Everything We Know About the Apple Search Engine

Apple Showing Signs It May Soon Launch A Search Engine To Compete Against Google Search_Cover Photo

It’s well-known that Google has been the default search engine for Apple’s Safari browser on all of its platforms. However, recent chatter in the industry seems to point that Apple is now increasing its search efforts to come up with a search engine to combat Google, the search engine giant. Apple products are one of the most famous gadgets around the world, used by many – so what could this piece of news entail for SEOs and Webmasters around the world? 

What We Know so Far

Google has been reportedly paying large sums of money (billions of dollars) to Apple for them to remain the default search browser in Apple’s Safari browser. As Apple products are one of the widely used gadgets in the world, this leads to a monopoly in searches (both in Safari and Siri) to lead to Google. Thus, this enabled Google to monopolize one of the largest avenues for them to dominate the search engine industry both in scope and possible advertising clicks. 

There is a lot more evidence that points to the rumored move by Google. Jon Henshaw of Coywolf pointed out in a blog post the following:

  • Apple has been increasing efforts in looking/hiring for search-related professions
  • Spotlight searches completely bypass Google through “Siri Suggestions” which take users directly to the website
  • The Applebot support page has been recently updated, containing the following:
    • Added how to verify traffic from Applebot
    • Expanded details on the Applebot user agent, including differences between its desktop and mobile version
    • Expanded robots.txt rules
    • Added a section stating that they don’t just crawl HTML, but also render pages similar to Google
    • Added a section on search rankings and the factors that affect how it ranks web search results
  • Increased crawling from Applebot

The Purpose of an Apple Search Engine

Apple is a company that focuses on building an ecosystem between all their products. One might understand this as generating a greater experience for its users. Having their search engine would mean that Apple has direct control over giving users a more “personalized” search experience by using the data that they get from the products that the user owns. Additionally, it’s a great avenue for a tech company like Apple to have a big place to poster their content, apps, news, etc. without having to rely on a third-party like Google. 

This will also allow them to open this particular avenue to serve as an ad platform where webmasters, SEOs, and even app developers can promote or market their websites. As of now, Google has a firm hold on the majority of the users in search. This potential move by Apple can combat Google’s monopoly since a good number of mobile and tablet users use Apple products. 

What This Means for SEOs

SEO is an industry primarily focused on Google since it does have the greatest number of users out of all the search engines available on the internet. Would Apple having their own search engine lead to major changes in the SEO industry? I believe so. Since I’ve consistently mentioned that a great number of mobile and tablet users use Apple products, it’s important to optimize and track our website performance in this particular search engine. 

It was mentioned above the Applebot has increased crawling websites and I can confirm this. I have checked this blog’s crawl log and the top crawler recently is Applebot. Here’s a screenshot of the log file and the data on Applebot’s crawls:

Applebot crawl log

Would we have to produce new strategies or tactics? If we’re basing it on the Applebot support page, then I don’t think so. But I believe we’ll still have to produce strategies and tactics that are catered to the Apple search engine. It would be fundamentally different from Google in the sense that Google has had decades of experience while Apple will only be operating from the ground up. 

Key Takeaway

Apple has not announced any confirmation regarding this rumor so all of these are based on theories and observations. They might confirm it or they might not even release a search engine. But if they do create their own search engine, I believe big things are going to happen in the SEO industry since efforts won’t be solely directed at Google anymore. What do you think about Apple creating its own search engine? Let me know in the comments below!

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Sean Si

About Sean

is a Filipino motivational speaker and a Leadership Speaker in the Philippines. He is the head honcho and editor-in-chief of SEO Hacker. He does SEO Services for companies in the Philippines and Abroad. Connect with him at Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. Check out his new project, Aquascape Philippines.