As the masses across the country join the largest pre-sale in Apple’s history and wait in line for the new iPhone 4S, local business owners and marketers need to be aware of the greater implications of the phone’s hottest new feature – Siri.  The voice assistant will allow you to send messages, schedule meetings, and much more. It will actually understand what you say as well, as simple as “Tell my brother I’m running late” or “Where’s a good breakfast spot near here?”

Siri Local SearchThat last statement is the big one.  You can simply talk to Siri and find local business around you.  Where does Siri get that information?  It is probably drawing from a few sources, but Apple has made the effort to point out that Yelp is the major partner at launch.  In the ongoing battle between Yelp and Google, this is big news.

Having been completely removed from Google Place pages earlier this year, partnering with one of the most successful smartphone makers in history is a huge rebound for Yelp.  It also makes a local business’ Yelp profile (and general business practice) that much more important.  By asking for the best pizza restaurant in Portland, Siri is not likely to pull up results for 1 or 2 star rated locations.  Business owners should really start to pay attention to their product or service and how well they treat their customers.  In the end, you’ll get better reviews for your business not only on Yelp but other review sites as well.

It’s worth noting that with the continued increase in mobile searches, Google’s Android has voice search capabilities as well, but not nearly as sophisticated as Siri.  However, it’s safe to assume Android has updates to match in the near future.  The timing of the new iPhone and Siri couldn’t have been more perfect, as Formic’s most recent Small Business Seminar series focused on Local SEO.  The news only reinforces the importance of local and mobile visibility for businesses today.