As of June 2018, Google maps using API keys changed from free to a pay-as-you-go billing system. Meaning, if you want to keep utilizing their interactive maps on your website, you’ll need to provide them your credit card information in your Google account.
The free tier that Google offers allows up to 28,000 map loads per month for these dynamic maps and Google offers a $200 (Google) credit to your account. If you’re getting over 28k loads, Google has a detailed pricing plan that they offer here.
So, who is this affecting? Well, almost EVERYONE! There are over 4.5 million websites that use Google Maps*. Tons of eCommerce sites are the first to be affected since most use the Geolocaton tool from Google.
There is a way to use a basic Google map for free but there is no customization and it only allows for a single pin point. You can embed the Google map and share a business, address or directional search. If this makes your head explode, try some of the Google map alternatives like MapBox or Open Street Map.
The price for dumping Google Maps goes up a little when you factor in SEO. Having a google map linked from your Google My Business page is what’s best for your SEO. With that being said, whether you decide to stay with Google or kick them to the curb, our advice is to keep a map on your website.
It helps your customers, it’s user-friendly, and it’s good business.