Apple Maps, Business Directories, and How Local Search Just Got More Complicated.
Here on the Energy Circle PRO blog, we've repeatedly stressed the importance of a good local search presence for driving traffic to your website, getting leads and growing your business.
Until recently, we've been able to say with some confidence that your efforts should be focused on Google. After all, Google local search results are incorporated into its main results -- on by far the biggest search engine in the world. And heck, even iPhones relied on Google Maps, so that's where you should focus your energy. That is, until now...
Why Google May No Longer Be Enough:
As you may have heard, Apple's new iPhone operating system ditched Google Maps and replaced it with an app of their own devising -- Apple Maps. The internet has been full of horror stories about the new maps app for iPhone since its release, and it's clear that Apple has a lot of work to do to bring their mapping system up to par with Google and other leading map services.
Still, the fact remains: on the new iPhone operating system, Google Maps are out and Apple Maps are in. So, if you want people in your region who are searching for terms like insulation, energy audits, energy saving home improvements, home performance, etc. on an iPhone, you want to make sure that your business will show up in Apple Maps in addition to Google Maps.
How Do You Optimize for Apple Maps?
Apple Maps is sourcing their business data from places other than Google, which makes it slightly more complicated than Google Maps. David Mihm shared a great infographic that shows the Apple Maps ecosystem and gives us some good insight into where they're getting their data. It looks like the primary sources are as follows:
So what should you do? Start with Yelp, because it's free and it's a no-brainer. LocalEze costs money, but it partners with a lot of other sites, so it might save you some time. TomTom lets you list your business for free. Open Street Map is an open-source map service that's a little more complicated, but you can read more about Open Street Map if so inclined.
Best practices on most local directories are the same as with Google+ Local, which we've discussed a lot lately -- use a consistent Name, Address and Phone Number (NAP), try to build your reviews slowly and steadily, make sure your business info is accurate, and add content (even as much as a profile picture) wherever you can.
Apple has made big promises to repair their maps app as soon as possible, so we'll be expecting changes in the near future. Whether these will affect the local business search component of the app is yet to be determined, but we'll be sure to keep you posted.
Any experience using Apple Maps out there? We'd love to hear about it.