Google dominates the search engine world, so it’s easy to see why small businesses make every effort to optimize based on its unique algorithm and results pages. The same rings true for Google services, including, of course, Google My Business (GMB) and Google Maps. However, if you speak with a local SEO agency, and you’ll quickly find that solutions such as claiming listings are immediately recommended to improve customer outreach.
While it would be foolish to avoid optimizing for Google Maps, this is not, as some loyal users assume, the only app worth taking into account. Apple Maps also enjoys a large user base and, in many ways, represents unchartered territory for local SEO.
Make the most of this resource, and you could tap into a notable group of customers who often fly under the radar. Keep reading to learn how this is possible — and how local search engine optimization services can help you implement an Apple-oriented strategy.
Why Does Apple Maps Matter?
No matter how all-encompassing Google may seem, it does not dictate how everybody searches or navigates the internet. Apple Maps provides a compelling alternative, complete with robust privacy features and easy connections with top Apple devices.
No, Apple Maps does not attract as many users as Google — but don’t let that stop you. As of 2018, data from The Manifest revealed that just 11 percent of people who relied on mobile navigation services opted for Apple’s version. These modest numbers may seem surprising given the popularity of the iPhone, but the reality is that many Apple users continue to rely on Google Maps.
With all that being said, signs point to Apple expanding its navigation offerings and attracting more users in the near future. The tech giant doesn’t release user data, but some experts believe that its market share in the navigation app sphere has grown significantly in the last few years.
Apple’s greatest blow to its rival? Impressive privacy tools that provide an alternative for anyone worried about what happens to data collected by Google. Apple Maps goes above and beyond with privacy by eliminating sign-in requirements and allowing users to take advantage of services without connecting to their Apple IDs. Any data collected when using the app is linked to random identifiers. Apple claims that these are constantly reset to “ensure the best possible experience.”
Why Optimize for Apple Maps?
The personal benefits of using Apple Maps are obvious to anyone with a desire for greater privacy and security, but how does this impact marketing initiatives? Do Apple’s enhanced privacy features matter when Google still attracts more attention with its navigation services?
Put simply, yes — Apple Maps matters, even with its comparatively minuscule user base. Who it matters to most is up for debate, but it’s increasingly clear that consumers who rely on Apple for navigation look a bit different from the “typical” Google Maps user.
Apple Maps captures a significant subset of consumers who may be resistant to Google for a variety of reasons. Some have suffered negative experiences with Google Maps, while others worry about the service’s subpar privacy protections.
Regardless of their motivations, Apple Maps users are fiercely loyal — and this may impact how they perceive their favorite navigation service and handle everyday searches. This, in turn, may influence optimization strategies, as the tactics that pay dividends with Google Maps users might not prove as effective among Apple devotees.
The most important factor driving the push for Apple Maps optimization? High intent. This is not the type of app relied on for casual browsing. When people sign in to Apple Maps, they are determined to find a business that meets their immediate needs. Businesses that optimize their presence accordingly can secure impressive conversions from these dedicated users, leading to a substantial return on investment.
Another factor worth considering as you decide whether to take advantage of Apple Maps: significant growth potential. As mentioned previously, all signs point to the app gaining traction as previously loyal Google Maps users flee in response to security concerns. Some may opt for Waze, but iPhone owners are expected to jump ship to Apple Maps based on sheer convenience. As this user base grows, businesses that got in on the action early will enjoy a competitive advantage.
How to Make the Most of Apple Maps
You’ve decided that the allure of Apple Maps is too great to ignore — and you’re ready to optimize your presence. Now what? Taking that first step can be tricky if you’ve dedicated yourself exclusively to the Google ecosystem over the past several years. With a little exploration, however, you’ll quickly discover an intuitive system that is easy to add to your SEO arsenal. Follow these simple steps to get started:
- Visit the Maps Connect page. There, you’ll have the opportunity to add or update your information. If you don’t already have an Apple ID, you’ll need to create one at this point. Consider creating a separate ID for your business, rather than relying on a personal account.
- Search for your business on Apple Maps, keeping an eye out for potential duplicates. If you don’t find any current listings, you’ll need to create a new one. Apple makes this easy by providing a call to action near its listing search function.
- To create a new listing, provide basic details such as your location, phone number, business status, and use of Apple Pay, if applicable.
- Once you’ve created a listing, you may be asked to verify it with a call. Apple may also request further verification details such as photos or videos.
- After verification, any of your claimed and verified map properties will show up under My Places on this page.
Duplicates aren’t as big of a problem with Apple Maps as they tend to be for Google, but they should still be addressed promptly. In such situations, Apple Maps Connect Support suggests clicking “‘Report a Problem’ to notify Apple that the business is no longer open at that location.”
After you’ve claimed your listing, further options for optimizing are currently limited — or, at least, they appear to be at first glance. In reality, your efforts on Yelp and TripAdvisor could prove surprisingly influential, as Apple draws information such as photos and reviews from these resources. As such, it’s in your best interest to take a comprehensive approach to SEO and reputation management.
Vinci Digital: Your Resource for All Things SEO
Getting a handle on Google-based optimization is difficult enough, but throw Apple in the mix and it’s easy to see why you can feel overwhelmed. A little guidance could make a world of difference by helping you make the most of an untapped area of SEO opportunity.
If you’re ready to take on the exciting and potentially transformative challenge of optimizing your website or Google/Apple listings, look to the experts at Vinci Digital for guidance. We offer a variety of SEO services and would be happy to work with you to develop an effective solution for reaching prospects online. Contact us today to get started with a free quote.
PS: How does Apple Maps play into your current optimization efforts? Do you expect that it will become more influential in the future? Leave a comment below to share your opinion.