Google Store Locator Plus launched
Google has announced it is rolling out a new Google Store Locator. This “web widget” is hosted on Google Cloud and uses the Google Maps platform to create a classical store locator. This store locator directly takes input from your Google Business Profiles account, you can connect a location group to a specific store locator or individually select stores to be taken in.
Updates that happen in Google Business Profile will automatically be featured in your store locator. That is great but also poses some threats as Google is known to occasionally mismanage ownership of business listings or as competitors attempt to change your listing. We advise customers that are implementing this solution to keep at least two pair of eyes on proposed changes or “Google Updates”.
Set up Google Store Locator
We have an example of the Google Store Locator live here.
The setup is relatively simple, using an embedded code to display the widget. In this way it functions very similar to what other paid for solutions do. In terms of features Google is lagging behind, but this is the first version. Who knows what is coming next. Seeing posts associated with the listing? Or filtering for services offered at the locations?
There are some nice visuals here. Reach out if you have any doubt whether this could be a good solution for you. We are more than happy to set this up for testing.
Very limited Google Cloud platform knowledge is required to create this embedding. A Google Cloud platform project is needed in order to generate the Locator Plus embedding. After setting up a project you can enter Google Maps Platform. From “Solution Library” you can select to explore the “Locator Plus” solution.
This will lead you to a simple three step process for creating the location map embedding. The first step is to pick a design depending on what functionality you want.
The second step will allow you to export Google Business Profile Locations directly into your Store Locator.
In the third and final step you can then choose where to export the code for embedding. If you want to conveniently embed the map as a web widget in a iframe<> you should go for the “Export code to Google Cloud Storage” option
After those three steps a popup screen will appear for confirming the setup. Here you can define a name and select the API key. This API key is used as authentication for embedding the map. If you choose “Generated Maps API Key” this key will not be restricted and potentially open for unauthorised use.
For more information about API keys best practices refer to this link.
Embedding on webpage
To add the widget to any webpage you have to insert iframe<> code based on steps described previously. Here is an example of how we did it on our WordPress website.
Google Store Locator Analytics
After the Google Store Locator Plus has been set up you will get access to the Analytics section. This allows you to measure the most important things around the use of the Store Locator. This report consists of two parts. The most important insights can be found under the “locator engagement” tab:
The “engagement rate” is then further explained via a “views metric”, the number of impressions on the Store Locator, and the “interactions”. At the moment, this seems to mainly consist of the number of times your address is viewed, you are called, a navigation request is launched or when an appointment is scheduled (all via the store locator). It would be nice to have insight into that, but this is of course nothing new.
What is rather unique is the “benchmark” that tells you how your Store Locator compares to other Store Locators out there. If you do not want to share that data, you can turn it off, but you will also lose your insights. Similar to the benchmark reports in Universal Analytics.
Furthermore, Google also provides a fairly standard report on the different API requests that are sent via the Store Locator. You will find this API request in your Google Cloud billing account at the end of the month.
GMBapi.com is a specialist in the field of Local Search and manages Google business profiles for several major players at home and abroad. Please contact us if you are interested in testing.