In an effort to improve the accuracy of notoriously unreliable Maps data, Apple recently introduced Maps Connect, a self-service local listings portal. An alternative to Google+ Local intended for small businesses, Apple Maps Connect allows business owners (or their authorized representatives) to add or update content in Apple Maps. Another aspect of Maps Connect allows businesses to get accurate indoor positioning in their venues.
Why is Apple Maps Connect Important in Local Search?
Apple Maps is the default maps app for all iOS devices. While iPhone users can certainly download Google Maps and use that instead, Apple Maps is essentially crowd-sourced data. As a result, we may start seeing more use from the default Apple Maps vs. Google Maps on iOS.
In the past, Apple retrieved local data from third-party sites and tools. This means that even though your locations might be optimized in Google, they were not imported into Apple Maps. Now, rather than using third-party distributors, business owners can upload information about their stores directly into Apple Maps Connect, and verify their locations in a dashboard similar to the old Google Places. Using your Apple ID, you can sign up for Apple Maps Connect for free and begin adding or correcting your business information in order to help customers find you.
Apple Maps Connect is still a very new service, and not much information is available just yet. However, it’s also a rather important update in the local community, considering that about half of smartphone users have iPhones. We believe that once Apple starts getting user feedback and opens this service up to all businesses, Maps Connect will become something that everyone focuses on in the local search space.
Apple Maps Connect for Indoors
With iOS 8, Apple is introducing changes to the CoreLocation API, allowing developers access to the iPhone’s M7 processor and motion sensors. These new features will provide precise data about indoor location, navigation, and floor numbers, using a combination of cellular, GPS, and WiFi technology.
Indoor mapping is, at present, only being offered to large-scale businesses meeting the following requirements:
- Accessible to the general public
- Over 1 million annual visitors
- Available to complete, accurate, and scaled reference maps
- WiFi enabled throughout
- Associated app is authorized by venue owner
Apple is prioritizing their indoor positioning efforts in order to gain implementations in popular and high-profile locations. As more businesses learn about this service and provide feedback to Apple, it’s likely that they will begin expanding their indoor positioning availability to an increasing number of venues. We’ll certainly be keeping an eye on Apple to see the kind of direction that Maps Connect will ultimately take—and if you’re a business owner, you should too.
You can always learn more search tactics to implement for your business by downloading our ebook!