Map Wars: Apple v Google

As now has become customary, every autumn heralds the launch of a new Apple iPhone 5 and with this also comes the media whipping the Apple die hards into frenzy. The launch of a new iPhone  also can bring with it some interesting implications for the SEO industry and this year is no different.

One of the biggest talking points in 2012 has been the launch of Apple’s new map app which is now the default map application on the iPhone 5 replacing Google Maps. The plot thickens further as at the time of writing there is no news on a new Google Maps App for the iPhone 5.

But why exactly have Apple launched their own maps? Well it is clear that this has not been an overnight foray into the world of mapping by Apple and will have been in the pipeline for some time.

In fact I’d take an educated guess that the rapid growth of the smart phone industry coupled with the huge growth in local search has seen Apple identify this as a key area for growth. With Google pretty much cornering the online maps market since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, users reliance on smart phone maps has exploded and the accuracy of pin pointing your exact location coupled with a the wealth of business information that is available on Google Maps is breathtaking.

Where the new Apple Maps currently fall short is that they cannot match Google database of business across the globe which they have built up over the past few years. However, this is a work in progress for Apple and with mapping technology being supplied by TomTom and Business information supplied by Yelp they certainly have some powerful allies to make sure this is a success. With nifty additions such as 3D Mapping (you can now view Big Ben from 360 degrees) and Siri acting as an inbuilt sat nav system Apple are certainly trying to make their service stand out from Google’s offering.

Of course, this also has a knock on effect for local search and while it has been paramount for some time to ensure that your business is registered and verified for a Google Places (local) listing, it is going to become just as important to make sure your business is registered for an Apple Maps listing too.

If your business doesn’t yet have a listing on Apple Maps here are the steps you will need to follow:

1)      Buy an iPhone 5 (or borrow one!)

2)      Open the Apple Maps app

3)      Search for your business name

4)      Select the page fold in the bottom right

5)      Select Report a Problem

6)      Select Location is missing, then Next

7)      Position the pin to the correct location, then Next

8)      Enter your business details; don’t forget to enter the business name!

9)      Make sure you select a category

10)   Finally, select Send

Unfortunately there is no timescale available at this moment as to when your business will then actually appear as a map listing. But it’s advisable to steal a march on your competitors by ensuring that you are registered first and give early adopters and Apple fans another way to find you online.