Sep 17, 2012

Local Search, Yelp Reviews and Apple Maps

by: in SEO

Last week Apple unveiled the new iPhone 5 and during that announcement was discussion around the new iOS6. While most of the information was also presented during Apple’s announcement in June, re-reading about the features via various blogs and CNET’s live stream from the Apple event, it became even more apparent that Apple is moving to help consumers integrate their mobile, social and search.

While iOS6 offers some improved technical features overall, as a search marketer I continue to be most intrigued by the increased Yelp integration with Apple Maps. While Yelp reviews already appear with Siri voice search results on the iPhone 4S, the new Apple Maps appear to showcase Yelp reviews --- that correspond to the place selected. This integration brings the need for reviews to a new level … and increases the need to encourage businesses to encourage clients to write those reviews. In terms of search, reviews matter. As we have seen with Siri and Google+ Local changes, those reviews are becoming determining factors in search results and those review “stars” appearing as part of the search results snippets. 

So, what does this mean for your SEO strategy? As we had mentioned before in our voice search blogs, make sure your locations all listed in Yelp with an optimized description and are included in the categories most closely related to your business. Additionally, encourage Yelp reviews by customers. Implementing these, or similar strategies, drives your SEO strategy from a broad approach to a more focused approach – local search. As Apple Maps continue to develop and Google Maps + Google+ Local continue to evolve, your local SEO efforts and customer engagement will become more important to your overall search marketing strategy. This in turn results in the opportunity to integrate your local search strategy with your other local marketing tactics from traditional media to social media.