What Do All the Different Markers Mean in Google Maps?

Ever wondered why sometimes Google shows you blue or purple markers in the Google Maps results rather than the standard red markers you’re used to seeing?

Wonder no more, as here is your brief rundown of all the different markers. This post is by necessity image heavy, so if you’re a fan of screenshots then you’re in luck! If you’re using mobile data, then I apologise. The majority of this post deals with the local results that appear directly in Google’s main search results, like those highlighted in the image below.

storage in washington

And not the search results that you get when you perform your search in Google Maps or in the Google Maps app.

If you’re wondering how to get your storage company in these results check out our storage marketing ideas.

Red Letter Pins

ABC pins in Leeds

These are by far the most common pins for storage companies, and chances are if you google ‘storage {your location}’ these are the pins you will see. The company name doesn’t appear in the map view, instead you have letters to tell you which location is which.


Red Square Pins

red square pins in oklahoma

These types of pins are much less common for storage companies unless they are accompanied by a blue marker, mentioned later. In this type, the company name does appear on the map view. If there is a reason why sometimes Google chooses letters and other times squares, it isn’t known by anyone outside of Google.

Considering that for the same searches Google will sometimes show letters and sometimes squares, the reason is most likely that Google are running tests to see which is most likely to lead people to click.


Red Icons

Google hasn’t yet created an icon for storage companies, however, they appear for many other things such as tourist attractions, restaurants, shops, museums etc. Sometimes these icons are letters for example H for hospital or P for parking. In the image below you can see both the hospital icon and the tourist attraction icon.


hospitals and attractions icons

Blue Square

This is the newest and most mysterious of the markers. When it appears, there will only be one of them, no matter how many red squares appear at the same time. This seems to be Google’s way of saying “I think this is the result you are looking for”.

Often this will appear when a company has the same / a very similar name to the search query. Like in this search for ‘manchester self storage uk’ that shows Manchester Self Storage as the blue pin (the uk was added to stop it displaying Manchester, New Hampshire).

Manchester blue pin

Or this search for ‘cardiff self storage’ which shows Cardiff Self Storage as the blue pin.

Cardiff blue pin

So it seems that Google shows this blue pin when it thinks you are searching for a specific company, but might also be performing a more general search.


Liverpool blue pin

And on top of this, the blue square doesn’t always have to appear in the three listings under the map. It can sometimes only appear in the map view.

As this is a new pin it might be that Google hasn’t yet figured out all the times it should or shouldn’t appear. So we’ll end on something more understandable…


Purple Square

Another recent addition, these are the markers that appear for paid adverts, you can find out more about them here.

These markers only appear if you start your search in Google Maps or the Google Maps app.

Advertisers get two highlighted areas, first in the list view on the left an advertiser will appear at the top with a purple ‘Ad’ label. And secondly, the advertiser will appear as a purple marker in the map view.


Chester purple pins

Which is all well and good for people who search in Google Maps, but what about people who search in Google and then click on the maps section?

They don’t get any nice purple pins 🙁

If you click the local pack from the search results then you’ll see green ‘Ad’ labels in the list view and no special highlighted marker for your company.

In fact, as you can see in the screenshot below, there will often be no marker at all for your company, which seems to be a fairly common bug in the searches I’ve done.

storage in london maps

That’s all the relevant pins that Google has at the moment, though as we can see with the blue and purple markers, Google is testing new ones all the time. Maybe sometime soon storage will have its own dedicated marker.

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