What should local marketers pay attention to?

This September, iPhone users around the world received the arrival of iOS 15.

This long-awaited update has kept a number of promises from Apple, such as:

  • Security improvements
  • Bug fixes
  • Interface changes
  • New features and functions
  • Improvements to native apps

When it comes to app enhancements, Apple Maps users haven’t been left behind by iOS 15. There are noteworthy developments for local SEOs to be aware of.

These improvements to the Maps app have prompted some in the tech industry to declare that Apple may finally offer a viable alternative to Google Maps.

“Far from the fiasco of a 2012 launch, Apple Maps has recovered to become a legitimate challenger to Google Maps” – Neuf.tv

“Apple Maps in the wake of Google Maps with new iOS 15 updates” – T3.com

The battle between Google Maps and Apple Maps has been going on for many years, with general consensus that Google has remained the champion all along. However, the revamp of Apple Maps via iOS 15 is already proving popular with Apple users. Plus, it’s already clearly turning some people away from Google’s alternative.

What’s new with iOS 15 for Apple Maps?

There have been a number of exciting improvements to Apple Maps with this latest update, including:

  • Better filter options for local business searches
  • Improved navigation and travel experiences
  • Updates to edited guides

Better filter options for local business searches

Apple Maps users now have access to better filters for local business information, and this update should grab the attention of those responsible for improving local business discovery.

For example, search results for a nearby restaurant can now be filtered based on a number of options. Users can filter by those currently open or by the type of cuisine on offer.

These new filtering features allow users to get more relevant results. This will be a major time saver when making decisions.

Updating the filter makes it even more important that local business information is provided fully and accurately up-to-date. Otherwise, customers could easily overlook a good match in favor of one they can clearly see meets their needs.

Many aspects of the Apple Maps experience have benefited from a 3D update, making it easier for users to identify their surroundings. The improved navigation system, which now offers turn-by-turn direction instructions, gives users greater confidence in the route.

Improved navigation and travel experiences

Navigation updates have clear benefits for those who walk, drive or take public transport:

  • Walking – iPhone users on foot can now scan nearby buildings to better understand their current location. This allows them to get more detailed directions, which are demonstrated by the arrows superimposed on the screen.
  • Guide – Drivers will appreciate that the conventional 2D map transforms into a 3D model when approaching an interchange. This will help drivers better identify which lane they should be in, which could reduce errors and increase road safety.
  • Public transport – Public transport users now have the ability to write down their favorite routes and get up-to-date information on departures. In addition, alerts will be received when a user approaches the desired stop.

Apple iOS15 Map Update Navigation

Source: Apple

Updates to selected guides

While Curated Guides isn’t a new feature in iOS 15, it’s still worth knowing as a local business owner or marketer and has been improved with this latest update.

Since iOS 14, Apple Maps users have access to information on great local places to visit. All selected Guides are updated regularly, so users can be sure they are getting the latest and most relevant information.

Curated Guides are crafted using the expert opinion of brands like Time Out and The Washington Post. Users also have the ability to create their own Guides to share with friends and family.

Being featured in a Guide, whether it’s made by experts or created by individual users, could lead to greater visibility and more customers.

What does this mean for local entrepreneurs and marketers?

As Apple focuses on improving its Maps app, introducing new features and continuing to improve existing features, Google Maps users may be increasingly tempted to abandon ship.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to have the best experience with each of the apps they use. This means that brand loyalty can take a back seat to the desire for a seamless experience.

Apple Maps currently boasts up to 100 million users in the US alone, and that number looks set to grow as improvements keep coming. As more and more people choose Apple as their preferred map provider, it will naturally become more important that the businesses you manage are easily found on the app. By paying attention now, you can make sure you won’t be left behind in the future.

How can local businesses improve their visibility on Apple Maps?

The first step to being visible on Apple Maps as a local business is to add or claim your Apple Maps listing. The application process for this business listing is blazingly fast, especially compared to Google My Business, so there’s no reason to put off getting started with Apple Maps.

Once the listing has been claimed, a local business can begin building a strong presence. Providing accurate location information, such as address and opening hours, is essential for a positive user experience and should always be a priority.

It is also important to optimize business listings to make them more discoverable by users looking for a relevant product or service. Considering how to do this, it’s useful to know that Apple Maps still relies on third-party review data, mostly from Yelp, Foursquare, and Tripadvisor. So, to optimize your ad with positive reviews and photos, it’s important to build a presence on these sites.

A word about voice search

Since Siri uses Apple Maps information for location-based queries, being visible here is important for local businesses.

More than 500 million devices around the world have the potential to use Siri to find information, with just as many 62% of iPhone users report using this voice assistant to get answers while driving. This means that if someone is looking for a local business while behind the wheel, those who are successful on Apple Maps will be featured in the results.

Ready to act?

Now that you know all about the Apple Maps update, you’ll want to consider how to use this information to your advantage.

By evaluating your existing strategy for Apple Maps, you can determine how you can improve and optimize your presence.

With Google Maps’ longstanding dominance, you might be forgiven for neglecting the Apple alternative in the past. Getting around the curve now could prove invaluable in the not too distant future!

Alix Coe

Alix is ​​BrightLocal’s Content Marketing Manager. They focus on sharing insights into the world of local SEO, with a particular interest in reporting the latest industry news.

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