For simplicity’s sake, let’s think of Google’s newly-updated Maps as a New Car; after all it’s clean, fast, fully-loaded with all the bells and whistles, and is essential for getting you from point A to point B. And if Google Maps was a slick new car, Map Maker would be the powerful engine beneath its hood.
Google Map Maker, a wholly-separate tool from Google Maps, allows you to add or edit the local information that you know, including local businesses, roads, parks, pathways, college campuses and more. In the age of crowd-sourced data, Map Maker allows for a collaborative mapping environment which combines a community of users whose local knowledge help to better map the whole world. All of this interconnected data eventually finds its way into the full array of Google’s products, such as Maps, Google Earth, Panoramio and Google Maps for Mobile devices.
One of the biggest reasons that Google launched Map Maker many years ago was to address the growing volume of locally-oriented searches. Currently, Google says 30% of all searches are looking for places, many of which are created, edited and updated by Map Maker users. Map Maker’s review process allows users to easily edit content, while ensuring that data quality remains intact. Map Maker is also very widespread as of 2013, with 200+ countries & regions, and in 60+ languages.
As a user or as a business, you can use Google Map Maker to create a better experience for other local users, including potential customers for local businesses. For example, without having to directly verify a business listing, you could ensure the forms of payments, business hours, or even the building’s footprint are all accurate. A first-time a Map Maker user can make edits to the map, but the edits may require review and approval before the edits will be published. Once a Map Maker user has made a few more approved edits, most of the subsequent edits will go live automatically. However, some types of edits or edits in specific regions will always require review, regardless of how experienced the “mapper” is. In addition, some edits may require multiple reviews before the edits appear on Google Maps.
Just like a car, to really understand how everything works you need to roll-up your sleeves and take a look under the hood. Before you can truly take advantage of the new Google Maps, make sure you’ve “tuned-up” your engine, and become a true expert of localization.
Contributed by Tyler Harding, Local SEO Manager