After years of speculation, Apple has finally announced the upcoming release of their smartwatch, named simply the Apple Watch. Scheduled to launch early 2015, the Apple Watch will have features including Siri, Apple Play, music, fitness applications, and more. However, for business owners and local marketers, perhaps the most important feature of the Apple Watch will be its mapping and directions functionality.
Apple Watch will be a local search device. It has specific features like “haptic feedback”, which buzzes left or right to enable hands-free directions. It will come preloaded with Apple Maps and will support the usual mapping functionality users have come to expect from smart devices. This means that business owners hoping to be found by Apple Watch users need to at least consider some simple Apple Watch marketing strategies.
Of course, optimizing for this kind of emerging technology will probably not be your first priority. More fundamental online strategies like having a well designed website, being active on social media, and implementing an SEO campaign are more important. However, Apple Watch represents a meaningful step forward in the trend of wearable computing and isn’t something that savvy marketers should ignore. In this post, we’ll talk about a few Apple Watch concepts and strategies that will help you keep your small business in Dallas ahead of the marketing curve.
Local SEO for Apple Maps
If you want to get found on Apple Watch (and really on iOS devices in general), you should consider how to optimize for Apple Maps. Unfortunately, this is not nearly as simple as it is on more robust local platforms like Google or Yelp. Apple Maps SEO is a complex and unclear system that could warrant a lengthy post of its own.
However, to cover the basics, you should understand that Apple does not really currently have a “claim your business” system similar to other local directories. You can use the “report a problem” function in Apple Maps to submit new business data or correct wrong data, but this is obviously not as solid as a claimed business on Yelp, for example. However, you should still submit edits in this way through the Apple Maps application if you notice your business is listed incorrectly or not listed at all.
Beyond that, you’ll want to work on optimizing the data sources from which Apple Maps draws local business information. Apple Maps, like many other services, pulls huge amounts of local business information from data-rich providers like Yelp, Localeze, Factual, TomTom, Acxiom, and others. Submitting your business to all of these providers with complete, accurate, and rich data will go a long way towards developing a strong listing on Apple Maps.
The Siri-Bing Connection
Siri continues to be a core iOS feature. Regardless of your personal usage of this service – most people probably aren’t using it that much – Apple is definitely doubling down on Siri. Over time, as the technology becomes smarter and more accurate, Siri usage could see major growth. It additionally seems to make sense as a watch feature, and could see a usage spike within the Apple Watch platform.
Business owners should note that when a user performs a voice search on Siri (like “find a restaurant in Dallas”), Siri pulls local business results and information from Bing, not Google. Considering Apple’s long-standing rivalry with Microsoft, many people find this surprising, but clearly the partnership comes from Apple’s directly competitive relationship with Google Android.
For marketers, this means that your Bing optimization needs to be in place to properly leverage Siri local search. For some details on Bing SEO, you can read our past blog post on the subject, but to cover the basics briefly, business owners should be sure to claim their businesses on Bing Places, register and monitor a Bing Webmaster Tools account, and review their Bing rankings and traffic regularly to discover issues and potential opportunities.
The Big Picture of Wearable Computing and the Mobile Web
When new technology developments like Apple Watch occur, it’s always helpful to step back and try to consider the bigger picture. Since the smartphone revolution, we’ve seen the web transform over the last few years, and we can be be reasonably sure that the mobile revolution is just getting started.
With Apple Watch and similar technologies like Google Glass, the trend of wearable computing is starting to go mainstream. This means a future of connected consumers with constant access to information, entertainment, and digital solutions to everyday problems.
For business owners, it means an increasingly rich marketplace to engage consumers with your brand and identity. However, it also means a world of added complexity that is quickly leaving the days of yellow pages and printed media far behind.
The launch of Apple Watch is just one of many recent signals that business owners need to modernize their marketing and embrace the digital revolution to further grow their brands. If you’re a business owner looking to better leverage technology, the time to act is now. Contact the Tech-Critic team today to learn more about digital solutions for your small business.