Apple Maps To Expand For Local Businesses
Android or iPhone? Mac or PC? We all know there is a pretty strong divide between one side or the other. As a small business owner, this is something you should care about. If you have experience using a Google Business Profile to help people find your local business online, you may have considered how potential customers that use Apple Maps instead of Google Maps can find and read about your services too. The good news is that Apple finally has a solution: enter Apple Business Connect.
Apple Business Connect is a new and rebranded version of “Apple Maps Connect”, which was released a number of years ago and was a much more basic way to list your business on Apple Maps. If you are wondering if the new and improved Apple Business Connect is actually going to bring value to your customers and business, let’s go over some of the main features and potential benefits below.
According to Apple, Apple Business Connect is a way to “put your business on the map”. If this sounds like a classic Apple marketing line, it’s because it is. What that line really means is that this is a free tool that helps local businesses display their business information in customized formats across Apple devices and applications. This tool is very similar to the Google Business Profile, but for Apple Maps instead of Google Maps. This fact alone should intrigue many business owners right off the bat.
Apple Business Connect has four key features I’d like to highlight:
- Customizable place cards
This feature allows you to display whatever information about your business that you deem to be most important for potential customers to know. You can use the app to easily add photos, logos, header images, opening hours, and more using a user-friendly interface. You can also quickly manage business information such as holiday hours and contact information right on the UI.
- Call-to-action buttons
Apple has a wide variety of call-to-action buttons that can be customized and set up on each Place Card. These include: appointment booking, OpenTable reservations, InstaCart ordering, call or live chat, hotel booking through Booking.com, ticket purchases, and much more.
If you are looking to make time sensitive announcements about changes to your business, sales, or special events, the showcase feature allows you to manage these announcements and easily display them to clients. This acts much like the Google Posts feature in the Google Business Profile, where posts appear attached to your business right in the app.
This feature is something to be excited about – all business owners want as much data as possible on how their business is doing and how their clients are finding them. Apple Business Connect offers an impressive insights section that allows you to see what people searched before selecting your business name, as well as other data about your business Place Card. This feature is especially valuable as Google seems to be moving its own insights functionality in a different direction rather than developing it further.
Is ABC worth the time?
While not technically a new product, Apple Business Connect has generated a lot of discussion in the local search/SEO community. A lot of people are showing a preference to the easy-to-use Apple UI over the sometimes more complex Google Business Profile UI. There is also a lot of excitement about the increased potential to reach customers across Apple devices without having to rely on them using Google services to search for local businesses.
If you still aren’t convinced about Apple Business Connect, at a minimum you should spend just a few minutes claiming your business and making sure your information is accurate. If you already used Apple Maps Connect, you’ll need to do a few updates. For those that have never used it, I would strongly recommend it! Not only is it free to use, but it’s essentially free advertising for your business on a very popular app.
If you’d like to take it a step further, you can work to optimize your Apple Business Connect listing. This is similar to how you would optimize your Google Business Profile, as many of the features are similar.
If neither option works for your schedule and you get a headache thinking about managing yet another platform, I can help.
The only essential takeaway from this blog is that your small business should be using Apple Business Connect, even if you simply claim your business, verify your info, and leave it at that. If you need help claiming your business and/or setting up your profile, reach out and we can get you set up right away.
If you can, begin giving your Apple Business Connect listing the same attention that you have been giving to your Google Business Profile – a key note here is to make sure the information is consistent across the two platforms. Read this post on how to rank your Google My Business page.
If you are looking to dig into this new tool further and use it to grow your business, this is an exciting time for you. Apple Maps is finally no longer a second-rate platform and we are seeing a much greater user uptake, so now is the time to understand how Apple prioritizes the Maps listings and how you can use that to your business’ advantage. It’s also worth noting that Apple has also developed an API functionality to manage multiple listings within Apple Maps (which is almost on par with the Google Business Profile equivalent), which is perfect for multi-location businesses. Apple has really designed an impressive tool which we should all view as the perfect complement to the longstanding Google Business Profile functionality.
The SEO community has a lot to learn about Apple Business Connect, which means that lots of new info will be coming. I’ll be staying up to date on any new developments, tips, and tricks, and will be sure to share with you. In the meantime, if you are updating your Apple Business Connect profile and want to spend some time working on optimizing your Google Business Profile too, let’s chat about reviewing your current listings and finding ways to further get your business out there.