Apple, Watch this: Local search engine optimization (LSEO) might be the biggest industry feeling the impact from the latest smartwatch. The idea of a smartwatch is nothing new, but (surprise!) Apple’s offering just might have what it takes to ring in a brand new tech era along with the New Year. Coming to shelves in early 2015, it just might bring drastic changes to LSEO. What does that mean for your business, online presence, and SEO strategy?
You might think that the only possible game changers are search engine algorithms and recommended best practices—and you’re mostly right. However, anyone who wants to improve their visibility online, brand, and reputation needs to take a closer look at how this latest smartwatch might force changes. Wearable tech is interesting as a trend, but it hasn’t caught on with the general public (sorry, Google Glass).
But with this watch featuring Apple Music, Siri, Apple Play, and what’s certainly going to be oodles of apps, it’s already staking claim as the ultimate in wearable tech. However, it’s the mapping feature that has SEO pros buzzing.
Maps & SEO
There won’t be any audio directions or maps with the Apple Watch. Instead, it’ll feature “haptic feedback” so the wearer can enjoy directions without needing their hands or eye. Right now, LSEO is 100 percent linked to search engines—especially Google. This means LSEO and SEO strategies cater to what Google wants. In 2014, more people began using mobile devices than PCs, which pushed SEO towards embracing different types of keywords (as people searched differently on mobile devices and/or spoke key phrases).
Evolution in 2014 has been minimal, but with Siri’s debut and the Apple Watch coming up, that trend of spoken key phrases might really explode. People may not be searching via typing as much—but there’s a catch. Siri relies on Bing, not Google, to get information. Does this mean SEO pros will need to pamper Bing as much as (or instead of) Google? Maybe.
Apple Map Influences
Obviously, this smartwatch will boast Apple Maps as a default. Even though a slew of iPhone consumers still prefer Google Maps, the smartwatch might change that. For local business owners—or anyone bolstering LSEO—this means they’ll need to optimize for Apple Maps. And Apple Maps looks at area businesses in a way no other technology does.
You can’t “claim yourself” as a business with Apple Maps. However, you can complain about listing mistakes, but the process is nowhere near as efficient as Yahoo!’s. On the bright side, Apple does get some data from major directories like Yelp, so one tactic might be ensuring those directories are up to date. Great marketers and SEO firms already do this, but it might be a major clean-up effort for small businesses with DIY marketing campaigns.
Going Hyper Local
It’s expected that the Apple Watch will mimic Google’s approach to hyper local. For example, searching for “juice bar” will cause your smartwatch to pinpoint your location via the IP address, then provide suggestions of where to get your juice nearby. This might revolutionize local search using GPS, narrowing down results to make them even better. You may no longer get results within a certain city, but perhaps within just a couple of blocks.
Right now a lot of potential Apple Watch waves are speculative, and good LSEO basics are still in place. However, put optimization for Apple Maps and Bing on the 2015 to-do list. Get ready to go hyper local, and you’ll be in good shape for the era of the smartwatch.