But forget about the far away future. Tomorrow, Apple is likely to unveil the “iPad Air“, which combined with the iPhone5 + upgraded older iOS devices + Santa Claus is going to equal tens of millions of new iOS6 devices in use Q1 of 2013, just in the US alone. And most users will be using Apple Maps to find local stuff, no matter how much they purport to suck.
So even if you think Google Places is where it’s at in terms of getting local customers, at the least you need to start thinking about how your business is going represent itself on Apple Maps.
1. Make Sure Your Business Appears On Apple Maps
Grab yourself an iPhone or an iPad and make sure your business shows up for the following queries:
- business name + city
- business name + city + state
- business name + street address
- business name + street address + city
- business name + street address + city + state
- business phone number
If your business listing does not appear for any of these queries, it’s possible that you may have one of the following issues:
- Apple Maps does not have your business in its database
- Apple Maps is confusing your location with a different location (e.g. Miami, FL v. Miami, OH)
- Apple Maps does not have your location in its database
There is no “official” way to add your business to Apple Maps at the moment, but you can try adding it by using the “Report A Problem” screen on Apple Maps or making sure your business is listed in Yelp and the major business listing data suppliers for Apple Maps: Acxiom, Factual, Localeze, and TomTom.
2. Make Sure Your Business Data On Apple Maps Is Accurate
Apple Maps is having issues getting some of the business listing data right. Often this is the case because Apple is merging data from various sources and one or more of the sources has inaccurate information which for some reason Apple may trust more than the good stuff.
This is very common with Google Places and with any dataset that uses a variety of sources. So it’s important that you check every known Apple Maps data source to make sure they have the right information for your business. If your data is out of whack in the U.S., at the moment, again I suggest you use “Report a Problem”, but the fastest way to improve things, at least in the US, may be to get a premium listing from Localeze.
My understanding is that this service speeds up verification of your business data (all submitted changes to Apple Maps need to be verified before getting published) and is sent to Apple relatively fast. My best guess at the moment is that Localeze has the verification systems in place to get this done faster than Apple. Then you’re just waiting for Apple to update its Localeze file.
If you are not in the US, you’ll need to check with Acxiom, TomTom or Factual. But be patient, I imagine all of these systems are somewhat overloaded given the number of businesses that are likely requesting updates.
3. Make Sure You Always Have Recent Positive Yelp Reviews
When you look at a business profile in Apple Maps, if there are Yelp reviews, the latest three usually appear in the “Reviews” tab of the profile. That means if any or all of your last three reviews are negative, they are going to be right in your potential customers’ faces.
In these cases, I strongly recommend getting some positive reviews asap. They appear to be added to Apple Maps almost as soon as they are added to Yelp. However, please don’t buy positive reviews. That tactic is for turkeys.
4. Make Sure You Don’t Have Photos Of Cockroaches Attached To Your Business
Apple Maps also pulls images into your business profile from Yelp and plays them in a nice slideshow. So just like with reviews, you may want to check the images on your Yelp profile to make sure they don’t contain any cockroaches or pictures of mysterious dishwashers.
5. Make Sure You Check Your Data Often
We are still in the early days with Apple Maps. Given the amount of work they are probably doing behind the scenes to improve the service, I imagine we are going to see a lot of bumps in the road data-wise over the next few months. So review your information regularly to make sure it hasn’t been totally borked by the latest update.
For further reading on the subject, try:
- How To Add Your Business Listing To Apple Maps
- Apple Maps Business Listings Data Suppliers By Country
- Reputation Management for Apple Maps
- The Apple Maps Ecosystem
- Why Isn’t My Business Showing Up On Apple Maps?
- Yelp & Siri Optimization
(Full disclosure: most of the articles above are from my new blog, Apple Maps Marketing. Check it out and let me know if you have any questions. Read on for more articles on Apple Maps at Search Engine Land.)
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.