Google’s rather belated release of its Map Maker tool for the UK in April brings us in line with the many countries that have been able to use the program since its initial launch in 2008. Whilst Google paints the tool as being something with which you can share your local knowledge, is this truly the case?
So what is Map Maker?
This new addition to the Google Maps family allows users to add and edit business listings and roads amongst other things, without the user having anything to do with a business or feature. The ideal use of this tool is to keep maps of areas up-to-date, something that Google simply does not have the time or man power to do themselves.
Many a German cyclist will attest to this after being led onto the Autobahn rather than a cycle route.
Any changes made via Map Maker have to be verified by multiple users and at least one Regional Expert Reviewer before they are added to Google Maps. This helps ensure that any changes are legitimate and correct.
But how does this affect my business?
With its introduction in the UK, Map Maker has become part of the local SEO ranking system; though we probably won’t see much of an effect, as Map Maker seems to pull in any current Google Local+ information.
However, with the amount of changes that Google has been making to its local systems recently, I’d doubt that any Local+ listing is correctly and fully optimised.
Any number of issues could have arisen such as duplicate listings, incorrect map placement, incorrect address or irrelevant categories being added to your listing.
The introduction of Map Maker is the perfect time to have a complete audit of your business’ local profile to ensure all your information is correct. Whilst this may seem like a daunting task, Map Maker has actually made this process much easier.
Until the release of Map Maker, your options to change business information were to sign into your Local+ account and make amendments, followed by weeks of waiting patiently for a Google Pin to arrive,
or to report a problem whilst not signed in to a Google account - this could take even longer, and that’s if the changes were even accepted.
However, with Map Maker, edits can be accepted and put live to Maps in less than a week. This means that any changes to the business, from opening times to a move to a new location, can be documented and put live to Google Maps much faster than has ever previously been available.
Whilst you may be thinking that this is rife for competitors to hijack business listings and change information, Google’s current system of checks from other users and a Regional Expert Reviewer seems to have worked in other countries that have had Map Maker for years.
Evolution not revolution
So, Google Map Maker is hardly a game changer in the sphere of Local SEO, however, it is a useful addition to the tool kit of a local business and is a product that should be used to quickly and efficiently create or make changes to a business listing on Google.