The world of Apple and Apple Maps on Mobile devices has always been a tricky one to navigate for businesses looking to take advantage of the exposure offered by having a listing on their business directory… Until now. Apple has announced that that they have created a self-service portal for businesses to add or update their business information on Apple Maps.
Previously Apple has drawn their business information from various sources such as online business information databases like Axciom and you couldn’t add or correct information on Apple Maps directly. This meant that it was not included in any of the available multi-site listing services that are so heavily marketed on the web. Most of those services do not publish to the big database directories as part of their (often overpriced) services and so many small businesses never appeared on Apple Maps, especially new businesses.
That was an unfortunate situation as Apple Maps is a platform developed from the ground up by Apple and a part of their ios on iPhones. I have mentioned the importance of Apple Maps for small businesses before and the process that had to be used to get your business listed on the platform. I would rank the importance of Apple Maps on mobile search to be as high as Google Maps or Bing’s maps. The simple reason is that so many searches are being done on mobile today and the iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones out there and Apple Maps are the default map application on them and are tied into Apple’s Safari browser and many if not most iPhone users will use the default Apple browser and maps when searching for a local product or service.
Another advantage to taking the time to get your business listed on Google Maps is that many businesses have not yet done it so you can potentially stand out from the crowd really well on that platform. In the photo to the right you can see a screen shot of our business listed on Apple maps. The platform functions pretty much the same way as Google Maps or Bing Maps. In the second screen shot you can see that Apple Maps listings include basic business information and will provide directions on how to get to a particular place from where you are by various means as well as links to contact the business via email, phone or Face Time.
One of the notable differences in Apple Maps is that they pull the images used in your business listing from Yelp. So if you have not claimed or do not yet have a business listing on Yelp and you want to have images of your business or your logo appear in your listing on Apple Maps you will have to claim or create a listing for your business on Yelp For Business Owners.
Local Directory Listings are one of the most powerful tools available to local businesses to promote their business location. When I create a web presence for a business I always try to include directory listings as a very important component of their overall web presence. The best part for many small businesses is that most of the important directory listing services are free to use (although many have paid upgrades available). This makes them even more attractive in addition to the benefits they provide in terms of increased exposure and backlinks to the businesses’ website.
There are many companies out there who are aggressively trying to sell these free business directory listings to businesses and I think it is important to remember that you can create the listings yourself if you want. If you want directory listings that are more optimized with your location and applicable keywords then you might want to consider paying a professional to do it. I recommend using a local Google Partner if one near you provides the service. You can search for a Google Partner here.
Just be careful to consider what you are getting if you utilize a paid service. Most small businesses do not need to edit their listings on a frequent basis so paying a monthly upkeep charge is unnecessary. As an example I charge $250 to do a set of local directory listings for one business location on the 10 most important directories. That is it, no yearly upkeep or monthly fees (unless they want frequent updates). Some companies charge 3-4 hundred dollars to set up the listings and then upwards of $250 a month to “maintain” them.
I think that Apple Maps is an important part of your total promotional strategy. To create or edit you business listing on Apple Maps just use this link. The process is simple and straightforward so even the novice computer user should be able to navigate the setup process pretty easily.