A few months ago, Apple quietly rolled out a new feature called "Maps Connect", a DIY business listing service that adds business information to Apple Maps. To enhance the mobile customer experience, Apple allows business owners and representatives to quickly update their listings on Apple Maps.
Apple Maps have long received criticism for poor usability, bad listings, and bad images. But despite this, Apple still has a large user base with more than five billion requests being made on through the Apple Maps application each week. With 42 million people using Apple maps in the United States alone, there is too much opportunity for small businesses to ignore.
Apple Maps Connect allows businesses to capitalize on search traffic via local map searches. In Apple Maps Connect, it's possible to add links to your website, social media handles, and Yelp reviews in your map listing. This will help increase the chances of visitors to your storefront business. By allowing business owners to take control of their listings, Apple will have to rely less on data aggregators.
Currently, Apple Maps Connect is free to use with the signup process being fairly simple. Business listing verification is completed in real time with two verification methods possible. The first method is an automatic phone call that includes a code that can be entered into the Maps Connect page. The second is registering with an email address that contains the domain of your business. Most listings will be updated in iOS within a week or so.
Additionally, Apple is now allowing users to search the maps app by storefront type (food, drink, bar, etc) to find the best results. Rumors have been swirling since the launch of Maps Connect that Apple Maps will soon be available on Android, increasing the likelihood that your businesses will be found by users at the right time and place.
If you're a small business, you cannot allow Apple Maps previous mishaps to sway you from taking control over your business listing. While Google Maps might still have the share of the market, Apple is not far behind.
Have more questions on how to optimize your business listings for search? Contact us today!