Apple is reportedly starting to hire search engineers.
And when / if Apple launches their own search engine, this will create a new SEO arms race to get clients found in the top Apple search results.
I say let’s do it!
‘Just google it.’
Google is the only search engine whose brand name is now being widely used as a verb.
This is not surprising considering that Google has a market share of over 86 percent.
Google has dominated the internet search market since its introduction in 1997 and has since expanded its services to other offerings including email, mobile devices, enterprise products and much more.
The company’s revenues in 2019 were at a high of $160.74 billion with a majority of this coming from advertising.
This deal ensures that Google is the default search engine for anyone that uses Safari to search on iPad, Mac or iPhone. Users have to manually change this in Safari’s preferences if they want to use a different search engine.
These payments from Google make up a bulk of Apple’s revenue.
Launching a search engine would mean forgoing these payments which would result in a significant drop in revenue for the tech company.
However, Apple’s search engine will provide app developers and webmasters with a platform to promote their products and services.
This will help Apple extend their ad serving platform which means more advertising revenue.
Apple’s search engine could be the answer to ending Google’s monopoly.
Google has for a long time been at the forefront of search.
In fact, search engine optimizers have over the years worked to optimize content for Google and not other search engines.
This is because Google is considered the most important and progressive search engine currently available.
However, this could change with the introduction of Apple’s search engine.
Judging from its dominance in other tech areas, Apple isn’t likely to lag behind in search.
It may even become the preferred search engine if the company stays true to its stand on protecting user data.
What would Apple’s Search Engine look like?
While a lot of the hype around Apple’s search engine is all still pure speculation, there’s a good chance that Apple won’t create a search engine like those that are currently available.
The company has a long history of doing things differently.
They aren’t likely to launch a search engine that looks or functions like Google, DuckDuckGo or Bing.
A good clue into what to expect from Apple is that they seem to be focusing a lot of their effort on Spotlight Search and Siri.
This suggests that they will use their experience with these products on the development of a new feature down the line.
Apple search engine users are likely to have the benefit of a highly personalized experience.
While this will be similar to what users get with Android’s Google Assistant, the difference is that they won’t have to deal with ads.
Searches will be completely private and have deeper integrations with the operating system.
Users can benefit from seamless integration of their iCloud data.
Using ML and AI, Apple can deliver search results that are based on user data including email, reminders, events, files, photos, documents, music, news and much more without users worrying about compromising their privacy.
Another major feature that is likely to make Apple search a hit will be the integration of voice search.
Through Siri, Apple has been pushing for voice assistance on mobile devices.
Siri is becoming synonymous with searching on iPad and iPhone. Apple will more than likely continue to reinforce its market share of voice assistance technology with the launching of its search engine.
Voice search is likely to be one of the most attractive features of the new search engine especially for mobile device users.
What does an Apple search engine mean for Apple SEO?
What is Apple SEO?
Apple SEO is the practice and art of optimizing web pages to achieve top search results in Apple’s search engine.
And the launch of a new Apple search engine would, I believe, create a new Apple SEO arms race in the search engine optimization industry.
SEO as an industry has for a long time focused mainly on Google.
This is because the search engine continues dominate search.
SEO strategies over the years have been based on how Google’s algorithms have ranked pages.
Changes made to Google’s algorithms have guided the changes made to the practice of SEO.
The entry of a search engine that could have an impact on Google’s search engine position in the market could therefore lead to major changes in the SEO industry.
There have been many other search engines introduced in the market before, why is Apple’s search engine such a big deal?
Apple’s search engine could have a significant impact because of Apple’s dominance in the mobile device market.
Clicks from Apple device users are therefore more valuable to advertisers than those from Android device users.
Businesses hoping to remain profitable after the launch of Apple’s search engine would therefore be more eager to achieve better ranking on the search engine.
Of course building a search engine is no small feat.
For Apple, building a search engine that can rival Google is probably something that only a company like Apple can do.
You can therefore be sure that if Apple do launch a search engine, it will most likely be successful.
This will mean that SEO experts will have to adapt to the requirements of the new search engine and optimize their websites in line with these requirements.
What Should You Do as a Digital Marketer?
As an SEO expert or digital marketer, you probably have your ear on the ground for any changes that may affect the SEO landscape and many be wondering if you should be worried about the possible launch of a search engine by Apple.
Because the launch of a search engine by Apple is still hypothetical, it is difficult to speculate about what changes it would bring to the practice of SEO.
However, if Applebot’s current documentation is anything to go by, the fundamentals of SEO practice are likely to remain consistent even with the new Apple search engine.
Updated tech support notes for Applebot reveal that the web crawler uses the following factors in ranking search results:
Design characteristics of web pages
Quality and number of links from other pages to a webpage
Location of the user
Aggregated user engagement with results
Matching and relevancy of search terms to web page content
These factors are similar to those used by Google and other search engines.
Therefore sticking to current search optimization strategies would be beneficial for digital marketers even after the launch of Apple’s search engine.
Apple states that the factors are not listed according to importance for ranking.
However, one thing that SEOs can be sure of is that there will be a greater emphasis from the search engine on user engagement with content.
Engagement is currently one of Apple’s most important ranking factors and is only set to become even more important with time.
For example, Apple can not only provide you with results for content that is clicked on the most but also content that users spend the most time viewing/reading.
This means that the best content will win with the launch of Apple’s new search engine.
Therefore startups with innovative products can have a better chance at competing against larger companies with bigger marketing budgets.
That said, just like with anything new in SEO, testing and discovery will reveal the truth about changes that need to be made in tactics.
It is likely that the SEO experts and digital marketers will discover new opportunities that currently aren’t possible with Google or other modern search engines.
It is therefore be important for SEOs to keep a watchful eye on the performance of their content once the search engine is launched.
There is actually no reason for SEOs to panic.
If anything, changes have already started taking place with the introduction of iOS 14.
The best approach any SEO expert can take is to stay up to date with news on Apple’s upcoming search engine and continue to tweak their SEO strategies in line with algorithm changes.
There’s a good chance that the launch of the search engine on Apple’s devices will be done quietly.
After all, bypassing of Google for web results by Spotlight Search was not announced before implementation.
It was done without anyone knowing about it.
With the current bypassing of Google, Apple users may end up not needing Google altogether and never notice the change to a native search engine.
It is also a good idea to keep track of Applebot’s crawl frequency.
Search for ‘Applebot’ in your server logs to see how often the bot has been crawling your content.
Check to see if the frequency has increased or decreased when you make changes to the content of your website.
This could give you some insight into changes that would be beneficial if Apple launches a search engine.
The launching of a search engine by Apple still remains hypothetical.
It is therefore difficult to predict how such a search engine would impact the SEO landscape.
However, signs such as the hiring of search engineers and increased web crawling by Applebot indicate that the tech giant is most likely planning the launch of a search engine soon.
With Google’s current dominance of the market, you can be sure Apple’s search engine would be designed to take on Google in a head to head battle.
With Apple’s commitment to the development of privacy-focused products and its approach to providing unique solutions, it is safe to say that the new search engine will provide functionality and features that Google and other modern search engines don’t currently offer.
This will provide SEOs many new opportunities for optimization.
A look at Apple’s web crawler, Applebot, shows that the fundamentals of SEO will most likely still apply to Apple’s search engine.
So there is no need to worry just keep improving your SEO strategy and adapt to the changes as they come.