Since I started doing social media posts about Google Business View a few months ago, I am now charged with posting Google Maps links on a regular basis and I’ve noticed that there’s a certain irony in the fact that Google themselves seem to be a bit rubbish about their metadata.
Metadata is information in the code of a website which helps search engines to associate the page with relevant topics or search queries. For example, in the following, the “title” would obviously be “Google Maps”, and the description would be “Zoomable maps focused on…”.
When you post a link to a website like Facebook, it will use the metadata provided by the site you want to share to provide a title, a description, and an image if necessary. Often you’ll find that sharing gets different results depending on the website you’re sharing, this is because the inforation that is included in your “share” is entirely reliant on the website you’re sharing.
In the case of Google Maps, I find it interesting that the biggest search engine on the planet (currently) doesn’t do metadata particularly well in their maps.
The following is from a Business View tour:
What used to happen in ye olde days (as in, about a year ago, before they obviously changed something) – you’d get the title of the location, their address, and a little image of the map with the marker (which was never ideal but it was a start). Now, it shows the title as “Google Maps”, the description as “Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.” (if you’re lucky – sometimes, it just displays absolute gobledegook) and there’s no image.
Obviously, in the main social networks, there are ways to fix what’s been interpreted – Facebook gives you the option to click on various parts of the share item and edit the text etc. but it’d be really nice if Google would sort this out.
Maybe this is a mistake on Google’s part and they’ve just not noticed, or maybe it is to keep a claim on Google Maps results and make it slightly more difficult for other search engines to find these results – who knows?