The total number of voice searches made using virtual assistants such as Siri and Alexa is increasing dramatically year on year.
Currently, 50% of all searches are made by voice, with around 30% made without a screen, using popular smart speaker systems such as the HomePod and HomePod Mini.
Wearable devices such as the Apple Watch are also contributing to user's change in voice search behavior.
Tight integration of Siri into all Apple products, plus improvements in convenience, accuracy, and features, means that voice search popularity will only grow in coming years.
How does Siri search work?
When you ask Siri to find a service, for example, by saying:
Hey Siri, find me an electrician
The virtual assistant does the following:
- Sends the query to Apple's servers for translation.
- Searches through Apple's database of information, such as Apple Maps and connected third-party services, such as Yelp.
So if you run a small or medium-sized business, you should ensure it appears in search results when people ask Siri to find the services you provide.
To do this, you must add your business to Apple Maps.
In addition to appearing in Siri search results, registering your business with Apple Maps means users can get directions and see your opening times from their device.
How to find out if your business is already listed in Apple Maps.
To check if your business is already listed in Apple Maps:
- Tap the Maps icon on your device.
- Type the name of your business in the search box.
- If your company appears, then your business is already registered.
If you don't find your business listed in Apple Maps, you will need to manually add your business using the Apple Maps Connect website. You'll need to be at a computer and have an Apple ID to log in to Maps Connect.
How to add a business to Apple Maps
Apple's Maps Connect lets small companies submit and edit map listings for their business without contacting Apple directly.
To add your business to Apple Maps, you'll need to do the following:
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
- Claim your business if it is already listed.
- Add your business details.
- Submit and verify your listing.
You'll need to register for the service first. Visit Apple's Maps Connect page and sign in using your Apple ID and password. If you don't have an Apple ID, you will need to create one.
Once logged in, you'll be asked to confirm your language and subscribe to news about Maps Connect.
Agree to the terms and conditions
Next, you'll be asked to review the terms and conditions. They are pretty lengthy, so we recommend pressing the Send by email button to get a hard copy delivered to your inbox.
Importantly, you must ensure you own any images or other assets you provide in the registration process.
You must also agree that the information you submit may be used within Apple's products and services, its affiliates, partners, licensees, and third-party developers.
Claim your business if it is already listed
If your business was listed in search results, you can claim the business as your own.
- Enter your Business name and Location.
- Click Search.
Once you have claimed your business, you need to input its details; this is done in the same way as adding a new business, described below.
Add your business
On the Maps Connect page, you'll be asked to search for your business by name.
Tap the Add new place button (you won't need to do this if you're claiming a business).
You'll be asked for the place (business) name, country, phone number, business status (open, moved, closed), business categories, and if you accept Apple Pay.
Choose your categories wisely. Your ranking in search results can be affected by your selection. You can pick one primary category and two alternative categories.
Maps Connect will suggest predefined categories as you type in the Categories box. You must select a predefined category. Fill in all three category options if possible. It can really help your placement in search results.
Submit and verify your listing
Once you've input all of your information, tap Continue to submit your listing to Apple.
This is an easy process. Apple Maps will ask you to click to call me now; this triggers an automated call that provides you with a PIN to use for verification.
You may also receive a call from Apple if they need to verify your business information.
Note: Every time you add, claim or edit a business listing, the Maps Connect application requires phone verification.
Final approval by Apple
Once you've completed the steps above, Apple needs a few days to approve your submission. Log in to Maps Connect in a week or so to see if your company information is displayed under your My places list.
How do I improve my search result ranking on Siri?
To improve your ranking in Siri search listings, it's worth registering your business with third-party services that Apple uses to provide results.
Yelp is currently the most helpful in this regard (in the US).
Maps Connect will enhance your Apple Maps listing with photos and reviews from Yelp. Ensure your Yelp listing is optimized to include enticing descriptions and pictures. Getting as many 5 star reviews as possible will also help a great deal.
Likewise, register your business in as many popular local directories as possible.
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