Google has continued its unprecedented conquering of all things internet with the release of Google Maps, a mapping and routing tool available through the Google Maps website. Google Maps is also the default GPS system for the new Android phone, making it an attractive, convenient alternative to the traditional GPS device.
Google Earth was the initial step in this process, offering satellite imagery of the earth and allowing you to find and pinpoint specific locations and addresses. Google Maps, however, takes the technology to a whole new level.
To make the most effective use of Google Maps technology, you should understand how it works and what is required to generate the desired result when seeking a destination.
Remember that you do not need the full address of the place you want a map for. In many cases just entering the city and a nearby landmark will find it for you. Using appropriate keywords and keeping it simple is important. If you look for “water damage company in Atlanta”, Google Maps will cross reference with the standard Google Search to find results. You may then refine your search by navigating the map.
When determining travel routes, just click on the marker denoting where you want to go, and click “Get Directions”. You can choose between, car, foot, or public transportation.
Consider the traffic. Clicking on the traffic button will show you traffic densities for a given area, overlaid on your screen. You can select the option that allows you to avoid heavily congested areas. This is especially valuable if you live in or will be traveling through a busy metropolitan area.
Click on any marker you wish to save and the location will be saved in Google Maps for future reference. You may also wish to set a default location, such as your home or business, which will be the starting location when accessing the Google Maps program.
You have the option to set Google Maps to search for “Businesses Only”, as well as “Properties For Sale”, or any other parameter that you care to define.
You are also able to edit locations you find on Google Maps, such as moving the marker for a given address to a more accurate location.
You also have the option of sharing your maps with others. There is a Send button on the navigation bar which allows you to enter an e-mail address and send maps to whomever you wish to share them with. You also have the option of adding maps as links, using the Link tab.
Google Maps also allows users to get involved by allowing them to be a part of the process of keeping it updated. You can report on the new street extension that has opened up, or let them know if they have the wrong name of a business, street, or school.
You also have the option of reviewing and rating your favorite businesses or other destinations on Google Maps. You can also check out reviews written by others.
If you are a business and want to make the most out of Google Maps, remember that you must correctly optimize your site for the program in order for it to be beneficial.
You’ll want to target both Google Maps and Yahoo Maps as they have the largest portion of the search engine market. You will have more success than if you use MapQuest or SuperPages.
You will need to optimize your Google Maps setup with appropriate keywords. If done correctly, this can be one of the most effective ways to get ranked at the top of the search engine results. In addition to keywords, you will also want to use phrases designed to describe your business; a BBQ restaurant located in Lexington NC would want to use “Lexington NC BBQ” as a keyword option.
Develop the correct citations. Google places considerable importance on the number and quality of citations in a given listing. Yours should provide a business name, listing, and phone number. For a listing to appear in Google’s “7 box” (the seven listing featured prominently at the top of the search engine results), your business must be listed by as many sources as possible.
By taking the time to learn the process, Google Maps can not only help make your travels a little easier, but may actually help boost your own search engine rankings and customer traffic for your business.
Billy D Ritchie is the Director Of Content for LeadsByFone, LLC, a lead generation company servicing the water mitigation and restoration industry.
When not writing and educating folks about the perils of water damage, he is also a freelance writer, sometime actor, and formerly professional musician. He also enjoys spending his weekends building and flying model rockets.
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