The Local Marketer’s Guide To Apple Maps for iOS7

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Photo courtesy of the Robert Mapplethorpe Shotland Estate

While the launch of iOS7 has received a ton of press and blogger nitpicking about every last detail, little has been said about how the new version of Apple Maps affects local marketers. I feel like most marketers are still ignoring Apple Maps because it got a lot of Apple Maps Sucks-type press a year ago. Well, I like to say that even if you think Apple Maps suck, you know what doesn’t suck?

The fact that iOS is well on its way to one billion installations. Oh yeah, and over 200 million devices are running iOS7 only two weeks after it became available.  And the default mapping application on all of those devices is… Apple Maps.

So what goodies does the iOS7 version have to make life easier for local marketers? Let’s dig in, shall we?

1. Is Apple Maps Starting To Care About Business Data?

The initial versions of Apple Maps made it pretty clear that providing tools to businesses to help them manage their data and visibility was not a priority. They had bigger freaky fish to fry. It’s still not the most business-friendly application, but it seems like Apple is taking baby steps to make life easier for all of us. As I reported on Apple Maps Marketing, Apple Maps now displays a “Location is Missing” option in the Report a Problem screen.

apple-maps-report-a-problem

Based on the inquiries I have received since its launch, businesses not being listed is a very common problem. While it’s still too early to determine how effective this tool is (the Report a Problem tool hasn’t seemed particularly effective in the past year), this feels like a baby step toward a “claim your listing” feature.

And given Apple’s purchase of Locationary, a service that manages location data feeds, I wonder if we won’t see a move toward giving businesses more control over their listings. If anyone from Apple is reading this, you really should get there ASAP. There is a lot of pent-up frustration from business owners about how your product is shafting them. DM me.

2. Expanded Categorization — Are You Categorized Correctly?

Apple has added a large amount of new business categories to Report a Problem. Here’s a complete list of Business Categories for Apple Maps. For any of you who have done taxonomy work before, you know what a thankless task it is. I guess it’s nice to see Apple screwing up its categories like everyone else. If you look through the list, you’ll see that there are a lot of duplicates, typos, and for some reason categories in different languages. I am curious to know how many AmstgerichtBadestedBallonfahren and Broderi & hekling businesses are out there (just bought heklingSEOGuide.com, btw).

att select category

All skämta aside, it’s helpful to know these categories because if your business is not showing up for local category searches, you might want to check to make sure that Apple has your business categorized correctly. Additionally, you should also go to the main business data suppliers for Apple Maps and make sure you categorize your business in the categories that best map to Apple’s.

3. The Popular Apps Nearby Trojan Horse?

Near the bottom of each business’ “Info” screen is a list of “Popular Apps Nearby.” This is perhaps the most interesting development as it hints as to a potential future where Apple Maps is more like (App)le Maps.

Currently, there doesn’t seem to be any logic to what apps show up, other than that the app has some geographical relationship to the business you are looking at. For example, I am in the Bay Area and see Apps for a local TV station and local transit. Not sure why Yahoo Sports or ESPN are there, though — perhaps because the business is a bar?

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Businesses should look at what apps appear on their profiles. In the near term, there might be some marketing advantage to being present on those apps, since Apple is promoting them to your customers.

But this could be merely a precursor for integrating a user’s apps into the maps. For example, if you are looking for a restaurant and your iPhone has an UrbanSpoon app installed, it could give you the option to show the UrbanSpoon data in the map (v. the Yelp data which it defaults to). If this happens, there will be a big opportunity for local services that can get users to add them as defaults in the maps.

And One More Thing… Buy Yelp Stock

Earlier this year, I used my arcane SEO knowledge to make a virtual killing on Yelp stock, and now I am using my arcane map knowledge to make another big call. It still amazes me that Yelp is the only significant brand integrated into Apple Maps.

The exposure they are getting is huge and as Apple Maps adoption increases, Yelp’s metrics are only going to get bigger. And you can now “Write a Review” instead of a “Tip” directly from Apple Maps. At some point in the next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Apple announce more partners like Yelp — but for now, they are the only game in town. Past experience is no indication of future stock tanking….

Anyhow, there will be many more twists and turns for businesses in Apple Maps — iBeacon could be a real game changer — so get ready to think different… locally.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Apple: Maps | Channel: Local | Local Search Column

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About The Author: is the proprietor of Local SEO Guide, a local search engine optimization consulting company specializing in yellow pages seo and local directory search—the blog is pretty fabulous too.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



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  • Kevin Mullaney

    So what you’re saying is that apple maps is as rubbish as it’s always been and as ever you simply need to make sure and correctly add your business information to Apple’s data providers, no change there then! Good to see Apple is taking this seriously and not compounding one disaster with additionally terrible updates.

  • treb072410

    I totally agree with @kevinmullaney:disqus.. It is good to know that Apple is doing something to fixing their mistakes…

  • Andrew Shotland

    Kevin, it’s not clear yet whether this update will improve things for businesses that are having issues with Apple Maps, but here’s hoping that’s the case. Unfortunately,correctly adding your business to Apple’s data providers does not always seem to work – often it appears that there are underlying mapping issues (e.g. the inability to place the right address in the right place) that could be affecting a business’ visibility and it’s still unclear (at least it is to me) how Apple deals with data conflicts and what the right levers are to pull to solve them. I am slowly learning how the system works for different cases, but it’s a complicated black box. That said, making sure your NAP is clean at the base listings provider level is one of the best things a business can do to improve its visibility in Apple Maps and elsewhere.

  • Ian Vaisman

    I wonder how many of those 200 million users running iOS7 are actually using the new Apple Maps as opposed to Google Maps or another third-party app. Most people I know continued using Google Maps when Apple first came out with its own version and haven’t changed since. It will be interesting to see if with these changes and more additions the Apple Maps app can win back some people.

  • Andrew Shotland

    Mike Blumenthal did a survey earlier this year that suggested Apple Maps usage by 500 iPhone users could be as high as 35%. http://blumenthals.com/blog/2013/03/06/who-is-winning-the-apple-vs-google-iphone-driving-directions-battle-too-close-to-call/ My bet is that with the new iPhone & iOS7 that number is significantly higher. We shall see…

 

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