Who would have thought that the Daily Golden Nugget series would ever get this far? Today is Nugget Number 600! I have to warn you that this one is going to be a #longread compared to my usual.
My very first Nugget was about Google Maps and how it could drive customers directly to your store. Each multiple of 100 since then has also been about Google Maps, Google Local, Google Places, and Google+ Local. But today it seems I must now include a new interloper... Apple Maps.
For starters, if you've not yet set up your own jewelry store business listing in Google then navigate your way over to http://places.google.com/business to get started. You will have to claim your business account using your telephone number. Once you fill out your business listing you will appear in the Google+ Local directory and on Google Maps. Your business listing will also appear in the Google search results.
Setting up your Google+ Local account will take some time to fill in your business information and select all the options that make sense for a jewelry store. You should use as much legitimate information as possible in your listing because it will help Google determine when your store appears for simple searches like "jewelry store."
Typically, if you search the phrase "jewelry store" on your desktop computer, Google will provide search results for the location it thinks your computer is located. By default this will always be the location of your internet provider, which might be several miles away. Google won't know your exact location unless you specifically change your Search Tools settings to your town or zip code.
On the other hand, when searching for "jewelry store" on your Android or iPhone, Google is able to use your precise location if you allow it. When searching on a smartphone you can be sure to find the most local results to you, even if you are in your home. The more tech savvy consumers are already starting to favor local searches using their smartphones rather than their desktop computers.
As a business owner you might pay a lot of money for SEO to show up when specific phrases are searched, but that might not be worth it if your optimization efforts are only targeting keywords and not your town and surrounding towns. Additionally, local searches on a smartphone rely heavily on the business listing databases that feed various mapping technologies.
When the iPhone 5 and Apple iOS 6 hit the market in September 2012 there was a huge change in how mapping technologies work and the underlying databases that power them. Apple released its own Maps application that replaced Google Maps, unfortunately the business database for Apple was seriously lacking.
Apple Maps is now the default mapping application within the iPhone. Every program that needs to display a map will have to use the poorly designed Apple Maps, along with the ineffective business database that powers it. Apple actually chose a paid service for their database, unfortunately most business owners will not want to pay for a business listing when Google provides it for free.
So here's how all this affects the retail jeweler...
For the following comparisons I'm using an iPhone 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S III. I'm also using the default web browser that comes with each phone. I'm also allowing each phone to detect my precise location. I am searching for the phrase "jewelry stores" using both smartphones.
Google searches using the Android web browser or the iPhone Safari web browser provide the same results. The google.com SERP looks slightly different between the Android and iPhone because the Android has a much larger screen. Both mobile SERP results show a small map with pin locations.
The iPhone provides 10 business listings and a few ads, but no organic listings. The Android results show 7 business listings and 9 organic results. All the business listings are within a mile of my location but the organic listings are all national brands or e-tailers, like Kay, Jared, and Tiffany.
Here's where the big change starts to happen between the Android and the iPhone. When you tap the small map on the Android, you are given the option to open the Google Maps app, but when you tap the small map on the iPhone it converts the small map into a movable map within Safari. Prior to the iOS 6, the iPhone would also open the Google Maps app.
It might seem like Google is trying to usurp Apple Maps, but in actuality even Apple's CEO admitted that Apple Maps is a horrible program. Google has take several huge steps to provide a better user experience by animating the map from within the browser.
Okay, now let's move on to how things really fall apart in the iPhone 5 compared to the Android. I'm now testing the search for "jewelry stores" in Google Maps on the Android and Apple Maps on the iPhone.
The Google results immediately zooms into my location and shows me the 3 jewelry stores that are all within walking distance of my office. A single screen tap allows me to see a list of more than 10 local jewelry stores.
The Apple results strangely show me a very broad view of Long Island, NY and the western part of Connecticut. For those of you that don't know, I'm in northern New Jersey, only 15 miles west of New York City. Even though the iPhone is allowed to read my exact physical location it chose to show me 10 jewelry stores that were more than 50 miles from me.
There is a simple fix to making Apple Maps work the way you would actually expect. You simple need to search for "jewelry stores near me." This is not a very intuitive solution for anyone, but it is provided as a suggestion and I expect aggravated users will eventually figure it out.
Apple Maps also provides 10 results, but most of them are much further away than the 3 stores within walking distance of my office. At least one of the business listings is extremely outdated because it lists the store name as "Kevin's Gold Post" which not only changed its name more than 7 years ago, but they also moved!
In other words, Apple Maps is not reliable at all, but people will still use it. The foremost reason that Apple Maps was created was to give iPhone users a spoken turn-by-turn navigation system for driving. Google Maps also has spoken turn-by-turn directions on the Android, but the voice feature was not available on the iPhone.
I've already interviewed iPhone 5 users that were happy with the spoken navigation feature. They were disappointed in the lack of business listing, but that doesn't matter if you already know the exact address.
My first Daily Golden Nugget concluded with instructions to sign up for Google Maps because it will literally drive people to your front door. Here we are 600 Nuggets later and I now have to advise you to sign up for Apple Maps because it was SPECIFICALLY designed to drive people to your front door.
Since this Nugget is already too long, I don't have room to tell you how to pay for your listing in Apple Maps. Send me a message through the jwag.biz website, through Twitter @matthewperosi, through Google+, or through facebook.com/matthewperosi and I'll tell you how to do it.
Thanks for reading Number 600. If you're signed up for the jWAG drinking game, it's time to take a drink!