Apple released a statement in August 2020 that there will be changes in their Apple Maps rating system. This announcement had stirred up speculations on Twitter about what this new rating solution would mean to users and other third-party review apps. The news regarding the changes in rating system was released after they added new features in Apple Maps, such as indoor maps and favorite locations last February of the same year.
It has been reiterated that the new rating solution would not be reviews but ratings. Beta testing was done on iOS 14 and will shortly be launched worldwide. At present, Apple Maps depends on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Foursquare regarding review data.
What to Expect
With the current situation, if Apple users would like to learn more about business reviews via Apple Maps, they will be redirected to TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Foursquare. They will be asked to download the app, which is a bit inconvenient to users. That will all change with the new rating solution.
Instead of downloading the app, Apple will have its own rating system. Based on what Apple had released it seems like it is somehow similar to Facebook recommendations where users can rate a business by using a thumbs up or thumbs down sign.
Since they won’t be downloading third-party apps which is a great relief to users, the new rating system will give its users and Apple more control. The way the new rating solution was presented is that a business will be rated in categories, instead of just leaving a thumbs up or down rating as a whole. Users can rate a business’s services and products individually. Apart from that, Apple will allow users to upload their own photos to Apple maps, which is also similar to how it works with third-party review sites.
This is far from how Google Maps works, as users can write a comprehensive review about their experience in a particular business. This setup provides more value and insights into what other people can expect from an establishment, which can help them decide better. Similarly, users can also upload their own photos along with their detailed reviews.
You probably have a lot of questions going on inside your head right now. Like how these changes can affect the future of the review industry as well as the world of local SEO.
How will Apple Maps affect third-party review sites?
Taking these third-party review sites from Apple Maps will certainly have a big impact on them, particularly with Yelp. This may mean that people may be using less of Yelp once Apple Maps rolls out this new rating system. Some people were in favor of this, especially those who are not happy with Yelp’s performance.
However, Cori Graft, a local SEO expert noted that without the help of Yelp, Apple Maps ratings will not earn high stars. It was through Yelp that Apple users get relevant and helpful insights into businesses. So, what does it means to Yelp when Apple gets rid of them through their Apple Maps? Will it mean lesser users and interaction on Yelp? Since based on Statista, there are 23.3 million users (unique) that use Apple Maps every month. This can lessen the number of people who use Yelp. That being said, will this also decrease local SEO focus on Yelp?
Will there be more changes after the launch?
It’s still hard to assess whether or not Apple will stick to its new rating solution by just giving out thumbs up and down and pictures to describe a customer’s experience. Since it hasn’t been launched, Apple will probably do analytics and see how users will react to this change.
Maybe from ratings, they would also change their minds and include reviews as well? People would love to know specific details about an establishment and it’s quite hard to get enough data with just thumbs up and thumbs down even if it’s per category. Plus, there’s more than just a picture, as they say, looks can deceiving.
Considering the current Covid 19 situation, people would like to learn more about how shops, bars, and restaurants follow certain rules and other topics. Customers have a lot of questions all the time, and most people only get answers from other customer’s reviews. But hey, a lot of things can still happen, and can all just hope for the best.
How soon will Apple Maps bid farewell to Yelp?
There’s still no clear date as to when, but considering the amount of data that Yelp provides to Apple Maps, it may seem like it would take a while. There’s still a lot to do before they can bid farewell to Yelp completely and forever.
It seems like this announcement from Apple will affect a lot of businesses and not just Yelp. While it hasn’t officially launched yet, all we can really do is wait until it happens and see how it plays out for Apple, its users, and businesses. So, is this change a thumbs up or thumbs down for you?