Google MapMaker is Google’s mapping interface to coincide with its Maps program (which is a direct feed to all business listings – keep this in mind as it’s very important to be aware of). For those areas where Google can’t map accurately, the MapMaker platform allows users to contribute and make changes to existing map data. Google hopes that this will result in an accurate mapping platform that will help search users locate their favorite local hot spots and businesses, namely yours. By using MapMaker, you’ll gain more visibility amongst the hordes of Google Map users and can substantially help to ensure citation consistency.
The following are a few MapMaker updates you might not be aware of, as well as a takeaway straight from the big ‘G’ to help you optimize your listing.
The following updates have been implemented to make MapMaker more user-friendly and to help business owners list the most accurate data possible.
1. Separation of Businesses and Buildings: Prior to this update, it was difficult for business owners to differentiate their businesses from others that may have been located in the same building. For example, if yours was one in a long line of ‘suites’, prior to this update your business would have been indistinguishable among all the others on the Google Maps interface. Now the business is a completely different entity than the polygon it normally would have been associated with. This should make it much easier for Maps users to find your location.
2. Activity Stream: To keep you up-to-date with what you’ve done on MapMaker, there is now an activity stream that will show you the neighborhoods you’ve visited, search results, any activities you’ve engaged in and anything else the platform thinks is pertinent. This stream shows up on the left-hand side of your browser.
Your activity and Maps history are conveniently listed in the left hand panel.
3. Reviewing Added to Activity Stream: As you may already know, users can make changes to your business’s existing map listing. As a business owner, you are allowed to review those edits by stating ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Partially’ or ‘Don’t Know’. For your convenience, these edits and reviews will be added to the handy activity stream on the left hand side. The categories of the listings are even color coded for easier viewing.
Standardize Your NAP to Avoid Citation Confusion
Pay special attention to how your NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) is listed on your MapMaker profile. According to the Google Help Team, your MapMaker listing should be updated or created first before your Google+ and Places listings. We also asked the Google Team about the ‘Suite’ issue, as we’ve experienced some inconsistency on this front.
While Google at first recommended that we spell out Suite, we found that it doesn’t appear to matter. In this listing for this business, we see the Suite listed twice, once as Suite and once after the hashtag. This leads us to believe that the only thing of direct importance, is the street, city, state and zip (at this point).
Creating Trust in Your Citations
You want to ensure that you combine Google MapMaker, Places and Google+ to create an online profile that can be used to create citation trust. Remember, start with MapMaker and then create your other Google profiles from there. Your information should be consistent across all platforms and polished enough to attract even the most apprehensive web visitor.
Start with MapMaker, keep up with the latest changes, keep your NAP and profile information consistent and watch your listings rise in the search results.