The last few weeks have been full of news for search engine marketers. First, Google held its annual summit to announce the release of myriad new ad products and innovations. Then Bing leaked its response to Google’s announcements; it plans to provide similar innovations on their June API call and blog. Microsoft also shocked everyone on Monday when it announced it would buy LinkedIn for an unprecedented $26.2 billion dollars.
With all this news in the industry, it would be easy for SEMs to overlook another tech giant making waves on the SERP – Apple.
Of course Apple doesn’t have own its own search engine. But even without controlling the SERP directly, Apple’s influence on Google and Bing is certainly noticeable. For instance, despite Google’s aggressive attempts to penetrate the smartphone market, Apple’s iOS devices drive a considerable majority of all of Google’s mobile searches. So as Apple innovates, so must the search engines, and consequently so must the SEMs.
Source: SearchEngineLand via ComScore
With Apple’s considerable market influence on search traffic only expected to grow, here are four major innovations on the SERP that SEMs need to prepare for.
Siri Integration on MacOS & tvOS
Google drew applause last month when it announced that Google Analytics would soon support a voice assistant. Not to be outdone, Apple announced that Siri, the original and most widely used voice assistant, would soon be supported on both MacOS (desktop and laptop devices) and apps on tvOS (Apple TV)!
What this means to SEMs
Voice search is changing how users search online. We’ve become used to users typing in incomplete sentences and ideas around keywords, which help us craft our ads, keywords and content expecting to match these short “caveman-like” search queries. Users searching from voice search platforms like Siri, however, typically reach the SERP with longer, more natural language search queries and our keywords, ads, and content need to match this new type of search as well.
But before you run into AdWords to get ready for all these new desktop searches from Siri, you shouldn’t expect to see much shift in your traffic from Google because of this change. That’s because Apple’s Siri actually prefers to use Bing. Voice search from Siri and similar platforms actually make up 25% of all of Bing’s traffic. Google won’t be entirely left out of Siri’s increased reach though. Particularly on Apple TV devices, where Siri will now reach the YouTube app.
The New Universal Clipboard
Users with multiple Apple devices will benefit from the new Universal clipboard, which allows people to copy text, images, and text from your iPhone and paste it directly into their Mac or iPad and vice versa.
What this means to SEMs
We’ve been discussing cross-device conversions – the idea that users may begin to search on one device and later convert on another – for years now in the industry but a lot of advertisers are reluctant to consider cross-device conversions when attributing the success of their search campaigns. As the mobile market grows with this kind of cross-device functionality, we can only expect attributing these cross-device conversions to become increasingly important.
Apple Pay Is No Longer Just Mobile Pay
If you’re one of the 20% of iPhone users who use Apple Pay, you may be excited to hear that you’ll soon be able to shop online on Mac devices using Apple Pay!
What this means to SEMs
This is a win-win for desktop and mobile alike. Giving customers a new way to pay with Apple pay can effectively remove 4+ fields of text for people to enter and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. As users continue to adopt alternative payment methods like Apple Pay, advertisers can expect to see more sales come from devices that support these payments.
Predictive Emoji Replacing Traditional Text
Emoji users should have something to 😊 about because the iPhone’s autosuggest feature will begin to highlight and suggest common replacements for text with emojis.
What it means to SEMs
Love them or hate them, emojis are becoming a more popular way that we communicate when we’re on mobile. Not only do we include them in our texts, but Google Trends reveals that emojis are actually becoming increasingly popular to include in search queries:
While AdWords advertisers may not be able to include emojis in their ads or keywords, SEOs would be wise to consider creating some content to capture this growing mobile traffic that include emojis.
BONUS! Apple Announces Paid Search Platform in App Store
Apple announced this one a little before the WWDC keynote, but it’s a big one. App developers will be able to pay to promote their app directly within the App store for the first time ever:
With over 65% of all iOS app downloads coming from a search on the App Store, the potential to serve an ad above the organic app results has serious implications for app advertisers. While expected to be fully available in the fall, eager advertisers can opt to beta test Apple’s first paid search platform this summer.
Most of these changes from Apple are expected to begin later this fall, which gives marketers a few months to plan for these new innovations and the implications on their search campaigns, but like all changes in our industry, there’s a huge advantage for early adopters. New search patterns and cross-device behaviors will only become more complex, so there’s no reason to wait to begin to adapt!