Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category

Why Businesses Need To Pay Attention To Apple Maps

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Earlier this week, I did a webinar with Mike Blumenthal, Phil Rozek, Myles Anderson and Linda Buquet on the State of Local Search where I presented my latest findings about Apple Maps. After the webinar, one of my favorite Twitter buds, a mean SEO himself, Dave Oremland, sent us the following email (edited), which I think does a great job of showing why Apple Maps is important to your business:

I thought Andrew’s presentation was interesting. Probably because I don’t know anything at all about maps.

So I looked harder at Andrews’s topic in that its one on which I’m ignorant.

I scanned one smb. It gets pretty good traffic. I probably used the wrong methodology first but I narrowed down to IOS6 browser types.

Frankly I should have looked at all Mac devices. In any case I found something over 22% total IOS6 traffic on the total.

At that total, just guessing 1/2 use a map application and 1/2 use search and about 1/3 use apple maps that comes up with about 3%-4% access to the site via apple search.

I don’t own any apple equipment. I borrow them for testing. I was in the DC barschool today and borrowed one from a student.

Does he use a maps app? yes. What does he use? He never uploaded anything. He uses what was installed.

(okay…so that is TOTALLY anecdotal)

Used the maps app to look up bartending schools.

Wow:

First part of this is, as I know Mike knows, and you guys might also know: it gave me a response that was sooooooooooo….google maps circa 2006,7,8,9, maybe 2010 and even later.

It was full of errors and thoroughly deficient.

The results as Andrew described showed 3 smb’s on the map. You could click through to get info.

Of the 3, only one was a real smb. (snark snark, ours). Of the other 2 showing neither is a real place. At least a potential for 5 other pins could have shown each being a real place. But none of them were.

that is a both a huge advantage for us, a huge hole for competitors, and representative of the volume of holes in the current presentation for Apple Maps, which is why I equate it to G maps circa 2006- to maybe 2010 and even beyond.

It’s quite interesting.

I think the opportunity side is a function of the total usage of Apple equipment, and then the percentage of usage of Apple maps versus other maps apps.

to the extent that apple has significant penetration into the market….its damned important.

From the smb operator side, and in view of how, over time some of our smb’s have had incredible overwhelming visibility against competition …its pretty interesting.

Having an advantage like that is hugely profitable for the winners and horrendously costly to losers.

I’d advise smb’s to get into apple maps.

my $0.02 :D

Dave

Fixing Bad Yelp Reviews on Apple Maps

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A reader writes:

I own a small business and I am struggling with Yelp. We currently have 12 reviews from reviewers. 10 are positive, 2 are negative. We can easily identify 11 of these reviewers as being real clients of ours. However, Yelp has chosen to “filter” every single one of our positive reviews and none of the negative. When I contact Yelp, they just hide behind that blanket of the “filter software” or whatever. Now, when people use the Apple Maps app, they locate us and immediately beneath our name are the 2 negative Yelp reviews.  It is my opinion that Yelp is only showing the positive reviews of businesses who advertise with them. What can I do? Thoughts?

Negative Yelp reviews are a problem.  Negative Yelp reviews that also show up on Apple Maps make the problem worse as Apple shows the most recent Yelp reviews for your business on the profile screen:

Alberto's Cantina Pleasanton Yelp Review

So even if you are a five-star restaurant, three recent bad reviews can make you look bad on Apple Maps.  Normally I would tell a business that they just need to get some more positive reviews and that will push the bad ones out.  But in the case above where Yelp’s filters are hiding the good reviews, what can you do?  To help figure this out, I consulted Matt Siltala of Avalaunch Media.  Matt is probably one of the top Yelp marketing experts, so what he says, goes.  From Mat:

First she needs to make a page on her website that will drive people to review on Yelp.  Not just have Yelp, but have all main review sites (link directly to them on this page) and then direct her customers to that page to leave reviews – Don’t ask for them to go there and leave a “Yelp” review. … let them pick what place they want.  This way you will get the users of the right groups to leave reviews on the places they use and thus eliminate the chance of them getting filtered.  This will also help distribute the wealth.  I don’t give a rats ass what Yelp says about not doing this.  You are simply showing people where they can review you because you “love” reviews … it is up to the user to leave a review wehre they want.  Yelp is stupid and two faced about their “amazing” review filter and service.  They are gonna do whatever they can to extort the most money out of business owners via their paid programs options (talk about two-faced), so business owners NEED to do all they can to get legit reviews to show up.  This example you share is my point exactly of why this is needed – they need to seek out and find active Yelp users by guiding them.

In short, you need to figure out which customers of yours are active Yelpers.  Then you need to figure out how to get them to write something nice about you on Yelp.  Finding your customers on Yelp shouldn’t be too hard, particularly if you already are connected to them on Facebook.  You’ve got a Facebook strategy right?  You can then use Facebook Connect to connect with your friends/customers on Yelp.  Of course, you could also just search Yelp.

Solving these types of problems is rarely simple, but if those bad reviews are hurting your business, they need to be solved.  Some bedtime reading for you:

Yelp Review Filter Explained
Your Business & Yelp
How To SPAM Yelp 

 

 

Why Isn’t My Business Showing Up On Apple Maps?

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I have been looking into the case of the missing Didgeroo on Apple Maps.  Didgeroo, Ltd, a London SEO & Web Marketing shop, has done everything by the book (a still-mostly-unwritten-book of course) – they have a Yelp profile and they have submitted their business data to TomTom (about two weeks ago), but they still are not showing up in Apple Maps.  While I haven’t finished my investigation, there are two potential issues that seem like good candidates for Didgeroo’s snafu:

1. Address Issues
When you search for their address in Apple Maps (86-90 Paul Street London England) you get a marker that says only “Paul Street”:
Apple Maps No Street Number

But when you change the query to another address on Paul Street like “10 Paul Street London England”, you get the street number:

Apple Maps With Street Number

This makes me think that Apple Maps either has a problem with complicated address numbers like 86-90 or, more likely, it does not have this address in its dataset.  Which brings me to my second thought on TomTom Places:

2. TomTom is Overloaded With New/Updated Business Listings
As far as I can tell TomTom is the primary business listings data provider for Apple Maps for a large number of countries.  When you submit your business info to TomTom Places, before they ship it over to Apple Maps, or anywhere else, they probably have to go through a verification process which means they need to prove that the data you have submitted is correct.  Since there is an overwhelming amount of incorrect data and an equally overwhelming amount of attention being given to Apple Maps, I’ve got to believe that in the past few weeks, TomTom has received millions of new submissions/updates.  I don’t care how many people you have in the Philippines doing your grunt work, it’s going to take more than two weeks to get through a lot of these verifications.  When I think about what they must be going through, it kind of reminds me of this:

There may even be a third issue related to the underlying geo-data about the address that could be harder to solve than putting Lucy and Ethel on the line…

There are some other potential issues mentioned in my discussion with Didgeroo’s Chris Skitch here. If anyone has any other thoughts on this problem, please add to the comments. I am sure Didgeroo would appreciate it.

How To Add Your Business To TomTom

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TomTom MapShare Reporter

Tom Tom, the in-car navigation service, is a data provider to Apple Maps.  While it’s unclear how much business listing data Tom Tom is providing, my sources tell me they suspect that Tom Tom is supplementing listing data provided by other sources in the following countries:

Austria
Belgium
Canada
Denmark
Finland
France
Germany
Ireland
Italy
Luxembourg
Netherlands
Norway
Portugal
Russia
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
United Kingdom

While in many cases, TomTom appears to source its business listing data from third parties, it also provides the ability for businesses in the above countries (except for Canada and Russia) to add their listings to the TomTom database or update an existing listing.  To do this go to Tom Tom Places and search for your company.  If it’s not in TomTom’s database, then you can add it by entering your information here.  Be sure to categorize your listing correctly when prompted.

If your business is displaying the wrong location on Apple Maps in one of the TomTom countries, you can try to correct the situation in TomTom’s database by using TomTom’s Mapshare Reporter.  Mapshare Reporter allows you to enter an address and then file a report about what you think is wrong with the address.  Warning: It does not appear to work with Chrome browsers.

At this point, it’s unclear how quickly TomTom updates its data, and how quickly TomTom updates make it into Apple Maps.  Stay tuned…

Unofficial Apple Maps Frequently Asked Questions by Businesses

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WTF Apple Maps?

Chris Skitch has put together a nice little Apple Maps FAQ for businesses. I thought it would be helpful to repeat it (and update it a little – in italics) here:

Q: How do I add, edit or update my business listing in Apple Maps?
A: No official answer currently exists. Best guesses:
- Use the “report a problem” link in the maps app and follow the instructions
- Add a new business entry to Yelp
- Add a new business entry to Tom Tom Places
- Read How To Add Your Business Listing to Apple Maps

Q: How do I fix my business location in Apple Maps?
 If your business is located in the wrong spot on the Map, in the “Report a Problem” section, you can either drag the map pin to the right location (which is not very accurate) or you can submit a recommendation for updating the location info.

Q: What is the verification process for changes to listings?
A: No official answer currently exists. In the U.S., my best guess is to use Localeze’s Premium Listings service. It’s likely to be faster than whatever internal process Apple is using.

Q: How do I monitor the progress of a listing amendment?
A: No official answer currently exists, but check for it in Apple Maps daily

Q: Can I take ownership of my business entry and have access to analytics data?
A: No official answer currently exists. My sources tell me that this is likely a year away.

Q: Will I be notified when my listing is updated?
A: No official answer currently exists. Evidence to date suggests if a change is made then the person reporting the problem is not notified.

Q: How will I know if my listing is rejected?

A: No official answer currently exists.

Q: How long can I expect it will take to have a new business listing added to the maps?
A: No official answer currently exists. Some reports suggest within 24hrs. Others have waited 18+days and still can not see their listing.

Reputation Management for Apple Maps

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Outside of your business not even existing on Apple Maps (see How To Add a Business To Apple Maps), probably the worst thing that could happen at the moment is that your business is listed but it presents a negative image.  This week at SMX East, I gave a talk on How To Optimize Your Business on Apple Maps and covered the two basic type of reputation management issues I have seen thus far:

Bad Photos
The business profile screen on Apple Maps plays a pretty cool slideshow made up of photos from your Yelp page. If you don’t have photos on your Yelp listing, then the satellite view of your location is shown. The problem is that if you have a bad picture, like say a cockroach in one of your hotel rooms, it don’t look too good:
Cockroach Photo Apple Maps

If this is happening to you, you definitely want to upload some more photos to your Yelp business listing to push the cockroach down in the list. There’s no guarantee you can make it not show up, but if there are a lot of photos for your business, it’s less likely the bug will be seen.

Bad Reviews
The “Reviews” screen on the Apple Maps business profile shows the most recent three Yelp reviews for your business (sometimes I have seen them display in a different order – this is likely a data synchronization issue that will fix itself over time). Because there are so few reviews displayed so prominently, having even one negative review up there is not a good thing. For example:
Alberto's Cantina Pleasanton Yelp Review

In cases like these you’ll want to get some good reviews right away to push these bad ones down. There doesn’t seem to be a review “diversity” algorithm that favors display of different opinions, but at some point I am sure that will happen. For now though, a couple of good reviews can get rid of that asap. Remember that in order to avoid getting these good reviews filtered, you should make sure the reviewers have some connections on Yelp to other reviewers, particularly Elite reviewers in your area/niche.

A Tip About Yelp Tips
If you can’t get the reviews on Yelp.com, you can leave a “Tip” via the Apple Maps profile. New tips get immediately added to your profile on the Yelp mobile app and may eventually show up on your Apple Maps profile, pushing the bad stuff down. That said, my initial tests show that reviews from Yelp.com show up pretty fast on Apple Maps.

That’s all for now. Let me know if you figure anything else out. As I discover more about how the system works, I’ll let you know.

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How To Add Your Business Listing To Apple Maps

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Source: OMGDroid

Want to know how to get your business listed on Apple Maps?  Too bad.  You can’t.  Not directly, anyhow.

UPDATE 10/22/14: Apple launched Apple Maps Connect to allow businesses to add and update their listings on Apple Maps! Check out my Apple Maps Connect FAQ.

But there are some rudimentary tools available for you to optimize your business presence on the maps as much as possible and add a location if it’s missing.  Here’s how:

Search for Your Business
Get your hands on an iPhone or iPad that has been updated to iOS6.  Open the Maps app and enter your business name and location in the search box.  Make sure you use the location.   In its current state, Apple Maps can get easily confused if the query is not precise.  In fact, because the app suffers from quirky data consistency issues, I recommend you do the following searches, just to make sure your business shows up for all of them:

- business name + city
- business name + city + state
- business name + street address
- business name + street address + city
- business name + street address + city + state
- business phone number

If your business listing does not appear for any of these queries, it’s possible that you may have one of the following issues:

- Apple Maps does not have your business in its database
- Apple Maps is confusing your location with a different location (e.g. Miami, FL v. Miami, OH)
- Apple Maps does not have your location in its database

Here are some ways you can try to correct the situation:

Adding Your Business Listing To Apple Maps Database

There are three main ways to currently add a US-based business to Apple Maps:

    1. Report Your Location to Apple Maps
      i.     Search for your location
      ii.     In the location detail click the “Report a Problem” link
      iii.     Choose the appropriate problem
      iv.     Choose “Other” on the Report a Problem screen
      v.     Add your business data via the various fields and submitIt’s unclear how often Apple is updating the maps based on user-submitted data, but my guess is they are furiously figuring out how to do it asap.

    2. Add Your Business to Yelp
      Yelp syndicates reviews and other content to Apple Maps.  If your business has been verified on Yelp, there’s a good chance that it will show up on the maps.  If you do not already have a business listing on Yelp, check out How To Add Your Business Listing To Yelp.Again, it’s unclear how often Apple updates the Yelp data, but my guess is this is some of the more frequently updated data on the maps.
    3. Submit Your Business to Localeze
      Localeze is the core U.S. business listing data provider for Apple Maps.  If your business is not listed on Apple Maps, go to this URL to check if your business is in Localeze’s database.  If not, you can submit your information to Localeze for free.  That said, the free submissions can take a while to make it into the database.  Depending on how complex it is to verify your submission, the premium submission ($297/year) can take 1-2 weeks.  Localeze provides updates to Apple on a regular basis, although we don’t know how often Apple is updating the Localeze data.  Note: Localeze Premium listings retail for $397. I can get it for you a lot cheaper, so get in touch if you need a submission.
    4. Submit Your Business to Factual
      Factual.com is another key global business listing data provider. You can submit your listing here.
    5. Submit Your Business to Acxiom
      Acxiom is yet another global data provider to Apple Maps. You can submit U.S. listings via My Business Listing Manager.
    6. Add Your Business to OpenStreetMap
      OpenStreetMap is kind of like the Wikipedia of maps. Anyone can contribute to it. It’s a bit complicated but once you figure it out, it’s pretty easy. Apparently Apple was using an old version of OSM, but it may have been updated by now.

In the future, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple creates a formal business claiming process, but I wouldn’t expect that for at least another year.  I doubt Apple is going to create its own data verification process.  Working through a system to allow business claiming while running verification through its various data partners is likely less of a priority than making sure the mapping functionality works.

If you are asking yourself “how can I add my business to Apple maps?” and you don’t have a good answer, feel free to contact me and I might be able to help.

UPDATE: I am now offering a service to help get your business listed on Apple Maps. More info here.