At the annual WWDC conference this week, Apple announced a new mobile maps application that will replace Google Maps on iPhones, iPads and iPods. This rumor has been going around for several months and it turns out to be true.
The new map product will be rolled out with the new iOS 6 update, which is available to developers today and will be available to the rest of the public in the fall.
From an online marketing perspective, this is really big news. This means that Apple is getting into the Local Search space, and every brick and mortar business will have to do Local Search Engine Optimization for Apple’s Map just as they’ve been doing for Google and Bing!
As we wrote last week, there’s a ton of new tech developments that are making Local SEO every bit as important as traditional SEO. And Apple’s new map product is just the latest sign that search is getting more geo-targeted every day!
The Google Maps mobile app has helped local businesses get found online more than any other development in recent history. Customers all over the world use their mobile devices to search for local products and services. And Apple’s mobile devices are by far and away the most popular.
Remember that Apple’s design and development team created the Google Maps app on all iOS devices. So it’s very likely that the new mobile product will be a lot like the old Google Maps app you’ve come to know and love.
Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect from Apple’s new map app.
1. Maps will feature local search data from Localeze. So it’s going to be important to optimize your Localeze profile to get optimal results on Apple devices.
2. Crowd-sourced real-time traffic. This will work quite similarly to the current Google Maps feature. So your customers will still be able to know how long it takes them to get to your store.
3. Navigation and turn-by-turn directions. Again, much like Google Maps. A reminder that you need a mobile optimized site with click-to-call and click-to-map.
4. 3D mapping with “flyover” animation. This is a sort-of replacement for Google Maps Street View. This appears to be the big drawback to using an Apple map compared to Google map.
5. Siri integration (both on the search front-end and as the voice for turn-by-turn). This is probably the key differentiator for Apple. This is a great feature for the end user. How will it impact your business? You must ensure that your business profile on Localeze as optimized and engaging content, because Siri is going to read it back to your customers. Also…
6. Local business ratings and reviews will pull data from Yelp. This, combined with the launch of Google+ Local’s integration with Zagat’s reviews, proves that reviews and ratings are going to impact your local search marketing.
It appears that the Mobile/Local/Social market is going to be a drawn-out, bloodied battle between the 3 titans—Apple, Google and Facebook. And if you want to get your business found by local customers, you must make sure you’re compatible with all 3.
This is really just the beginning. Stay tuned.
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