How to Insert a Static Google Map on a WordPress Website
One of the most asked questions by new WordPress website owners is, “How do I insert a static Google map on my website?” It doesn’t matter if you are using WP E-commerce, a non-profit organization, or just want to create a general page with a map on it, knowing how to do this is pretty essential.
Fortunately, having a static Google map on a WordPress website is quite easy to do. In this article, we’ll run down the steps to get you started.
The Advantages Of A Static Google Map
WordPress websites can have a lot of advantages when it comes to displaying maps and other graphical data. Because the site is completely static, this means that all of the content is essentially “baked in” to the website itself, instead of having to be loaded in by the user (as is the case with most websites). This makes for much faster load times and less chance of errors due to a connection dropping below a certain threshold (this can cause errors and glitches like a map that won’t load or display correctly).
Additionally, because the Google map is completely “static”, meaning it will remain even if the user has not yet visited that part of the website, it creates a much better user experience for everyone involved (the user and the website owner). Once the user visits the particular part of the website that has the map on it, they will see it and know exactly what it is they are looking at (instead of having to guess or search for the location of the thing on the maps app on their phone).
Further still, because the Google map is completely static, if the user clicks on a particular area on the map (typically a city or town), the results from that area will immediately appear in the sidebar of the blog post or web page (as an example, if you click on Atlanta, GA in the above map, then all of the blog posts and web content related to that city and area will appear in the sidebar of the site). This has obvious advantages for SEO purposes (which we will discuss below).
Step 1: Select The Best Location To Place The Map
The first thing you need to do is find the best location to place the map on your site. Now is a good time to remind you that the user will be landing on your site already having read the blog post or other content that has a map in it, so you want to pick a location that is relevant and interesting to them. (This will affect how they perceive your website and the content on it, so make sure that your selection is relevant and interesting to the vast majority of your site’s visitors.)
Choosing an inappropriate location for a map can lead to users getting confused or lost while trying to access the information you are providing. For example, if you are trying to provide information on a museum and select the location as the entrance, then the user will most likely have a hard time finding what they are looking for. This is why it is important to choose a relevant location that will serve the user well.
Step 2: Create A Google Map Keyword List
The next step is to create a list of the keywords that you think would be relevant to users searching for information about the location you have selected.
You can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner to easily find the frequency of each word in relation to the total number of searches performed on Google (typically using the Chrome extension).
An easy way to find the right keywords without having to enter any text into the Google Keyword Planner is to simply type the name of the location that you have chosen followed by the word “keyword,” pressing the Tab key on your keyboard to enter it in the search bar. (This will bring up a list of all the possible keywords you can use to find information about your location.)
If you have already created a page on your site about your chosen location (city or town), you can use that page as a starting point for your keyword research. Alternately, you can use the WordPress built-in search bar on your site’s homepage to search for any relevant keywords and find the page where they appear the most often.
Step 3: Create A Description For The Map
Next, you need to create a short description for the map. Again, we want to make sure that this is something that is interesting and relevant to the user when they arrive at your site. (This description will appear in a small box at the top of the page, immediately below the H1 tag.)
To create a good description, first write down everything you can think of that would make the user want to click on the link to your site (or alternatively, read the blog post). Next, take some time and organize your thoughts into a coherent list. Finally, read your list aloud and make sure that it sounds natural.
This three-step process will help you find the right keywords, and create a better user experience for your site’s users. So, with our example below, if we wanted to write a blog post on the best places to eat in Atlanta, GA, we would do the following:
Step 1: Create a list of everything you can think of that would make the user want to click on the link to your site.
First, we would start with a short description of what the post is going to be about:
- What is the best place to eat in Atlanta?
- Keywords: food, restaurants, cafes, etc.
We can see that this question is pretty open-ended (there are literally hundreds of restaurants in and around Atlanta), so we are going to need to do some research before we can come up with a decent list of answers.
To do this, we can use an online tool like Google’s Keyword Planner to find the words and phrases that people are using to search for information about Atlanta.
Step 2: Create a list of the top 5–10 keywords based on your first list.
After we have our short list of keywords, we can rerun our search with those words or phrases, ensuring that we only get articles that are relevant to our needs.
In our example above, we entered the name of the city followed by the word “keyword” and hit the Tab key on our keyboard to get a list of keywords. We can then use our short list of keywords to search for more information.
If we look at the first few results from our search, we can see that the majority of the articles are irrelevant to what we are looking for. (In fact, some of them are listed below as examples of what not to do.)
However, if we click on the first few links on our results page (our search results page is typically filled with hundreds of articles), we will see a map and a list of places that we can click to find more information.
From here, we can see that there are various locations around Atlanta that are worthy of investigation, some of which are quite far from one another. The best way to discover the most popular restaurant locations in Atlanta is to use the Google Keyword Planner to enter the name of the city followed by the word “restaurant,” and see a map of all the places that show up in the search results. (Try it out, you’ll see how easy it is to use.)
This is because search engines like Google use a combination of mathematical algorithms and human analysis to come up with results that are relevant to what the user is searching for. (For more on SEO, I would recommend checking out the digital marketing guide for entrepreneurs, the Google SEO Guide.)
Step 3: Use The Keywords You Found In Step two To Build Your Blog Post
Now that we have our short list of keywords, we can use these in our blog post. (Remember, the purpose of this step is to attract potential visitors to our site with relevant content.)
To do this, we simply look for the keywords that we have used in our list and incorporate them into our post wherever possible. For example, if we are discussing restaurants in Atlanta, we would want to make sure that our blog post contains the words “Atlanta” and “restaurant” at least once in each paragraph or section of the post. This will help the search engines and human visitors understand what we are writing about. (If someone is searching for information on the best restaurants in Atlanta, they will hopefully land on our site and discover everything we have to offer.)