When we think of SEO, and getting businesses found in any kind of online search, Google et al is the go to consideration, and very little thought is given to other mediums that many of us (as consumers) use all the time. Many small business owners monitor their Google+ Local profiles carefully, and they pay little to no attention to Apple Maps.

Google+ Local, of course deserves the attention. After all, Google Maps is the world’s second most popular app. However, we shouldn’t throw out Apple Maps baby out with the proverbial bathwater (yet). Since September 2013, when iOS7 was released, the favorite directional app of iPhone users has become Apple Maps. According to ComScore, Apple Maps is used by 35 million iPhone owners instead of Google Maps for the simple reason that its functionality has been built directly into the iPhone’s operations.

Apple Maps may not win any world popularity contests, however for small business owners it’s a useful tool. Optimizing a Google+ local listing is practically a full time job. However, at the moment, the Apple Maps platform is “set it and forget it.” Setting up your Apple Maps listings is something I can help you with. It really is quite simple. Here are a couple of quick optimization ideas for Apple Maps.

Getting Set Up

Setting your listing up in Apple Maps is so easy compared to Google. In fact, all it takes is 3 easy steps to get it done.

1) Perform a search to find your business.
  • If you are able to locate your business, and the placement is correct, congratulations! Your job is nearly complete! Skip down to the final and third step.
  • If your business isn’t listed, don’t worry. Move on to step 2, and we will get it set up right now.
2) Add your business.
  • If your listing doesn’t appear, navigate to the bottom of your screen on the right hand side and click the information button. It is an “i” that has a circle surrounding it.
  • Click on “Report A Problem,” then choose “Location is Missing.” Then go to top right corner of the screen and click “Next.”
3) Create your listing.
  • At your exact business location, drop the pin. The system will inform you of the address you chose. Make sure to it check its accuracy. For improved accuracy, you can pinch the screen to zoom in and out. After the pin is placed correctly and your address is displayed, click on “Next.”
  • Here’s the easy part- you just need to fill out all of the right information about your business. The categories to choose from are very similar to the ones for Google+ Local. However, the phrasing is different. Click to receive a complete Apple Maps categories list. Just like with Google+ Local, don’t get too carried away. Only choose categories that are relevant to your business.
  • After the listing for your business is correct and complete, click on “Send.” You are all set! For publication, there is no predetermined turnaround time. Keep checking back about once every week. You do need to be patient. I’ve heard that it sometimes takes 3 to 6 weeks before a business listing shows up.

NOTE: If there is a listing already in Apple Maps for your business, but some of the information is incorrect, click on the listing and then at the bottom choose “Report a Problem.”

Identify the error and then click on “Next.” Under “Incorrect listing information” you’ll be able to correct any information in your listing that is incorrect. You can also make category changes. “Moving the PIN” allows you to change your business location in Maps. It will most likely take 3 to 6 weeks for your updated information to start showing up.

Operation Optimization

Once your listing has either been corrected or set up, there’s really just one thing that will optimize your listing: Yelp. After Apple Maps was first launched, most marketers thought that business information was compiled by Apple from various online directions in a similar way that Google+ Local does. However, after a couple of months of testing, it was discovered that Yelp was most influential on Apple Maps. There was a case study that showed that Apple trusted Yelp more than any of the other listings, despite the fact that a business name had multiple versions online.

The relationship between Yelp and Apple doesn’t mean you have to sign up for the paid listing service at Yelp. The functionality that is part of the free listing gives all the information wanted by Apple. However, there are a couple of tricks to help make a more compelling Yelp listing, which will in turn improve your business listing at Apple as well.

Reviews are important. Although I wouldn’t send all of my customers to Yelp to write reviews, you do want to make sure the three top reviews are positive. The three top reviews on Yelp are pulled by Apple to put in the Apple business listings. Also monitor the photos used. The photos used on Yelp will be the same ones that appear in Apple Maps.

Apple Maps, with its reach exceeding 35 million users, makes it definitely worth becoming an early adapter. With more and more people using Apple Maps, you know that Apple will continue investing in its functionality and development. Therefore, it’s important to stay ahead of this curve and ensure that your listing provides your business with all of the exposure that it rightly deserves.