Apple has significantly increased its efforts to develop in-house search technology for iPhones, according to a new report from The Financial Times.
The company’s search engine ambitions have been rumored in recent years. But this is the best indication yet that marketers soon will need to add Apple search optimization to their list of concerns.
What is the Apple Search Engine?
It’s not yet clear how an Apple search engine would look and function. But there are some clues.
The company’s Applebot, introduced 2014, has significantly increased its rate of crawling the web, according to The Financial Times.
Furthermore, Apple is showing its own search results on iOS 14’s home screen search, bypassing Google and linking directly to websites. When iPhone users with iOS 14 type in the search window, Apple displays search results instead of Google’s, according to CNBC.
These developments mark a significant increase in Apple’s in-house search development and likely contribute to a broader push into search. These initiatives could range from Spotlight search and Siri voice search enhancements to a full-blown, Google-type search engine. We will update this post as more details emerge.
How Would Apple Search Engine Affect My Business Listings?
One of Apple’s primary selling points is privacy, which would likely be a key feature in an Apple search engine.
The company might try to build a search engine that doesn’t store personal information nor track users, similarly to DuckDuckGo. Unlike Google, it does not rely on advertising income, so it may not need as much personal data from users to sell search ads.
One question that arises, then, is how Apple would create a successful search engine without collecting users’ browsing data en masse. Local search marketing and SEO strategies would need to adjust to Apple’s privacy limitations – which may not offer geographic or device-specific search results.
Another question is whether only Apple devices would have access to this search engine, and how that would affect search and engagement data connected to device usage.
What Does This Mean for Local Listings and Google Search?
On every Apple device, Google is the default search engine for the Safari app. That may change, meaning millions of users will get different search results than before – an opportunity for savvy digital marketers who optimize their business listings early.
Google pays Apple at least $7 billion annually to be the main search provider on Apple devices, but that deal expires soon and Google is currently under antitrust scrutiny.
Apple’s entry into the search landscape also recently included Apple Maps ratings, which you can read more about here. The thumbs-up/thumbs-down recommendations are starting to appear in local business listings on Apple devices’ default Maps app.
Here are some related posts about local search, SEO and online reputation management:
- What are Apple Maps Ratings? New Maps Feature Includes Business Ratings, Photos
- Tracking Coronavirus Search Trends on Google – October 2020
- How to Add Health and Safety Attributes to Your Google My Business Listing
- Every Google My Business Attribute Available to Healthcare Businesses
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Content Marketing Specialist