A common challenge when getting on board with MetaLocator is the proper collection and formatting of location data. The import process and the Data Quality Dashboard will warn of any issues found in incoming data, but it is best to know what the system is looking for, so the process goes as smoothly as possible.
The objective of this article is to create a spreadsheet that includes the required columns with name, address and supporting location data properly formatted. This spreadsheet can then be imported directly into MetaLocator.
Our example spreadsheet can be downloaded here.
Important columns in this file are as follows:
- Name: This is the only required field in MetaLocator, as it provides something for users to click on to retrieve details regarding the location. The name field should be plain text, and include the full written name of the location, such as "Wal Mart", or "John's Tire Store LTD".
- Description: Description is a multi-purpose field that can accept HTML formatting and is commonly used to display detailed, long format copy regarding the location. More information on the description field can be found here.
- Address: The address field is arguably the most important field in MetaLocator. It should contain the geographic street address of the location. It should not include non-geographic elements like Suite or Apt numbers.
- Address2: This field can contain any non-geographic address components like Plaza names, suite numbers, etc. This field is not used in geocoding.
- City: The city field should include the full city name, without the state. E.g. "Milwaukee"
- State: The state field should include the full or abbreviated state or province name. E.g. "Wisconsin" or "WI". Whichever method you choose, be sure to be consistent. We recommend using the two-letter variation.
- PostalCode: The postal code field should include the full postal code. If the postal code begins with zero, make sure that your spreadsheet formatting does not remove the zero as the first digit. E.g. BG1 1QR or 80205
- Country: The country field should include the full Country name. E.g. "United States". It's important to provide a country in a consistent format. Don't write U.S.A. in one row and United States in another.
- Lat/Lng: MetaLocator will provide this data based on the addresses included in your spreadsheet.
- Link: If you have a location-specific link, provide the URL in this column.
- Email: This email can be location-specific, or it can be the same email for each record. Providing an email for each location will activate the Lead system, allowing you to collect leads through MetaLocator.
- TLD: This field is critical to geocoding, and should contain a two-letter value for each row. More information on the TLD can be found here.
- Category1, Category2, etc. These fields can contain categories, which will be automatically created upon import. Categories are a great way to allow your users to sort and filter your data. Do not skip tag numbers in your file. E.g. if your columns are Category1, Category2, Category6. Category6 will not be imported. MetaLocator will look for Category3, not find it, and stop the tag import for that row.
This article covered the most important fields within MetaLocator, though there are many others. With the above fields correct, you can avoid the most common pitfalls getting started with MetaLocator. Of course, if you have additional questions, please do reach out to the help desk.