Google Maps is a service developed by Google with which one can find the exact location of cities, businesses, hotels, or attractions on the Internet or via apps on your smartphone. You could consider Google Maps a vertical search for locations. Both satellite data and aerial images are used for the display. With Street View, which is integrated into Google Maps, you can also view roads and houses in selected regions. Navigation and route planning are also possible with Google Maps.
Google Maps was introduced in early 2005 by Google Inc. You can use it to find locations of businesses or homes on a digital map. The presentation and level of detail of its satellite data was successively optimized.
Several countries are now available with high-resolution satellite images on Google Maps. The dataset is updated to the present day at regular intervals.
With the provision of a route planner, Google Maps is no longer just a pure map service but also an online-based navigation software. In 2007, Google introduced the option that one could save personalized itineraries or maps or display your current location. Since 2008, the map service also shows real-time traffic data that can be displayed directly on the map in many countries. For navigation, you can now not only select the best route on foot or by car, but also plan your trip depending on availability for public transport.
As part of the Hummingbird Updates, Google optimized the functionality and interface of Google Maps. In addition, some functions have been linked to Google Plus. If you are registered with Google Plus, you can receive notes on recommendations from friends on the map.
Other Google Maps features:
Companies can edit their entries on Google Maps since 2007 via the “business center” on Google Plus Local. For this purpose, any entry first has to be verified by a PIN. Today the entries on Google Maps can be edited and managed with a verified business listing on Google Plus. For SEA with Google AdWords, it is recommended to maintain your company listing on Google Maps or Google Plus Local, since this data can also be used as an advertisement extension for AdWords ads.
To illustrate access routes better, map sections with the company location can be integrated via an HTML code in a website. This improves the usability of a company website.
Google compiled the data on the companies originally from business directories, such as the “Yellow Pages” and integrated it into its Maps service.
Since Google’s Venice update in 2012, regional search results from Google Maps are displayed in the SERPs. Google intended to strengthen the search results relevance with this addition, especially in suspected regional relevance of searches. Companies can be referenced in the search results on Google even if they do not have their own website and get an opportunity to present themselves.
Google Street View was an additional service to Google Maps introduced in 2007, which was also integrated into Google Earth. Users can view a 360° panorama of a road or location in selected countries and cities. Photos for this purpose, are taken through a specially designed Google camera car. This technique was criticized in many countries since many people believe it infringes upon their privacy.
Ever since the integration of results from the database of Google Maps in the SERPs, this map service has become of interest to SEOs. In this way, it is possible that a regionally operating company is very prominently displayed in the results without it ranking high with its homepage directly for a generic term.
Besides the maintenance of the database of business listings, user reviews from Google Plus Local are important tools to strengthen both the ranking and attractiveness of the company entry in the SERPs. Therefore, it should be part of a regional SEO strategy to invite customer reviews of their company on Google Plus.