Which Restaurant Review sites are used by Google Maps?

Reviews Vs RankingSeveral weeks ago I did some research on which directories Google Maps referenced to provide details for their local search.

Matt McGee of Small Business SEM suggested looking at which review sites were used as well. I took the same approach and analyzed which sites were used to provide review/rating detail to Google Maps. Here is the summary of the list in alphabetic order:

Review Site Total Reviews
ChefMoz.org 10
Dine.com 4
Dine.com 39
Frommers.com 3
Insiderpages.com 17
Judysbook.com 36
MobilTravelGuide.com 1
Mytravelguide.com 43
Travelocity.com 22
Travelpost.com 98
Tripadvisor.com 93
Yahoo.com 78
Yelp.com 2

Several observations and some additional details:

-The oldest review dated to the year 2000

-The newest review was dated October 7, 2006

-The hotels that have restaurants have significantly more reviews although not necessarily of their restaurants

-Some review sites like travelpost.com and tripadvisor.com are exclusively hotel review sites and probably should be ignored by anybody in the restaurant business

-CitySearch does not show up in the Buffalo results but I have seen it elsewhere and I think that Yahoo kick started their reviews site with CitySearch results.

Here is the summary by total reviews provided (which gives some indication of which sites are the most significant players):

Review Site Total Reviews
Travelpost.com 98
Tripadvisor.com 93
Yahoo.com 78
Mytravelguide.com 43
Dine.com 39
Judysbook.com 36
Travelocity.com 22
Insiderpages.com 17
ChefMoz.org 10
Dine.com 4
Frommers.com 3
Yelp.com 2
MobilTravelGuide.com 1

Clearly reviews hang around for a long time. It’s a good reason to not have a bad one, or even a mediocre one.

By the same token, reviews are not updated all that frequently. There were only a few reviews from this fall and most were from 2005 and early 2006. I am running another experiment on Yelp & Citysearch to see how long it takes Google to pick up newly minted reviews. In the case of CitySearch, reviews were added last May (7 months ago) and have still not shown up in the Google results. I started the Yelp experiment 4 weeks ago with still no appearance in the Google results.

This long delay in updating reviews should reinforce the importance of getting good reviews ALL the time.

Reviews Vs Ranking This first chart plots total reviews against rankings. As you can see there is a pretty good correlation between the two.

The second chart plots total reviews and total stars on the same axis against ranking. It is interesting to note (a disclaimer: I am not statistician) that there seems to be a higher correlation between rank and volume than rank and quality.ReviewsStarsvsRanking.gif

I have done some aggregate analysis that I will post later in the week.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Which Restaurant Review sites are used by Google Maps? by

12 thoughts on “Which Restaurant Review sites are used by Google Maps?”

  1. Hi Mike,

    A quick list of some of the review sites I saw locally, and then in NYC:

    ChefMoz.org
    Dine.com
    Judysbook.com
    Yelp.com
    Citysearch.com
    Yahoo.com
    Citysearch.com
    Travelpost.com
    Travelocity.com
    RestaurantRow.com
    Insiderpages.com
    MobilTravelGuide.com
    Mytravelguide.com
    Nymetro.com
    Frommers.com
    Gayot.com
    Menupages.com
    NewYorkCity.com

    New York restaurants had a lot more reviews – not surprisingly. Toronto and Montreal and London had significantly less reviews showing for sites near the top of search results.

    There has to be a better way to collect information about what review sites are being used. It looks like regional sites are included whenever availabe.

    Just from my little survey of sites, it does look like Yelp and Citysearch are two of the top places that Google includes reviews from, though.

  2. Bill-
    Thanks for you data.

    This list is by no means exhaustive. It represents that which is used on a small sample and in one market only. This needs to be expanded and if time allows I will do so next week. If anyone wants to help on this project let me know and we can parcel out the work.

    Mike

  3. WOW – this is great data – my company specializes in SEM for hospitality websites and this information is a great backup for our position that the more reviews you have, the better off you are.

    Thanks for the compilation and I know I’ll be referring a few clients here!
    ~Carrie

  4. I’m not sure what the bloggers purpose for this site is… so pardon me if I am OT, but I appreciate these lists of review sites provided above. I am a casual traveler and I like to do a lot (read: LOT) of research before visiting a new locale. Planning a trip to Alaska in June 09, I discovered that there are really not many good reviews of restaurants online – regardless of the volume of sites and reviews. I’ve made it my purpose, when not traveling, to write reviews about restaurants in my area (Greater KC MO) so that hopefully other travelers will be better informed. Your list of which review sites pick up on Google is my target now. I’m writing a review once and then posting it on several sites. So, thanks for the nerd-work, thanks for the the list, and if you ever get to my area look up Smokehouse BBQ and do your mouth a favor.

  5. We launched a restaurant website for Ireland in 2009. Several reviews have been added. The reviews are not being picked up by google. Anyone know if there are criteria to be met for the reviews to be picked up.?

  6. @Paddy

    Sorry, did not read your post carefully. Historically Google has only taken reviews from sites with whom that had some sort of data sharing agreement and required fairly large volumes of reviews. They have recently announced support for hReview formatted reviews but still apparently are requiring some screening before scraping the reviews. See my recent post: Google Announces Full Support for Microformats in Local for more details.

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