If you hadn’t heard, Google announced late last year (November 2016) that it would be shutting down Google Map Maker, its older online tool that allowed anyone to contribute updates to Google Maps. Google made the decision official on March 31, 2017. Now who will update Google Maps, particularly if your business details change?
For those who are worried, keep in mind that Google didn’t make this decision quickly. The decision to discontinue Map Maker was well-thought-out by the company. In fact, Google revealed some time ago that many of the features of Map Maker were being moved over to Google Maps.
Why All The Issues With Map Maker?
For those who updated Map Maker on a regular basis, you may ask yourself why it was discontinued, as the edits may have seemed helpful. In the past, there were several occurrences where the crowd-sourced data lead to some issues for Google where Map Maker was used to vandalize Google Maps, causing a temporary shut down of the application. Hopefully, this time around with the integration with Google Maps, they’ve already addressed this issue so there should not be repeat incidents, and those who are genuinely trying to help out in their communities will be able to do so.”
The purpose of the service was to ensure that maps were accurate and to help fill out any business information where local details might not be available. While this worked for some time, it also enabled SEO spammers to easily create duplicate listings, some of which were fake, thereby manipulating ranking results. So while many people were trying to be helpful, there were others trying to cheat the system.
Currently Available on Google Maps
With Google integrating most of the services previously offered by Map Maker with Google Maps, we wanted to provide a list of items that you can currently update on Google Maps:
- Add A Place: This feature allows users to add their business, such as a law firm, to Google Maps.
- Edit Info About a Place: If a user notices any incorrect information about their place of business, such as the name or the location, they can let Google know by providing correct information.
- Edit Status: This is a new feature from Google Using this feature, the user can track all of the edits they have made. They can also check the status to see if edits are currently “Approved,” “Pending” or “Not Applied.”
What Exactly Is The Local Guides Program from Google?
If you enjoyed updating Map Maker and being able to play a role in that capacity, then you may want to look into the Local Guides Program from Google. It is a service they started to allow people who are passionate about helping to add their local knowledge to Google Maps by being active on the platform through reviews, photos, edits, comments and more. With this program, users can earn points for every contribution, unlock rewards, and even gain early access to upcoming new features in Google Maps.
Consistency Is Key
Correct Google listings are incredibly important as they are a major ranking factor in your local visibility in the search engine giant. NAP (name, address, and phone number) is a critical factor in local SEO and influences which companies search engines decide to show for local results. As always, you want to ensure your listings are as correct as possible. We have provided a free downloadable resource, Acceptable Abbreviations for Google Listings, that can help ensure your consistency.