What a week. In this digital age, the ripple from a wave extends a long way, across many industries. Apple’s co-founder and figurehead, Steve Jobs, passed away this week at 56 years old. A wide range of people at the tops of several industries have made a point to tip their hat to Steve Jobs and his brilliant impact on the world and all of our lives. He has created a legacy with limitless potential, that we will be reminded of with each new product and service that Apple introduces.
In a fitting manner, Apple released the I-Phone 4S this week, with a new technology that many believe will be a major game changer in the industry. This new technology is called Siri, a personal assistant application that reacts to voice commands and questions. While demonstrating the new phone’s exciting addition, Apple’s software VP Scott Forstall asked Siri matter-of-factly “Will I need a raincoat today?”, to which she replied quickly “Looks like rain”. Siri will also help searchers find local stores, restaurants, and services. So now, instead of taking the (still relatively short time) to search your phone for this information on a browser or separate application, Siri will respond in no time with an accurate answer. Siri can also make appointments, send messages, and a wide variety of other functions you would want from an actual personal assistant.
From an SEO standpoint, Siri’s introduction to the world is a revelation. In early interviews, Jobs claimed Siri was not a tool to help bring Apple into the search market. But like it or not, by using Yelp as the exclusive data provider for Siri’s local information, Apple has a dog in the fight, and is now a direct competitor to Google’s Places pages.
In an earlier post, we talk about the importance of local businesses claiming or submitting their business to Yelp. At the time of that post, Yelp was important as a data provider for search engines like Google and Bing who would pull info and reviews from the popular review site. Now that millions of excited Apple users will be turning to Siri (and singing its praises once the bugs are worked out), it has become more than important to perform local optimization on your Yelp page. Now, it’s vital.
In addition to making sure all of your information is accurate and your photos and descriptions are listed; you will want to entice your current loyal customers to review your site. Siri will be taking reviews and ratings into consideration, though not always directly. Respond in a professional manner to your negative reviews. Respond enthusiastically to your positive ones. Offer incentives to existing and new customers to have them write about you. There are also professional SEO firms that can optimize and manage your Yelp local pages and review management for you.
Before the news that Steve Jobs had passed, there was tremendous buzz that Apple could be releasing the IPhone 5, and a collective sigh that only the 4S would be released for the time being. But as the impact of the 4S and its new technology ripples from industry to industry and to the hands of more and more searchers, one has to take a minute this week to see how far we’ve come thanks to one man’s creative visions.
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