Google offers a free Store Locator solution called “Locator Plus“. The idea? Allow some companies to integrate a map to their website to facilitate the localisation of the points of sale.
The intention is admirable, but Locator Plus quickly shows some limitations. We detail them here by giving our opinion on Google Store Locator.
How does it work?
In concrete terms, the objective of the tool is to help Internet users find your points of sale more easily. Locator Plus takes the form of a Google Maps map that lists a company’s points of sale.
They are pinned on the map and listed with the corresponding address next to them. There is also a search bar to find a store using a postal code for example.
Locator Plus, Google Store Locator.
Google offers this service for free, but it requires real implementation work. Adding Locator Plus to your website is quite arduous and technical. You have to integrate a code and follow a procedure that is not always clear. This may already have a chilling effect on some people.
A lack of SEO optimisation
The technical aspect of the Store Locator is key, especially its SEO. This is what allows it to express its full potential by bringing up your store pages in the search results. Your Store Locator then becomes a real growth driver for web-to-store traffic.
However, Locator Plus is not at all optimized for SEO. This is its main weakness: it does not integrate most of the essential features to be well positioned in the search results.
Here are some examples of elements that are missing. For more information, you can also read our article dedicated to the Store Locator.
No page for each point of sale
An optimised Store Locator includes a page dedicated to each store, with SEO content designed to provide detailed information about each point of sale (hours, phone number, address, services offered…).
This is not the case with Locator Plus. Google Store Locator has only one page (the one with the map). So there is very little content per store, which is very bad for SEO, in addition to having knock-on effects.
No internal networking
Without content, it is difficult to make relevant links between your Store Locator and other key pages on your website. Too bad, this is what allows your local pages to acheive SEO.
No personalized and dynamic URLs for your points of sale
In an optimized Store Locator, they contain geographical information about each store. This is very important for SEO since these indications are taken into account by Google robots.
Another disadvantage of Locator Plus. Especially since it does not integrate micro and metadata, namely schema.org tags and breadcrumbs.
No dedicated URL for the Store Locator
Google Store Locator will not then appear directly in the search results. Only users who visit your website first will be able to use it, which limits its impact.
A basic solution
Locator Plus is not a solution for a network of points of sale. Google Store Locator is more for businesses with limited resources. It is functional, but very basic. The results will be limited and you should not expect to use it as a web-to-store traffic driver.
In addition, it is not possible to customize the design and content displayed. Parameters to take into account for your brand image.
Do you want an optimized Store Locator to become one of the pillars of your online visibility strategy? Locator Plus is not the ideal solution. If your expectations are much more modest, it could do the trick.