This one ought to be obvious, but it often isn’t. Google Maps should be an integral part of any local website you care to build. And while the most obvious use of the site is to simply tell people where you happen to be located, there are so many other things that you can do with it that you really need to make sure to make full use of it.
The Obvious — Location
Okay, let’s start with the obvious – you can use Google Maps to let people know exactly where your local business is located. This means that customers who have never been to your place but who happened to have found you on Google Places or through a web search can easily find your business and become your customers.
By the way while you could set up a map on your own, one has to ask why you would want to do so. After all, if you think about it, Google Maps makes it easy for you to embed the map and they don’t stuff your site with advertising so there is little reason to try doing it on your own. Not to mention that you can add a lot of things to your Google Map.
Another great thing that can help you build your local website is the fact that Google Maps lets you easily add landmarks to your map. This is especially useful for those running a hotel website since people can see just how far your establishment is from the major tourist attractions in town. It’s also helpful for letting people find you since they can find the landmarks you mention on the map.
You can also choose which landmarks to include on your embedded map and they don’t have to be major landmarks either. For example, you could include things like a shopping center as a landmark if that will help your customers find you.
Speaking of landmarks, as I said, your landmarks don’t have to be only major ones. However, beyond that, you can also include as a “landmark” things like public transportation sites so that you can tell customers without a car how to get to you by bus, subway or tram.
By the way, as a New Yorker, I can tell you that I only wish more local websites did exactly that. Many do take the time to tell you which subways go to them, however few take the time to show you on the map where the subway stop is and how to get there. Doing this would be something unusual and easy as well as something that can give you a leg up on competitors.
Finally, you can include an embedded option with Google Maps to offer directions to your establishment from any address on the planet. You simply include that option when you embed the map on your site and voila, no more phone calls asking for directions. They simply find it on Google Maps.