Local Optimizations for the Apple Watch

Yes, I was one of the estimated 1 million people who purchased the Apple Watch on first day that pre-orders became available. Of course my purchase came from the need to study the local aspects/applications of this new wearable device and had nothing to do with the fact that I pretty much purchase anything new that Apple puts out.


I find it interesting that the iPhone helped many people to stop wearing wristwatches and now Apple intends to revolutionize the device with its entry into the wearables category. As I mentioned in “4 Rules to Consider When Battling the Marketing Heavyweight, Wearables,” anytime a marketing heavyweight like Apple enters a market, we should take notice. In that column, I provided some common-sense tips for brands that want to consider developing wearable app. In summary, don’t build one just because you can – only build if you have application to the device with your product category. For example, I have no need to make an auto insurance claim on my watch so GEICO, save your money.  

Optimizing Your Business Listing for Apple Watch

Now that I have been using the watch for about five days, I thought it would be interesting to review the local aspects of the devise and how to optimize the experience for both brands and SMBs.

Oh, one moment please, my watch just told me I need to “stand up,” which it does 12 times a day as a way to prod me into exercise. Seriously?

There are a number of ways that users can access local business information on the device:

  • Siri
  • Apple Maps
  • Local Search Applications


Apple’s voice-activated virtual assistant. When optimizing for Siri consider that the listing content for local businesses is pulled from Apple Maps and ratings and reviews information is pulled from Yelp. It is vitally important to have the NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number – match exactly between these two citations. I have conducted a couple of designed experiments using slightly altered local business names between these two sources and it has proven to improve position when they are brought into alignment.

Apple Maps

Scanning the business listing data sources on Apple Maps copyright and attribution page reads like a “who’s who” of local search: Localeze, Factual, Acxiom, etc. Interestingly one of the listings that my company manages was found to be inaccurate (listing name). Upon scanning all of the data providers listed on this page and backtracking, I was able to find the source of the error – a duplicate listing – and correct it. We check all listings twice monthly for accuracy and name alignment and this one had appeared just this week. I mention this to re-enforce the fact that local listing optimization is a fluid and ever-changing process that need continual monitoring. In addition to the listing information, Apple Maps utilizes rating and reviews information from Yelp.

Local Search Applications

Apple’s App Store for “Apple Watch Local” returns 61 results. Many of these are weather, news, and dating apps. The normal suspects of local search apps are represented e.g., Yelp, Foursquare, etc. Because of the limited size of the Apple Watch display, Yelp displays only Restaurants, Bars, Coffee & Tea, and “Hot & New” as categories.



We fully expect that these are only the early local apps and many more will be added shortly.

Local powered by wearables will continue to grow in importance as consumers purchase more devices. It is really early in the game, so it is a good time to experiment while the market develops and costs are low. Like mobile, the first building block for both brands and SMBs is your local listing identity. Make sure you are optimized on the correct data sources and platforms to enjoy these new lead sources.

Oh, I have to go now; my watch told me again I need to “stand up” again. I can feel the pounds melting off.

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