If you need help with implementing a Google Maps API, you’re in the right place.
If you’re looking for information about Google Maps API being a paid service, click here.
Today, we’re exploring some new ways of using a Google Maps API on your website.
Google Maps has always been a low priority for people when they’re having a website built but think about how many people look for a localised service.
Custom Google Map Examples
Maps come in many forms, especially with Google’s approach to its software. Maps with features such as store-finders, multi-pin maps or maps with an integrated property search using the geo-coding API.
Naturally, it should be tempting for many website owners to use a Google Map. Interactive content is, by definition, is a great way to keep a user engaged. We even go so far as to say it’s best practice in the digital marketing world.
Remember: in a world where promoting your business online is more challenging, it is more important than ever to provide users with invaluable tools to improve their experience on your website.
Standard Location Map
A standard location map is the first, and most common, example of a website using the Google Maps API.
It’s easily possible to add a map to your website using the free embed codes. However, one benefit of a custom map vs the traditional embed code would allow you to hide other business in your area.
These custom API maps in their most basic form enable you to set a marker on the map with custom content in the popup window.
Here’s an example of the embed code map:
Colchester Zoo’s Google Map looks how you would expect a map to look when searching on Google.
The map is recognisable, easily gives the user an option to view Google Map satellite imagery and allows zoom toggling all whilst staying on the webpage.
It is also possible to get directions, read Google reviews or save the location. The latter functions will take the user away from your site, though.
It is obviously a great choice to have a standard map on your website, but what if you want something a little extra?
Do you have a unique brand, with a unique colour set? Does your website look a little different to most others? If you answered yes to either of those, custom visuals are a perfect choice.
Custom visuals have been a growing trend recently.
Businesses are opting to use these custom visuals to represent themselves in a new and innovative way. There are many tools to help you change styles and the one you use should depend on what you want to show on your map;
Google My Maps
Google My Maps is Google’s geometric attempt at custom maps.
It leans heavily towards the mathematical side of a Google Map. It is possible to add multiple layers to each map, each with different features.
In the example below you can see; 2 polygons, a driving route and a measurement of distance across the country. Which are all things that can be achieved using the API service on your own website.
This particular type of map is useful for companies, for example, that have clients regularly come from a certain area as a driving route can be shown.
Google My Maps is also useful for eCommerce websites that only deliver to certain areas. By creating a visual representation of a delivery map, a website can clearly show the delivery options available.
Google Maps Styling Wizard
The Google Maps Styling Wizard is a more art-based Custom Map Creator.
When you visit the Styling Wizard, you have the option of customising the visuals of Roads, Landmarks, Labels and more. This is all possible within a simple-to-use platform.
As an example, see a “Retro” map of London:
This has no roads, labels or landmarks removed, but you can see that the colours are slightly different to a standard Google Map. This would be desirable for companies who are looking to come across with a retro-feel, for example.
The theme you choose on Style Wizard can make a big difference, though, and it’s important to choose wisely.
Of course, with this being Google, they give users a huge variety of advanced options too.
Another tool for creating custom ‘Snazzy’ styles for maps – snazzymaps.com
Multi-location pins & directories
The third example is particularly useful if you’re a company that has two or more offices.
Multi-location maps can be seen on many company pages. The most common example of this is when a company is based in a rural area, but has a London office. Here’s an example map we’ve developed on Material Change’s website, which shows their 8 locations:
As you can see, there has been a little more use of the customised visuals in this example, all while maintaining the easy-to-use functions in a standard Google Map.
An advantage of this Google Map is its ability to show your target market that you’re accessible. As before, people are naturally drawn to local companies – whether that is a result of trust, or a moral attempt at helping those in their community.
It should be noted, however, that multiple location Google Maps can have an impact on your SEO.
When building your trust and relevancy in SEO, it is important for Google to understand where you are based – this is related to Local SEO.
Local SEO impacts some businesses more than others, however, for most SMEs, ranking locally plays a vital role in online success.
So, if you’re thinking of showing a multiple location map on your website, keep SEO in mind. You might find that you’re deducted a few Google points for trying to rank somewhere you’re not.
Street View & Google 360 Tours
There has been a rise in the use of Street View & Google 360 tours in 2019.
A street view has some very obvious benefits, the most obvious being the opportunity to remove any doubt of where your office is – this could be particularly beneficial.
Businesses opt to show their website’s users what it is like to be in their office, helping to build an affinity with prospective clients.
How do I start?
We know there are plenty of options with maps above, so implementing them might sound daunting.
If you would like some help, you can speak to Logic Design by calling 01284 706842 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll discuss your design and location requirements before implementing the change.
For more information about Google’s API and the pricing for a DIY service read more here.