, it’s better that you add one to ensure the place gets approved.

Then, when you get a notification that your addition to Google Maps has been published, you can go back and add additional photos when you review the place.

Breaking It Down

To drive this point home, let’s look at two scenarios. In both cases, you will add a missing place to Google Maps along with 8 photos, and a review.

Scenario 1: You add a missing place to Google Maps with 8 photos. This gets you 15 points. You then go on to be the first person to review this new place. This gets you 1 point for your rating and 10 points for your review. Your grand total is 26 points earned.

Scenario 2: You add a missing place to Google Maps with 1 photo. This gets you 15 points. You then go on to be the first person to review this new place and attach an additional 7 photos. This gets you 1 point for your rating, 10 points for your review, and 5 points for each of your 7 photos (35 photo points). Your grand total is 61 points earned.

Contribution Scenario 1 Scenario 2
Add Missing Place 15 points (with 8 photos) 15 points (with 1 photo)
Rating 1 point 1 point
Additional Photos 0 points (5 points x 0 photos) 35 points (5 points x 7 photos)
Review 10 points 10 points
Total 26 points 61 points

As you can see, by waiting to add the majority of your photos until you review your newly created place, you can really maximize your points.

Don’t Write Reviews Less Than 200 Characters

Although adding places and roads earns you 15 points per contribution, you can actually earn 20 points for your Google Maps reviews. That’s right, by writing a detailed review, you not only earn 10 points for your review, but you also get an additional 10 bonus points for going the extra mile.

Google considers a detailed review one with more than 200 characters. While that may seem like a lot, let me remind you that we’re talking about characters here, not words. This paragraph alone has 213 characters.

Knowing that, a detailed review will earn you 21 points without any photos—10 points for the review, 10 points for the detail, and 1 point for the rating out of five stars.

Attach some photos to your review to earn even more point. If you’re reviewing a restaurant, tag the dish with it’s name and earn an additional 3 points per tag.

In addition to that, why not add a few videos too. Those will get you 7 points a piece.

Google Maps local guide points contribution calculationPin

In the end, by reviewing a restaurant in detail and attaching 4 tagged photos of your meal, 2 photos of the restaurant itself, and 1 video, you’re looking at earning yourself a hefty 70 points.

Are you a Local Guide on Google Maps? Let me know what your best tips are for maximizing your contributions on Google Maps in the comments below. Also, drop a link to your Google Maps public profile and let us know how many points you have. Here’s a link to mine.

Since it seems like you’re a travel junkie like me, check out some more tech-related travel blog posts here.

Meet Tony

After years of backpacking the world solo, Tony is an expert when it comes to budget travel. Discover why Tony quit his job to travel on the cheap, and follow him on YouTube for all the latest.

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