Will Your Business Show Up On Apple Maps?
With the launch of iOS 6, Apple replaced Google Maps on its iDevices with a mapping product of its own. The Apple Maps product has gotten some very weak early reviews, but it seems more likely that Apple will work to fix the issues rather than go back to Google. And this has implications for small business owners.
The new operating system includes a number of features that have generated a great amount of buzz (and sales of the new iPhone 5). Beyond the cool bells and whistles, though, is something that is important to many small businesses—local search. The move away from Google Maps means that iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch users will be able to search using Apple’s data now.
Apple says its local search “includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals, and photos.” (According to Bloomberg, if that number is correct, Apple has about 20 million more business listings than Google.)
The ratings and reviews are coming from Yelp, and most reports suggest that the local business data is likely coming from a variety of providers, including Acxiom, TomTom, and Localeze.
Is This Important?
Searchers increasingly are looking for things like restaurants, retail stores, and movies while on the go, thanks to the capabilities offered by ever-more useful smartphones and tablets. According to a study by Localeze and 15 Miles, 61 percent of smartphone users search for local information on the go with their devices.
Until recently, that local search most likely happened on Google. Then, with the introduction of Siri, iPhone users could find that restaurant or store while potentially bypassing Google altogether. Additionally, the growth of apps (e.g., UrbanSpoon for dining or Fandango Mobile for finding movies) meant that searches that might have been done on Google now were not.
And, now, Apple may be upping the ante in the local search space further by dumping Google Maps. Of course, Google isn’t sitting idly by and has been making some significant changes to its maps/local offerings as well. (More on that in a future post.)
What’s a Small Business To Do?
As with most things search-related, Google has maintained pretty firm hold on the local search market. Most SMBs were doing pretty well if they claimed and updated their listings on Google+ Local (formerly Google Places).
While it’s obviously too soon to tell how much of an impact Apple’s move will have, there’s certain to be some, so being proactive could give you a jump on the competition.
Search Engine Land posted a great article about getting your business ready for Apple Maps and Google+ Local. In case you don’t want to read the whole article, here’s the main point: be sure that your business information is updated and accurate on directory sites like Localeze, from which Apple will be getting data.
That way, your business might just be the first one that potential customers see when using their iDevice.
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