How Apple Maps Will Play A Major Role in Local SEO

Whenever a new Apple app or product comes out, it’s no secret that most people are excited. Just this year the iPhone 5 saw 2 million people pre-order the phone, but unfortunately there was one feature that didn’t quite live up to the usual Apple standard—the Apple Maps. It seems as though creating a mapping app was the next logical step for Apple, so the disappointment was unexpected. Apparently the app is full of glitches and bugs that cause the service to work improperly.

However, the app serves as great competition for Google as well as Android devices, and it does have the ability to play a major role in local SEO once it’s working correctly. This is a big step for businesses, so the question then remains: How did the glitches happen, and when will there be a solution?

Apple Maps Features Compared to Google Maps

If you haven’t yet come into contact with Apple Maps, there are a few features that differ from the usual Google Maps. A few of these features include:

  • Local search: These results include information about different businesses including things such as Yelp ratings, deals, photos, and any reviews.
  • Siri integration: Something Google Maps lacks.
  • Real-time traffic reports.
  • Navigation directions.
  • 3D mapping

There are really only two things that Google Maps can offer that Apple Maps do not. First, there is not an equivalent of Google Street View. Second, there are not public transportation directions (which is a big deal for those trying to navigate around a new city). Even with these few downfalls, it seems that the benefits do outweigh the negatives.

What Apple Maps Mean for Small Businesses and Local SEO

Now that more and more people are searching for businesses on mobile phones, making your small business easy to find on a mobile device is crucial. In the past, having a presence on Google Maps was important because users would generally use the map to determine where your businesses is located. Clicking on a link to find a location seems like too much work on a mobile phone, so Maps are the easiest way to find information quickly.

Plain and simple, Apple Maps are going to be important when it comes to local search because Apple is such a huge company. According to comScore, 30.2 percent of total mobile users are using Apple.

Apple Maps Criticism

One of the biggest reasons that Apple Maps is feeling the heat is because the app never came out as a beta product for users, but instead was thrown into this highly anticipated launch. After all, people are quick to judge when it comes to technology. The fact that the new phone is not equipped with Google Maps was nerve-racking to most as it was, but the fact that the new mapping app doesn’t work perfectly is enough to cause some serious outrage—there is even a Tumblr blog that discusses Apple Maps glitches and errors. A few of these problems include:

  • Missing buildings
  • Blurry graphics
  • You get the wrong location data displayed when searching for certain countries, such as Japan.
  • Popular cities are missing
  • Routes sometimes take you through water

Below is one of many screenshots taken from the Tumblr blog. The left side of the screenshot shows Apple Maps while the right side shows Google Maps. The difference in detail is clear:

Sources such as The Guardian and Search Engine Land have commented that there could potentially be a Google Maps app coming to the iPhone 5, but Apple nor Google have come out and admitted it. Only time will tell whether or not Apple will fix this problem by bringing Google back into the mix.

Have you used the Apple Maps app? Did you have a positive experience, or have you found some of these glitches?

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