Improving Google Map Links With Google Place IDs

Linking to a business' Google Profile from your website

November 18, 2020

Fleet Feet, a national running shoe and apparel retailer (and our client), has over 180 physical locations throughout the United States. Each one is listed on the locations page that we’ve created for their website, along with their address and a link to Google Maps.

One challenge we’ve run into in instances like this where we are linking out to business locations on Google Maps is that we want the user to end up with the same experience they’d get if they were actually searching for that business on Google Maps itself. That is, we want the user to see Fleet Feet’s great reviews, their store hours, and the other information Fleet Feet has added to the Google business profile for that particular location.

Previously we'd simply created a Google Maps link with the address in a search parameter:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q={address here}

When a user clicked on that link, they were taken to a map that looked like this:

The result was technically accurate, but doesn’t really offer the user anything other than the ability to navigate to that location if they’d like. Thankfully, Google has an easy solution for creating Google Maps links that open up to a specific business or place profile: Place IDs.

What Are Google Place IDs?

A Google Place ID is exactly what it sounds like: a unique ID for a particular point of interest on a map. This can apply to businesses, landmarks, or anything else that you find on Google Maps that you can interact with as a unique location. In Google Maps language, these locations are called Places.

Google has an entire Places API, but for our purposes, we're only interested in the Place IDs. 

How to Create Google Maps Place ID Link

First, find the ID of the place you’d like to link to using Google’s Place ID finder. Next, add that place id to a specially formatted Google Maps link:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/?q=place_id:{your place id}

Now when a user clicks on the Google maps link for a Fleet Feet location, they’ll get the full business entity listing with all of the relevant calls to action, reviews, and other data:

Unlike most pieces of data in Google Maps, Place IDs are exempt from caching restrictions and can be stored and used later in your website or application. We include a field on the location content type in the fleetfeet.com CMS for the Google Place ID, along with some instructions on where to find it.

This works on mobile as well as desktop, so the next time you’re building out a Google Maps link, consider including support for Google Place IDs for a better user experience.

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