*Updated 12/16/15 to include the Associated Press’ findings
Apple has sold nearly 100 million iPhones in the U.S. and continues to make major updates and enhancements that make it easier for customers to find local businesses nearby. *A recent report by the Associated Press (via VentureBeat) found that Apple Maps is now used three times as often as Google Maps on iPhone and iPad.

The company began rolling out TripAdvisor reviews for the hospitality industry on Apple Maps several months ago. Now, Apple iPhone and Yelp have partnered to make your Yelp listing, your star rating, what people say, and your responses to what people say more valuable than ever.

There has been a lot of research into the value of business listings, online ratings and reviews. With this new iPhone and Yelp partnership reaching 42% of people who use mobile phones, here are some major findings that are important to your business:

Local Search

Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 9, has the highest adoption rate, ever, by iPhone users. One of the major features comes from the iPhone and Yelp partnership which makes local search easier and more convenient through the iPhone virtual assistant, Siri, or Apple Maps. Lists of categories including Food, Drink, Shopping, Fun, and more are shown with sub-categories for more in‑depth listings. For example, under Food, you’ll see: Popular, Restaurants, Groceries, Fast Food, Cafés, Bakeries, and Desserts.

Nearby

The new feature called Nearby is what powers Local Search. When customers search for local businesses on iPhone, Apple Maps displays “nearby” Yelp listings; users are then provided with reviews, photos, and information such as whether the business is closed for the day. The businesses are listed by popularity based on the overall strength of their Yelp listings and proximity to the customer.

Your Yelp listing and reviews are more important than ever now that customers searching for local businesses on iPhone see the best Yelp listings first. Make sure iPhone users can find your Yelp listing and that they will like what they see in your ratings and reviews.

Actions You Should Take

Have you claimed your business listings? Have you entered the history of your business on Yelp? Do you have a personal biography, appropriate business hours, address, and other important information listed correctly?

All of these things factor into how you will appear when customers are comparing you with other businesses in your area.

Even if you are listed appropriately, there are some other things you should consider:

  • What should you do if a review violates a site’s content guidelines?
  • Should you reply to negative reviews?
  • Should you reply to positive reviews?

Engaging with consumers is extremely important. Studies have shown that consumers trust a business more if a management response is present on all reviews, both positive and negative.

All-In-One Solution

If you are feeling overwhelmed or are unsure of where to begin, Merchant Centric offers both listing management and reputation management services. Everything you need to easily manage your listings and reviews on top sites is all in one place and the Merchant Centric team can even do a lot of the work for you. This will ensure you get found on iPhone and Yelp, and ultimately get chosen more often by the hundreds of millions of people who use iPhone and Yelp every day.

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