I’m excited about the latest project I just finished up for Pink Cake Box. The idea for the project came from Matt McGee’s Small Business Search Engine Marketing blog. (Sidenote: Matt’s blog has some of the most actionable advice for small businesses – check his small business marketing section for great SMB advice.)
The idea is to use Google Maps as a vehicle for displaying one’s product. On Matt’s blog he originally profiled a lawn care company in PA who implemented the idea for their lawn care customers. Matt followed that post up with another implementation by a florist in Anaheim CA.
I figured this would be a great idea for our cake company. It could help visually depict our delivery radius and also help us showcase some of our cakes/cupcakes. I explored following the traditional user-created content approach for google maps (called Google My Maps) but that meant manually maintaining data that is already available on our website.
So I took another route – I created a wordpress plugin that automatically pulls data from our existing blog posts. I setup two custom fields for every post – “Lat/Lng” and “Venue”.
If the “Lat/Lng” field is populated, the plugin will automatically extract additional information from the post and display it on the map based on the latitude and longtitude coordinates:
We even placed a marking in Denver, CO for a cake we created while taping for the Food Network Cake Challenge. And I expect to create another marker in California for another televised cake challenge as soon as we are contractually allowed to talk about it ;) Also, I added functionality to link directly to items on the map using the post id. So for example, this link will take you directly to the Food Network cake in Denver.
The one downside of this approach is we don’t get the SEO benefits of using Google My Maps. Google My Maps can show up in Google Map search results. But the advantage of having this tightly integrated with our blog is a great timesaver and outweighs the cons of not having the map show up in google map search results.