What is Apple SEO: All You Need To Know

Apple is frequently regarded as a technology company, but that may not be the only thing the company excels at. The company is reportedly developing a new search engine to compete with Google and Bing. Hence, Apple SEO is definitely something that all marketers should be aware of. So whether you’re just starting out or you’re looking for ways to take your Apple SEO efforts to the next level, read on!

If this turns out to be true, it would be a massive move for Apple with far-reaching implications for the company and businesses worldwide. As a business owner, you can opt for professional SEO services to rank higher in Apple’s search engine. However, you will need to be aware of common SEO scams while selecting a SEO company.

Google has long been the default search engine for Apple’s Safari browser across all platforms. However, recent industry chatter suggests that Apple is ramping up its search efforts in order to develop a search engine to compete with Google, the search engine giant. Apple products are among the most well-known and widely used gadgets in the world, so what does this news mean for SEOs and Webmasters worldwide?

Here’s What We Know So Far

Google paid Apple large sums of money (billions of dollars) to remain the default search browser in Apple’s Safari browser. Because Apple products are among the most popular in the world, they have a monopoly on searches (both in Safari and Siri), which leads to Google. As a result, Google was able to monopolize one of the most important avenues for them to dominate the search engine industry, both in terms of scope and potential advertising clicks.

It will be difficult for Apple to separate from Google. However, Apple is no stranger to developing its own technology. Apple recently announced that it is abandoning Intel chips in favor of unifying all hardware (Mac, MacBook, iPhone, and iPad) under the same code and development environment. There is a way where there is a will (and about $200 billion in the bank).

It will be a long time before Apple can create a remotely usable search engine. Consider the difficulty of locating talent capable of developing a viable alternative.

What is Apple SEO?

Apple SEO is the practice and art of optimizing web pages to rank high in Apple’s search engine. The launch of a new Apple search engine would spark a new Apple SEO arms race in the search engine optimization industry.

For a long time, the SEO industry has been primarily focused on Google. This is due to the search engine’s continued dominance in search. Over the years, SEO strategies have been based on how Google’s algorithms have ranked pages. Changes to Google’s algorithms have influenced changes to the practice of SEO.

The entry of a search engine that could have an impact on Google’s market position could thus result in significant changes in the SEO industry. Why is Apple’s search engine such a big deal when there have been many other search engines introduced in the market before? Because of Apple’s dominance in the mobile device market, Apple’s search engine could have a significant impact.

Global Stats
Source: Statcounter

In the United States, Safari is the most popular mobile browser with over 51% people using it. Google Chrome comes in second. With the introduction of a native Apple search engine, Google will no longer be the default search engine on Safari. A battle for search engine dominance between Apple and Google will undoubtedly shake up the SEO industry. It is also worth noting that the battle between Apple and Google is not just about user numbers.

Apple SEO

Apple SEO would also focus on providing value to Apple customers. Historically, Apple users have been more valuable than Android users. According to a recent survey, iPhone users have more spending power than Android users. As a result, clicks from Apple device users are more valuable to advertisers than clicks from Android device users. Businesses that want to stay profitable after Apple’s search engine launches will be more eager to improve their search engine rankings.

Of course, creating a search engine is no easy task. Building a search engine that can compete with Google is likely something that only a company like Apple can do. As a result, you can be confident that if Apple does launch a search engine, it will be a success. This means that SEO experts will have to adapt to the new search engine’s requirements and optimize their websites accordingly.

What We Know About Apple Search?

The lack of competition in the search market, as well as the long-standing rivalry between Google and Apple, has long prompted speculation about whether the Cupertino based company might eventually dip its toes in the water.

Although the value of Google Search is difficult to determine due to the manner in which Alphabet earnings are reported, we do know that search accounts for the lion’s share of its ad revenue, which totaled $210 billion in 2021.

Also, Read: 128 Jaw-Dropping SEO Statistics In 2023

If the information is correct, Apple has decided that it wants a piece of the search action. But why right now? One possible explanation is that the company believes the iOS and Safari install bases have reached a critical mass, allowing it to support a genuine challenge to Google’s throne.

For years, Apple has profited from a deal (potentially worth up to $20 billion per year) that ensures Google’s position as the default Safari search engine. The terms of this agreement also prohibit Apple from launching a standalone search product, according to filings from a recent class action lawsuit.

Apple Search Engine

However, if Apple were to sever ties with Google and launch an alternative, the billion-strong Safari user base would provide a solid foundation on which to build. And, with the threat of new antitrust legislation(opens in a new tab), the company may be pushed in this direction regardless. 

Assuming that broad reach guarantees success is a mistake. Despite presiding over the world’s largest operating system, Microsoft, for example, has failed to make significant inroads in browsers and search. To voluntarily terminate its agreement with Google, Apple would have to be confident that gains in advertising revenue would compensate for the billions of dollars lost.

It is also possible that the rumored service will not resemble a traditional search engine at all. Siri may be the primary beneficiary, which could imply that the new product is designed to supplement the (Google-powered) responses provided by the digital assistant, rather than to field general queries like a traditional search engine.

There is a lot more evidence pointing to the rumored move. Apple has reportedly increased its efforts in searching for and hiring for search-related jobs. Spotlight searches completely bypass Google by using “Siri Suggestions,” which direct users to the website.

The Applebot support page has recently been updated and now includes the following:

  • How to verify Applebot traffic has been added.
  • Details on the Applebot user agent have been expanded, including differences between the desktop and mobile versions.
  • Robots.txt rules have been expanded.
  • Added a section stating that they do not just crawl HTML, but also render pages in the same way that Google does.
  • A section on search rankings and the factors that influence how it ranks web search results has been added. 
  • Applebot’s crawling has increased.

Function of an Apple Search Engine

Apple is a company that focuses on creating an ecosystem that connects all of its products. This could be interpreted as providing a better experience for its users. With their own search engine, Apple would have direct control over providing users with a more “personalized” search experience by leveraging data from the user’s own products. Furthermore, it is a great way for a tech company like Apple to have a large place to post their content, apps, news, and so on without relying on a third-party like Google.

This will also allow them to use this channel as an ad platform for webmasters, SEOs, and even app developers to promote or market their websites. Google currently has a firm grip on the majority of search users. Because Apple products are used by a large number of mobile and tablet users, this potential move by Apple could challenge Google’s monopoly.

How Will Apple Benefit By Launching A Search Engine?

Apple Search Engine Benefit

Here are four ways that Apple will benefit from the launch of the Apple search engine:

  1. Get away from other search engines.
  2. Give iDevice users a better user experience.
  3. Create a new revenue stream.
  4. Google’s search monopoly will be broken.

Is there any benefit for Apple in competing with established search engines like Bing, Google, and DuckDuckGo? 

Also, Read: Is DuckDuckGo Safe to Use? 

Web Traffic
Source: Research.com

According to a recent report, mobile devices account for nearly 51% of all online searches. In response, search engines have made mobile friendliness a major factor in search engine rankings. For many years, Apple has dominated the mobile device and mobile operating system markets.

Get away from other search engines

As search becomes more mobile-focused, it makes sense for the tech titan to launch their own search engine. Apple can break free from Google search. One of the most significant advantages that Apple will gain from launching its own search engine is independence from third-party search engines.

Safari, the web browser used on the iPad, Mac, and iPhone, has made Google the default search engine. The search engine has been repeatedly targeted with antitrust allegations. The search engine is said to favor the company’s own properties in search results.

As a result, other businesses have been unable to compete. Independence would allow Apple to freely promote its own content, apps, and other products. As a result, their products and services may see increased growth in the future. 

Give iDevice users a better user experience

Apple would improve the user experience. Apple has spent years focusing on creating an ecosystem for their products. The company will gain even more control and lock down on their product ecosystem if they launch their own search engine.

Their users will become more reliant on personalized search results and product integrations that will be available only through Apple’s search engine. By obtaining data from other products that users own, the company will have direct control over providing users with a personalized search.

Create a new revenue stream

For several years, Google has had an agreement with Apple. Google agreed to pay Apple billions of dollars in order to remain the default search engine on Safari.

This agreement makes Google the default search engine for anyone who uses Safari to search on an iPad, Mac, or iPhone. If users want to use a different search engine, they must manually change this in Safari’s preferences. Google payments account for the majority of Apple’s revenue.

By launching a search engine, the tech company would forego these payments, resulting in a significant drop in revenue. However, Apple’s search engine will provide a platform for app developers and webmasters to promote their products and services. This will assist Apple in expanding their ad serving platform, resulting in increased advertising revenue.

Google’s total revenue was over 256.7 billion in 2021 with a major chunk of it coming from services related to search. Once its monopoly is broken, some of this revenue will also eventually shift to Apple.

Google's Revenue
Data Showing Google’s Revenue Over The Years (Source: Statista)

Google’s search monopoly will be broken

Apple’s search engine may hold the key to breaking Google’s monopoly. For a long time, Google has been at the forefront of search. Indeed, over the years, search engine optimizers have worked to optimize content for Google rather than other search engines. This is because Google is widely regarded as the most important and progressive search engine available today.

However, with the introduction of Apple’s search engine, this could change. Based on its dominance in other areas of technology, Apple is unlikely to fall behind in search. If the company remains committed to protecting user data, it may even become the preferred search engine.

How Would Apple’s Search Engine Appear?

While much of the hype surrounding Apple’s search engine is still speculative, there is a good chance that Apple will not create a search engine similar to those currently available. The company has a long history of doing things in unconventional ways. They are unlikely to launch a search engine similar to Google, DuckDuckGo, or Bing. 

The fact that Apple appears to be concentrating its efforts on Spotlight Search and Siri is a good indicator of what to expect. This implies that they will apply their knowledge of these products to the development of a new feature in the future. Users of the Apple search engine are likely to benefit from a highly personalized experience. 

While this will be similar to what Android users get with Google Assistant, the difference is that there will be no ads. Searches will be completely private and will integrate more deeply with the operating system. Users can benefit from seamless iCloud data integration.

Using ML and AI, Apple can deliver search results based on user data such as email, reminders, events, files, photos, documents, music, news, and much more without users having to worry about their privacy being compromised. The integration of voice search is another major feature that is likely to make Apple search a hit.

Apple has been pushing for voice assistance on mobile devices through Siri. It has become synonymous with iPad and iPhone search. With the launch of its search engine, Apple will almost certainly increase its market share in voice assistance technology. Voice search is likely to be one of the new search engine’s most appealing features, particularly for mobile device users.

What Does This Mean for SEO?

Right now, SEO is primarily focused on Google because it has the greatest number of users of any search engine available on the internet. 

Also, Read: Affordable SEO Services for Small Businesses- How To Choose an SEO Company 

  • Would Apple’s own search engine cause significant changes in the SEO industry? 
    Yes. Because a large percentage of mobile and tablet users use Apple products, it will be critical to optimize and track any website’s performance in this search engine. 
  • Would the SEO industry need to develop new strategies or tactics? 
    If we are going by the Applebot support page, extensive new strategies might not be needed. However, SEO professionals will still need to develop strategies and tactics tailored to the Apple search engine. It would be fundamentally different from Google in that Google has decades of experience, whereas Apple will be starting from scratch.

What Should a Digital Marketer Do Now?

As an SEO expert or digital marketer, you probably keep your ear to the ground for any changes that may affect the SEO landscape, and you may be wondering if you should be concerned about Apple’s potential launch of a search engine.

Because Apple has yet to launch a search engine, it is difficult to speculate on what changes it would bring to the practice of SEO. However, based on Applebot’s current documentation, the fundamentals of SEO are likely to remain consistent even with the new Apple search engine.

According to Applebot’s updated tech support notes, the web crawler ranks search results based on the following factors:

  • Web page design characteristics
  • The number and quality of links from other pages to a webpage
  • The user’s location
  • User engagement with results aggregated
  • Search term matching and relevance to web page content. 

These are the same factors used by Google and other search engines. As a result, even after the launch of Apple’s search engine, digital marketers would benefit from sticking to current search optimization strategies. According to Apple, the factors are not listed in order of importance for ranking.

However, SEOs can be certain that the search engines will place a greater emphasis on user engagement with content. Engagement is currently one of Apple’s most important ranking factors and will only grow in importance over time. Apple, for example, can show you results not only for the most clicked-on content, but also for the content that users spend the most time viewing/reading.

With the launch of Apple’s new search engine, the best content will win. As a result, startups with innovative products may have a better chance of competing with larger corporations with larger marketing budgets. However, as with any new SEO tactic, testing and discovery will reveal the truth about changes that need to be made in tactics.

SEO experts and digital marketers are likely to discover new opportunities that are not currently available through Google or other modern search engines. Once the search engine is launched, SEOs must keep a close eye on the performance of their content.

There is no reason for SEOs to be concerned. If anything, with the release of iOS 14, changes have already begun to occur. The best course of action for any SEO expert is to stay up to date on news about Apple’s upcoming search engine and to continue to tweak their SEO strategies in response to algorithm changes.

There’s a good chance that the search engine will be released quietly on Apple’s devices. After all, Spotlight Search’s decision to bypass Google for web results was not announced prior to its implementation. It was completed without anyone’s knowledge.

With the current Google bypass, Apple users may find themselves not needing Google at all and never noticing the switch to a native search engine. It is also advisable to monitor Applebot’s crawl frequency. Look for ‘Applebot’ in your server logs to see how frequently the bot has crawled your content.

When you make changes to the content of your website, check to see if the frequency has increased or decreased. This could provide some insight into changes that would be advantageous if Apple launched a search engine.

Conclusion

Because Apple has not confirmed this rumor, all of these are based on theories and observations. The technology giant may confirm it, or they may not release a search engine at all. But if they do create their own search engine, big things will happen in the SEO industry because efforts will no longer be directed solely at Google rankings. What are your thoughts on Apple developing its own search engine? Let us know in the comments!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best search engine for Apple products?

Google is the best search engine that you can use with your Apple products. If you are concerned about data privacy, then DuckDuckGo is another option. Reportedly, Apple is also developing its own search engine, however, it will take years to catch up with the progress that Google has made over the past few decades.

Does Safari have its own search engine?

By default, Safari uses Google Chrome as its search engine. Users are, however, free to choose any search engine of their choice. Safari currently does not have its own search engine but it could soon get one as Apple seems to be in the play of developing its search engine.

Is Safari going away?

Safari is the second most preferred browser, behind only Google Chrome. There are no reports of Apple fading away the beloved browser, the tech giant is only expected to add more features with enhanced security and privacy updates for the browser.

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