Whether you're a business owner or a professional working in local SEO, you've most certainly heard of and are (hopefully) using Google Business Profile (GBP), Google's online business listing directory for Google Maps.
But how much do you know about Apple Business Connect, Apple's answer to GBP? If you've never heard of it, or if you're just now starting to investigate it, you're not alone — Apple Business Connect was only launched in January 2023, and hasn't yet gained a ton of traction.
That being said, Apple Maps is a direct (and the largest) competitor to Google Maps, so you'd do well to start using Apple Business Connect now to get a foot ahead of the competition.
Plus, Local Falcon already supports local rank tracking for businesses on Apple Maps, so you can start incorporating Apple Business Connect rank tracking, reporting, and optimizations into your local SEO efforts today.
What Is Apple Business Connect? Everything You Need To Know
Apple Business Connect is Apple's free web-based portal for listing and managing businesses on Apple Maps, the native maps application on iOS devices.
Apple Business Connect caters to businesses and users of all different sizes and types. When you add a business to Apple Maps, you can select whether it's a small business or part of a franchise with less than 25 locations, or an enterprise business with 25+ locations. You can also add a business to Apple Maps as a third-party partner listing if you're a business listing manager or local SEO professional who manages listings for various businesses.
Users who add businesses to Apple Business Connect must complete a verification process to take ownership of any listing, allowing them to manage it and edit business information, such as location, contact info, and business categories. This whole process is very similar to taking ownership of a Google Business Profile listing.
Is Apple Business Connect the Same as Apple Maps?
Yes and no — Apple Maps is the name of Apple's proprietary maps application, which comes pre-installed on iPhones, iPads, and other Apple devices, while Apple Business Connect is an integrated platform that allows users to list and manage business information on Apple Maps.
Businesses have always existed on Apple Maps in some form or another (previously through a now long-defunct integration with Google Maps, in fact), but Apple didn't offer users anything comparable to Google Business Profile until it launched Apple Business Connect earlier this year.
How Important Is Apple Business Connect?
Over the years, many mobile users — even diehard iPhone users — have made the switch to using Google Maps over Apple Maps on their smartphones and other iOS devices, simply because Google Maps has been the superior product for a long time.
One of the biggest reasons so many users have made the switch from Apple Maps to Google Maps was that many local businesses were either missing from Apple Maps altogether or the app provided incorrect information about businesses.
However, Apple has been steadily making improvements to Maps, and some iOS users are starting to switch back to Apple Maps as their preferred navigation app.
Business Connect is the latest and most significant improvement that Apple has made to Maps, and its launch is a clear push from Apple to gain back some of the local search market share from Google.
Now that business owners and third-party listing managers can take full ownership of how their businesses appear on Apple Maps, it's important to do so in order to ensure listing accuracy and consistency on the world's second most popular maps app.
Not only that, but just as they can on Google Business Profile listings, customers can leave opinions and reviews on Apple Business Connect listings, and listing managers can respond and engage with them. These types of online interactions are an important part of local SEO.
Google Maps still dominates the local search market, but the launch of Apple Business Connect and the fact that some former Google Maps users are switching back to Apple Maps on iOS mean that it's important for businesses to get started with Apple Business Connect sooner, rather than later.
As awareness of the platform increases and the number of Apple Maps users continues to grow, Business Connect is sure to start ramping up in importance when it comes to local SEO.
By including both Google Business Profile and Apple Business Connect optimizations in your local SEO strategy, you can ensure you're reaching a combined 90% or more of users searching for local businesses like yours on their preferred maps app.
Apple Business Connect is a long time coming, and we're excited to see how it settles into the world of local SEO.
As we mentioned earlier, you can already track local rankings on Apple Maps in Local Falcon, providing additional data points for your local SEO reporting and strategy implementation.
If you haven't already done so, add your business to Apple Maps today and start monitoring and optimizing its position with Local Falcon's local rank tracker for Apple Business Connect!