The Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) is one of the most useful tools developed by the tech giant. Webmasters can embed a portion of Google Maps into business websites so that potential clients can easily find their headquarters or store.
Very soon business owners understood the value of pinning their location on Google Maps and displaying it on their websites. As local SEO became increasingly important for finding new clients, the number of GEO landing pages exploded.
Is the Google Maps API Still Relevant for SEO?
Google has not remained unresponsive to the overuse of the Google Maps API. There were instances when one company would generate hundreds of GEO landing pages and add the Google Maps with the pinned location. Thus, they were trying to snatch the first positions in local search rankings for as many important locations as possible.
As a result, Google started charging for their API in 2018. Businesses need to set up a billing account, generate their API Key and embed it into their website. They receive US $200 credit per month from Google for using the API. However, once it is consumed, website owners are charged with US $0.50 per 1000 page loads.
This led to a myth: that Google Maps API is actually bad for SEO. Abusing it will lead to high costs for the company, because they have to pay for each GEO landing page.
What Is the Truth about the Use of Google Maps API?
Having Google Maps API embedded on your Contact page is one of the best practices for local SEO. When you list your business on Google Maps and create a Google My Business listing, you offer the search engine a way to match a user’s location with yours.
Once you verify your business listing with Google, you will see an increase of relevant traffic on your website. Relevant traffic means potential customers who live in your local area and, thus, are likely to book an appointment or walk into your store.
How to Set Up the Google API on Your Website
1. Access the Google Maps Platform
Let’s start from the beginning – creating your Google Maps account. First of all, you must enable the Google Maps Platform by selecting Maps, Routes and Places.
Next, you have to create a project. This is how you can generate the API Key and, in the future, enable new locations. You will have to name your project and then click Next.
2. Create Your Billing Account
This step is quite straightforward. You will have to fill in the required information so that Google can grant you the monthly US $200 credit and bill you if you exceed it. Please note that you need to create the billing account for your business, and thus you should enter the number of your business credit card.
3. Generate Your API Key
Once you’ve set up the Billing Account, the Google Maps API key may be generated automatically. If this does not happen, you should go to the APIs & Manager sidebar and click on Credentials.
Next, click on Create Credentials and select API Key from the drop down menu. Your Google Maps API key will be generated. Copy it to the clipboard (press Control +C keys on a PC computer or Command +C keys on a Mac computer).
4. Add the Google Maps API Key to Your Website
Finally, give your developer the API key and they will embed it into your site. The Google Maps section showing your location will appear on the front end as soon as this procedure is completed.
We want to remind you once again that having the Google Maps API on your website is good for SEO rankings. However, you should limit it to one location and place it on the Contact page, where your customers are most likely to look for a map and for directions.
Otherwise, do not “flood” Google with a range of GEO landing pages with Google Maps in an attempt to rank higher for several locations. This will hurt your rankings and also cost you money.