My question is to travel agents/providers and also to bloggers and content creators.
Do you embed maps on your website?And if you have not implemented maps on your website, what's the reason for that?
Thanks for your replies! Dario
Yes, I have been making maps lately. I've seen zero effect in terms of SEO benefit and zero effect in terms of negative effect in terms of page load speed. I can only assume readers find them useful, not a scrap of feedback! I need to give them a month or two more to bed in I think before I look at the data. If you mean Stay22 maps - they're useless. Example here Alyson @ World Travel Family worldtravelfamily.com/places-to-visit-in-bangkok/#Places_To_Visit_in_Bangkok_Map
Hey Alyson, thanks for the answer. What didn't you like about Stay22? :)
I love Stay22, just the maps don't convert.
I do. And so far I’ve never had any negative feedback on that. Only positive.
Hey Kirsten, what has been the positive feedback like? Does it really benefit your audience?
Feedback has been that yes it's helpful and while basic with minimal customization - it aids them in planning travel and when they are traveling. Making them worth my time to make, and embed in my blog posts.
Hey Dario, this discussion thread might be relevant to your question:
• Over 2500 members of Travel Massive use Google Maps on their website or blog.• Over 300 members use Mapbox on their website.
fwiw, I feel that embedding Google Maps has become more complex for website owners in recent times with the requirement of needing a Google Cloud account, providing a payment method, and enabling the right API options, etc. For most blog owners, this is either too overwhelming and/or complicated to simply place a map on a page. Some people just work around this with screenshots.
I also see a number of non-responsive (or partially broken) Google Map iframe embeds out there... putting a map on your website is one thing, but making it work nicely on mobile is another. Again, I think a lot of bloggers probably give up at this point without technical know-how.
Thanks, Ian! Yes, I've read this thread, I'm looking for feedback into what impact and value embedding maps gives to those who do :). Thanks for the feedback!!
It's a great question to ask (thanks for asking it!). I hope we can get some interesting insights from members about the WHY of using maps on their website.
@ian - I don't understand the part about why Google Maps is complicated – Is there another way to embed maps than just to create the map on Google My Maps and embed it with a simple link? I find it super easy (no cloud, no payment, no API options, etc.). And if so - what is the difference / benefits of the more complicated way?
My understanding is that if you want to customise your map and provide additional interaction and styling, you can't use Google My Maps. This product is ancient (over a decade old) and looks quite dated, imo. As soon as you need to use the Google Maps SDK (Software Developer Kit) you gotta pay for it.
Nor me, but now I'm wondering if My Maps are actually working for people who aren't me or my team.
Yeah use Mapbox on both my main sites, though on the bigger one mostly only serve to logged in users. Also use Mapbox for static maps for PDF embeds on the same site. Beneficial? Hard to say, sometimes makes stuff easier I guess—but honestly, often a deep link straight to Apple/Google maps more useful from a user’s point of view.
Wouldn't linking to Google or Apple draw users away as they are leaving your website to go to those apps? What about linking to information straight from the map?
Yes, that’s why I said from a user’s POV. If they’re already maintaining a collection of POIs in their mapping app giving them an easy way to add to that is the best result for them. From the maps yes we already link to the relevant page for that poi, but on every page we have a deep link to Apple/Google maps for the above reason—makes collection easier for users.
Stuart is bang on here. As a user, I want to click a link location in a blog and open in my own map app. But as a website owner, that means saying goodbye to a visitor and the loss of a potential conversion (to an affiliate link).
On that note, it's annoying being "locked" in to a map on a website and having to manually find it on Google maps when doing your own research (as Maria pointed out). Trust factor for me goes WAY up if I can click an external map link.
Also bear in mind that Google maps is not the universal #1 maps app in the world. In other countries, for example Central Asia, Google maps is terrible at directions and Yandex and 2GIS are used by everyone instead.
Great insights Ian, thanks for that! So I think that's a huge question how do you give freedom to users and not lose the possible income from affiliates or booking directly with you? What can you offers to keep him "loyal" to you?
I've used Google My Maps to create maps for several blog articles on my website. Haven't heard any feedback so far from readers so no idea. I only put them because I think it's useful to see the where the places mentioned inside are to get a quicker idea about the locations.
The reason I add them:Many times, when I research a destination and read articles, I have google maps open on another tab and check where all the places I like are. That way, I have an idea if it's easily accessible for me in terms of my accommodation, transport connections, how far they are from one another, etc. That way I can plan which places to see in one go, and which can be combined in another day out.
I use Google My Maps because it's super easy to create a map, and everyone knows how to use it, I already have a google account to go with it.
Hey Maria thanks for your answer! How much would you say it takes you to create a map?
This one on the blog post - only has less than 10 locations. So I would say ~10 minutes (+embedding)
I do. On my site about world heritage sites, I use Interactive Geo Maps Pro plug-in to include a map for every country showing all the UNESCO sites in that country, with each marker hyperlinked to the relevant article (at least for the ones that have been written so far). On my general travel site, I embed google maps when I'm talking about a number of different places in one article. And sometimes I add a Stay22 map for finding hotels. I have no idea any of this helps SEO, but I think it helps readers.
Hey Rachel, interesting a lot of different tools. How long would you say it takes you to create a map?
Depends how many sites that country has. It's not hard, though, once you get the hang of it. I added (or my son added - he made a bunch of the maps for me) all of the UNESCO sites in the country, not live links, just markers. Then, as I add each article, I go back to the map, change its color and make it a hyperlink to the article. It's only a pain for the multi-site UNESCO sites, like the new one that was just added that includes 138 WWI memorial sites. For sites like that, I might make a separate map, either with Geo Maps or with Google, to help people find where they all are.
Hey Rachel, how do you decide when to use Google and when to use the plugin?
If I think a person might want to drive from one to the next, I'll put a Google map in. As far as I can figure out, the plug-in doesn't have routes on it, so I use those just to give readers an overall view.
I am not running a blog but from a reader perspective, most maps offer limited functionalities with the most commonly used being the old personalised "Google My Maps".
I visited the blog pages shared in the other comments which include those embedded maps and if I'm not mistaken, you can not add those points of interests to your own Google Maps unless you request access to it. This means those maps do not integrate well in the search / planning process of travelers. It seems useful when travelers read the website to get a view on how far the places mentioned are from one another and get a quick understanding of what places can be visited in one go. But once users leave the website, they have to retrieve those places on their own Google map.
Besides, the map and the text in blog articles do not interact together. If I read about a place in a blog article, I ideally want:- to be able to click on this place to get more information on it (without having to open an additional tab)- to see where this place is located at the same time on an interactive map- potentially be able to book a ticket or just be redirected to the official website
Hey Benoit, thanks for your answer. A very interesting takeaway from this conversation is the need for the content owners to allow readers to take the recommendations with them to their favorite mapping tool.
It's a gentle mix I guess between monetizing them and providing information.
Btw if you mentioned that you would like to see text and map interact together, we are doing just that at Textomap, you're welcome to check it out!
First of all, I love maps. O.K., that banality is out of the way.
I have frequently embedded maps on my two websites, findingfoodfluency.com and noworkalltravel.com, but have run into a couple of problems in the process.
1) As an example, I can read a bunch of languages. In this case, Chinese is the elephant in the room. Why? China doesn't take kindly to google.
To be blunt, I can embed a map for, say, a recommended restaurant or attraction on the mainland, but Baidu -- China's google? -- has 100% better maps. But they're in Chinese. Doesn't help the sheer majority of readers on my pages. And sometimes, the google maps result for a given restaurant/attraction is only in Chinese anyway.
Basically, I really want to try to help readers/travelers get to these places, but google is absolutely inferior while over there. That's where Baidu comes in ... to the rescue of nearly nobody.
2) I'm going to bring up maps.me, which is tangential to your question, but nevertheless germane.
I used to do the maps.me thing all of the time. Download local maps before traveling, then not worry about mobile phone data/wi-fi. (Yes, I know google maps also has offline maps available, but I've had worse luck with them; not to mention, I couldn't download an offline map of parts of Tokyo earlier this year).
Then, for whatever reason, an app updated nerfed maps.me. It's a punching bag now, a mere shell of its erstwhile glory days. Too many gratuitous options were added, the search bar is screwed up, and every now and then, directions it has given me have led to a fence or a drainage ditch. Obviously, the maps aren't updating in real time, but a lot of those fences appeared to have been around for quite a while.
But, the single-biggest complaint I have with maps.me is nomenclature. Example -- my imaginary hotel is called "Jonathan's Hotel of Ice." Let's say you stay at my place, and had a good stay. Then, you decide to edit maps.me to include my property; except, you call it "Jonathan's Ice Hotel."
Are you wrong? No. But if I want to (re)discover my property on the app, it may not find "Jonathan's Hotel of Ice." Some one may have even written it in another language. Maps.me manifests a bunch of Antalya travel agencies in Russian only, and some restaurants in Bali are only in Chinese. My app interface is English, so what's the deal? And there's the issue with user-edited content.
Anyway, curious to see how your company rolls out cartographs.
Thanks for the input, Jonathan!
I do but it's always tricky. When not deeply integrated, the embed map is usually "forcing" the visitor open the map in a new tab = the visitor leaves your site. Also, these embed maps are usually not very user friendly on mobile. I like using nocode map tools like Felt and Flourish (both used on my side project www.hoodpicker.com) where embedding is ok but not great.
FWIW - lots of our Thatch creators embed their Thatch maps on their sites - they're cleaner looking than Google Maps, and they have built-in hotel commissions for any hotels mentioned. Here's a good example (mazepatravel.com/resources/ - scroll to bottom of the page).
It's free to set up a Thatch account, and the embed code is accessible for any Thatch map/guide you make. You can also import your existing google mymaps for easy conversion!
Hi there, jumping on this discussion a little late in the game, but what we've found from our experience that destination pros that want to use maps on their website have to go through hoops to add them: Either have to be very tech savvy, or hire a developer to add one and integrate it with their content management system - for example. I am not talking about simple maps, for showcasing HQ or a few places etc, but for travel maps that include their destination locations and enables easy search queries.
I see some of our findings confirmed here. And some are using a multitude of solutions depending on the country the places need to be mapped in.
That is why we at mapyour.city have done the hard work for you and made creating a map super simple and adding it to your website even simpler. Our professional map feature is included in a broader destination marketing platform for place professionals. You might find this interesting to read: mapyour.city/the-best-destination-marketing-tools-and-4-things-to-look-for/
I absolutely like your text to map solution Dario! Keep u the good work. I guess we also have to add your solution to our list.
Actually I did it because it looks better in the practical part of the post. But then I realized that it can slow down the loading of the page...
Hey Kuba, what tool did you use?
mapy.cz - Czech maps (in other countries also known as Windy maps)
Yes! Our blog readers seem to think its helpful :)
Yes, it's very convenient to see different listings on the map
I embed Google Maps as well. People seem to appreciate it.
Usually not because they can use too much bandwidth and make the websites slower. They must use scripts to load and they are shown in the results of Google Page Speed result.A link to the map with precise coordinates would be much better and has the same effect.