Creating Custom Google Maps with Google Maps Engine

Linda Buquet

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Local Search Consultants have been voicing lots of concerns about changes to Google Maps. Most of us prefer and use Google Classic Maps for embedding a map on a client's site for a wide variety of reasons.

But Google disabled part of the Classic Maps embed code that made it useful. Plus consultants that embedded Classic maps are finding Google is converting them to New maps anyway. And also there have been rumors that Classic embed is totally going away, and then eventually I imagine Classic will be totally gone.

Here is one of the posts where consultants are discussing map embed problems <a href="http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/google-maps/15612-now-missing-customize-preview-embedded-map-google.html">Now Missing - Customize & Preview Embedded Map in Google Classic Maps</a> and there are several others in our Private Pro forums.

Here is one of the glaring problems with New Google Maps.

Ads!

1737d1403005619t-now-missing-customize-preview-embedded-map-google-maps.jpg


Now I'm not saying an embedded map would be that cluttered with ads BUT Google does reserve the right to put ads on your embedded maps. Right in the TOS it explains there are only 2 ways to opt out of ads on your Maps. Pay to Play or discontinue using it.

But even putting ads aside, the new maps embeds business names right into the map. So here's an example of a random embedded map I just created that has 8 other Dentists on the custom embedded map. If I'm putting a map to MY CLIENT on THEIR SITE - I'm sorry but I don't want 8 competitor's right on the map.

Embedded map for One Dentist - But Shows 8 Others As Well

<img src="http://marketing-blog.catalystemarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DentistMap.jpg" alt="DentistMap" width="65%" />​


Another option, which I knew about, but had not looked into is Google Maps Engine.

Casey Meraz just did a great post over at his other site, Lawyer SEO Marketing, so I wanted to share it for those that may be looking for other options.

<a href="http://www.lawyerseomarketing.org/local-seo/creating-custom-google-maps-for-local-seo/">Creating Custom Google Maps for Local SEO</a>

Using the Google Maps Engine you can create custom maps that show different office locations, relevant businesses, or anything else you want to showcase with a visual map view. The best part is that Google provides this service free of charge. If you don?t have multiple office locations you can also use it for other reasons. Some attorneys I have worked with use it to show the local court houses, local notary offices, and more. If the visitors to your website can benefit from using a map of locations then you should be using this service. Plus it makes it easy for people to easy get driving directions, learn more information, and leave reviews for these locations.
Head over and check it out. Casey will take you step by step.

Now before all my Pros ask, no this does not take care of the CID issue, but to be honest I'm not sure how important CID is any more. I think a bigger issue on a client site is a map that looks good, is not cluttered with ads and does not show competitors.

I'll also just mention that in the past custom maps (previously known as MyMaps) were a ranking factor.
I don't think they are any more. But back when they still showed on the Place page I saw one spammy Chiropractor that jumped to the top of the pack after having 1000 My Maps made over in the Philippines.
(So now you know why they are no longer a ranking factor. :mad:)

However we do know Google likes it when you use her products. And these do make a nice clean map, especially useful if you have a multi-location client.

Here is a live map for all the attorney offices in the example Casey used. However looking at that map brings up a question I was wondering about. Right on that map it says "Not for Commercial Use".

Therefore I think it's possible you might need to use the paid version. Here is more info about the various Maps Engine options.

So anyway, that's just another option I wanted to throw out there and I'll leave it to you to research this option in more detail.

Any Thoughts???

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seoWest

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Aug 15, 2013
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You beat me to the punch on this one, Linda ;-)

I have been pondering the Maps Engine approach and was wondering why I haven't seen much about it. I was working on a site remodel and had created a map for a client with 4 vacation rentals using Map Engine. I haven't had to time to revisit the project lately, but I will check it out a bit closer and see if I can add something of value to the discussion.
 
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Thanks for pointing out the "Not for Commercial Use". I had been working in Google Maps Engine on and off since Monday and hadn't noticed that :eek:

Just upgraded to Map Engines Pro (for $5.41 btw) and the message is gone. I really like that I am able to control exactly what Users see on this map. It's more time consuming right now but I'm still learning.
 

Scott Rawlins

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Amber - any chance you could post a screen shot of one of those you did with the Pro package? Just curious as to what it looks like.
 
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So I imagine that the map can look a lot better than this but I am still in the process of teaching myself how to make the map and the page the map is displayed on useful and pretty. What I'm trying to say is don't let my novice map discourage you:eek:

This map is on a page that I created to practice and see what it looks like when it's embedded. It wasn't until I viewed the page after the map was embedded that I realized the title of the map was displayed.

Originally the white text at the top was "Amber's Practice Map, Don't Make Fun" :eek:


2014-07-11 10.30.03 am.png

 
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Here is an example of what the text box shows if you search and add a specific business on the map rather than customizing everything like I did above.
2014-07-11 11.26.45 am.png
No ads. No competitors. Just me and my favorite cupcake spot.

The more I play around on this the more I really love it.

 

Linda Buquet

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Jun 28, 2012
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Here is an example of what the text box shows if you search and add a specific business on the map rather than customizing everything like I did above.
View attachment 1797
No ads. No competitors. Just me and my favorite cupcake spot.

The more I play around on this the more I really love it.
Thanks so much Amber for the screenshots and sharing what you know!

This looks pretty cool!
 

Gayle Katz

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Feb 5, 2014
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Hi Amber,

Thanks for all the great information!

Is the price you paid per month? per seat? annual subscription?

Also, did you purchase for yourself or did you purchase on behalf of one of your clients? I ask because I'm wondering if Google considers the location of who purchases. For example, if your client is in one town and the purchase occurs in the same town will they rank higher vs. you purchasing for them and you're in a different town. I hope this question makes sense :)
 

Lloyd Silver

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Jul 21, 2014
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Seems like the Maps Engine might be useful when trying to send strong local signals on a particular city or geographic area other than just embedding and linking to a business' Google My Business page.

For example, "community" pages for realtors where you can have different layers for schools, shopping areas, etc.
 

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