Apple Maps strives to give Google Maps a run for its money and with recent updates to its local experience, MacWorld predicts it’s becoming a “viable alternative.”
Together, Apple and Google share the North American mobile operating system market. As of September 2020, iOS claimed over 53% of mobile operating system market share while 46% of Americans chose Android. Local listings in both Google Maps and Apple Maps—that is, how your locations appear to on-the-go consumers looking for products and services nearby—should be among the top priorities for enterprise local marketers.
In this post, we’ll dive into the new features and functions in Apple Maps and explore the opportunities they present for enterprise brands to help their locations stand out in search.
2020 Apple Maps Updates: Simplified Local Reviews, Photos
Earlier this year, Apple Maps made a number of significant changes in the way it sources and displays local data. The company ended its relationship with TomTom and moved to its own framework for U.S. navigation data.
Apple Maps is surfacing a new way for consumers to leave their feedback for local businesses in their upcoming iOS 14 release, using a thumbs up or down. Apple had previously relied on Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Foursquare as its source for local reviews, but is now a third-party review platform in its own right. When rating a business in Apple Maps, customers can also leave a photo with their review.
Apple Maps Guides
A new feature within Apple Maps called ‘Guides’ enables searchers to find things to do, sites to explore, places to eat, etc. “With Guides to help you find the best places to eat, shop and explore, you’ll have more to do and experience when you get there,” Apple says.
Image source: Apple Maps
While key local business data like hours of operation still come from Yelp (and can be updated within your Rio SEO dashboard), Apple is now drawing from sources like Zagat, Lonely Planet, AllTrails, Culture Trip, and more for these guides to major cities. Guides can be saved to access later and automatically update as new information is added.
How can your brand increase the likelihood of being featured in an Apple Maps Guide? Apple explains how the Guides are curated:
“Apple Maps editors have worked with trusted brands and partners to offer Guides that make recommendations for the best places to visit in cities around the world to eat, shop, meet friends, or explore.”
If you want your locations to stand out as great material for an Apple Maps Guide, local listings optimization and having a robust, engaged reviews profile are key. We talk about listings optimization a great deal here at Rio SEO and have a few resources to help ensure you’re at the top of your game:
- 5 Best Practices For Maintaining Local Listings in an Unpredictable World
- Apple Maps Optimization Tips for Enterprise Local Brands
Updates to Apple Reviews and Making the Most of Your Reviews Strategy
Local reviews are a fairly heavily weighted factor in local ranking algorithms and also an important conversion element. They provide searchers the social proof they crave when making decisions about where to shop, which restaurants to frequent, and what to do in their local area.
Apple Maps reviews differ from Google reviews in that they aren’t based on a 1- to 5-star rating. They work more like Facebook or Reddit’s “thumbs up” systems of expressing like or dislike. On Apple, customers are able to rate not only the business as a whole but also its products and services.
You can read more about recent updates to Apple Reviews here. Then, check out these helpful resources on improving your local reviews strategy:
- 5 Key Local Reviews Opportunities for Enterprise Brands
- How to Pivot Your Local Reviews Management Strategy in a Crisis
- Local Reviews Strategy: 10 Ways to Make Yours Smarter & More Effective
COVID-19 Testing Site Module Added to Apple Maps Listings
Hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies serving as COVID-19 testing facilities can have this information display prominently using a new testing site module in Apple Maps.
If your brand offers COVID-19 testing, location data can be submitted to Apple in a CSV spreadsheet. As your local search partner, our team can ensure your location data is clean and formatted properly before submitting to Apple.