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Apple Maps’ Business Data Quality Strategy

November 25th, 2014

apple-maps-connect

Last week, when we uncovered that Apple Maps had cut deals with at least ten new companies (e.g. Yext, Location3, Yodle, etc.) to provide business listings data, I got a few emails asking what the big deal was. Here’s what I see is going on:

  1. Apple has come to realize that organizing the world’s local business listings information is no small job
  2. Apple has come to realize that relying on big data aggregators is great for getting bulk but not so great for getting quality, particularly when you want real-time info like whether or not a location is open or closed at the moment
  3. By partnering with big local marketing tech co’s and agencies, Apple gets partners to do the heavy lifting in local data for the most popular local businesses, big multi-location brands and SMBs with budgets to hire these partners to take care of their data issues for them. My estimate is that these deals will cover about 1,000,000 listings in the U.S. alone. And with companies like Yext & Yodle expanding globally, over the next year, that number should grow considerably
  4. While I expect Apple to bring more partners into the fold over time, the companies on the initial list get a huge differentiator v. their competitors. To date, Apple Maps has been a virtual black box for most businesses but we are hearing from companies on the list that since we published the post they have been contacted by clients and potential clients who want to get more info on the service. At a time when it’s hard to tell one local digital marketing service from another, a slide depicting a direct pipeline into Apple Maps makes for a pretty sweet pitch deck. I imagine the companies that are not on the list – Moz Local, Local Site Submit, GoDaddy, Local Market Launch, MomentFeed, ReachLocal, Where2GetIt & RioSEO come to mind – have been Facetiming the Apple Maps team aggressively over the past few days.

I think this will be a big win for Apple Maps. If the system works, we should see a dramatic increase in POI data quality quickly. I know that Google has done similar deals like this with Yellow Pages companies in non-U.S. countries. Maybe they have even done them in the U.S. but I haven’t heard about it. Seems like a much better way to go than relying on some ever-shifting algorithm.

This isn’t the link you are looking for
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→ 5 CommentsTags: Apple Maps · Local Data · Local Search
Posted by Andrew Shotland

An Agency Client Started Using This Local SEO Audit Template And You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next

November 21st, 2014

Their clients’ local and organic search rankings and traffic started going up :-)

Seriously though, earlier this week I presented this talk at the fantastic State of Search conference in Dallas. One of the things I tried to stress is the importance of a diversified SEO strategy for local clients. Here at Local SEO Guide, that always begins with an audit.

It’s the guiding document for the earlier part of our engagements and almost always surfaces quick wins for both us and the client. That generally means happier clients and longer engagements. Now that audit is available for all of you right here. I wanted this more to be a checklist, so I channeled my inner Annie Cushing and also included how to perform the check as well as suggestions to follow if there is a problem.

Don’t ask for editing rights for the document, as I won’t be providing them. However, feel free to make a copy that you can edit to your heart’s content. I plan on regularly updating the document as I have time, so please send any additions you want to share to (dan [at] localseoguide [dot] com) and I will add those to the doc and credit you in an update.

→ 14 CommentsTags: Local Search · SEO Tools · Technical SEO
Posted by Dan Leibson

Apple Maps Rejects Home-Based Businesses

November 20th, 2014

It’s Apple Maps week over here. Just wanted to point you over to my latest post on AMM, Apple Maps Is Not Intended To Be A General Business Directory, my rant on why I think Apple Maps should allow home-based businesses to be listed. Kind of ironic given this from the U.S. Small Business Administration:

“What do Apple Computer, Hershey’s, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the Ford Motor Company have in common? These well-known corporations all started out as home-based businesses. In fact, more than half of all U.S. businesses are based out of an owner’s home.”

 

→ 4 CommentsTags: Apple Maps · Local Data · Local Search · Online Maps
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Apple Maps “Announces” New U.S. Business Listings Data Providers

November 19th, 2014

Just posted this on the Apple Maps Marketing blog, but it’s too big a deal to not put here as well:

At the launch of Apple Maps Connect, we submitted an inquiry about submitting a client with a few hundred locations to Apple Maps.  Today we received the following email:

“Thank you for your recent inquiry and interest in publishing your business locations via our new Business Portal. At this time, we are only accepting bulk submissions from businesses with at least 1,000 locations. In the meantime, you may want to research the service offerings provided by the following companies that currently provide us business listing information on behalf of their clients: (in alphabetical order):

DAC Group
Factual
Location3 Media
Marquette Group
Neustar/Localeze
Placeable
PositionTech
SIM Partners
SinglePlatform
UBL
Yelp
Yext
Yodle

Please note: Information about third party services is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Apple does not warrant or guarantee any particular result (including publication of your business in Apple Maps) or the accuracy or reliability of any services provided by any third parties referenced herein.”

While we already knew that Factual, Neustar/Localeze and Yelp were providing data, all of these other companies are new. This should be a huge windfall for them. Also what happened to Acxiom?

 

→ No CommentsTags: Apple Maps · Yelp · Yext.com · Yodle
Posted by Andrew Shotland

Local Directories May Survive Google’s New Local Knowledge Pack

November 18th, 2014

Last week, Google started to switch out its local Carousel results for a new set of mobilish-type pack results that appear to rely heavily on its local Knowledge Panels, so let’s call it a Knowledge Pack, or “K-Pack”, for the purposes of this post.

In his seminal post Some Thoughts On The New Pak Results From Google, Professor Blumenthal mused:

“I would love to hear what happens to web traffic for the directory type sites that seemed to be doing well when shown below the Carousel. Clearly this was prime space for TripAdvisor, Yelp etc and this can not have been good for their traffic. In unpublished user research that I did, a number of users would flat out ignore the carousel and move right to a branded website like TA or Yelp. I doubt that behavior persists with this display.”

What the Professor wants, the Professor gets.

While I don’t have access to either Yelp’s or Trip Advisor’s analytics, I do have access to some pretenders to the local throne. Here is the Google traffic to the “geo-category pages” (e.g. “Merkins in Olean, NY”) for a national local directory site focused on one of the verticals that is now displaying the K-Pack:

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic
Total Google Traffic New K-Pack
Traffic was down about 6% on the 12th and has almost fully recovered.

I am not seeing these results in California much but I do get them often for New York searches so I looked at the traffic for these different regions and you can see that New York traffic has been somewhat more impacted.

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – New York Region
Kpack California Google Traffic
Traffic was down about 11% on the 12th, but recovered to being down only about 3% over the weekend.

U.S. Local Entertainment Directory Site: Google Traffic – California Region
Kpack New York Google Traffic
While traffic was down about 8% on the 12th, it quickly recovered on the 13th.

Of course this is just one site’s data over a few days, but this pattern is similar to Pigeon’s in that Google does not appear to be trying to royally screw local directories with a new local SERP. It has plenty of other ways to do that after all.

 

 

→ 3 CommentsTags: Google · Google+ Local · Local Data · Local Search · Yellow Pages
Posted by Andrew Shotland