Is Apple Launching A Search Engine to Compete with Google?
And if they are launching a search engine, how will it impact your law firm?
2020 has been a wild ride and it’s far from over. Over the last few months we’ve seen tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple testify before Congress on issues related to privacy concerns, market monopoly and more. Google was there to testify on whether they had monopolized and dominated Search and digital advertising. Could it be that Apple is finally ready to give Google a run for it’s money? And if they do, what will that mean for your law firm?
New Search Engine Pairs with Siri, Spotlight Search and Maps
It wasn’t that long ago that Apple had replaced Bing as their default search engine, which had provided search results for Siri, Spotlight Searches and Maps. It was only three short years ago (2017) that in exchange for about $1 billion per year (on Google’s part), Apple announced Google as the new search provider for Apple products. Of course, users continue to have the ability to select which search provider they want to use, Google remains the default provider.
Could we see a shift in this at the Apple event taking place on Tuesday, September 15th??
Here’s what we know:
Apple is already uniquely positioned as a tech giant to be able to successfully launch their own competitive search engine. In addition to providing laptops and phones, which IF they launched their own search engine would be made the default browser, Apple also has a line of smart watches, home security devices such as doorbell cameras and alarms, smart lights and more. These products would all be connected to other Apple devices (a hub) and would be using their default browser.
And who can forget about the large cult following that the Apple line has…
It’s safe to say they are poised for success if they were to launch their own search engine.
But that’s not all… Apple has also set up job openings for various positions including search engineers, emphasizing the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the application of natural language (NLP). This has only led to further speculation regarding whether the tech giant is planning to launch their own search engine.
iOS14 Privacy: Good for Users, Bad for Advertisers
Apple’s iOS14 is on the horizon and it spells trouble for Facebook advertising. The new iOS14 rollout includes a new feature that will allow users to improve their security and privacy measures. Not a bad thing when you consider it from the user point of view. However, if you rely on Facebook advertising to promote your law firm and generate new leads, here’s what you need to know:
Currently, Facebook’s Audience Network extends to thousands of “high-quality apps”. Facebook reported that in an ad campaign study they saw a conversion rate 8 times higher among people who were shown Facebook Ads through Facebook, Instagram and their Audience Network. That’s nothing to blink at.
When iOS14 launches, it will allow users to be able to choose between “allow tracking” or “ask app not to track”. Many apps did not give users the option before and it stands likely that with privacy being a big concern, users will opt out of tracking. This means that Facebook won’t be able to track you to other apps within their audience network and therefore, Facebook ads won’t be displayed on those apps (at least not targeted ads, which is where the value is). A targeted ad is where you’re able to show your advertisement to your targeted audience. Without this, if you’re still able to advertise from Facebook onto those apps, you’re basically shooting blanks.
How Will Your Law Firm Be Affected?
That’s quite a bit to digest already, isn’t it?! But that’s not all… a new search engine means your SEO (and SEO agencies!) will be left scrambling – at least momentarily if you’re doing it right.
Apple will most likely use it’s already established Applebot, the company’s Web crawler, to establish initial rankings. Ranking however, won’t be a one and done unfortunately though. Similar to other search engines, their algorithm for determining ranking will likely undergo numerous updates and we’ll all be learning as we go. Yet another indication of Apple potentially launching their own search engine… Applebot’s support page has just recently been modified and also “frequently crawls pages”. This frequent crawling of pages could be Apple working to establish initial rankings, but that’s just speculation right now as well.
Similar to Google My Business, companies will also need to get verified on Apple’s search engine, again – if they launch. Businesses are able to get verified for Google Maps currently, but this is done through a phone verification. If you aren’t already listed on Apple iMaps, you may want to get a jump on this because even if they don’t launch a search engine, it does provide you with a great backlink and can help improve your Local SEO. Clients of Precision Legal Marketing can rest assured that we’ve already verified you on Apple iMaps.
We mentioned a few paragraphs ago that your SEO and SEO agencies would be left scrambling. Bigger SEO agencies/marketing firms such as FindLaw and Scorpion may find the transition to be particularly challenging as larger agencies tend to be too big and therefore, too slow to react. Smaller agencies and law firms will be able to react more quickly, but technology will play a role. Those with the technology partners on board that can display rank on whatever Apple comes up with will be paramount. You can bet this is being worked on by now by all of the larger SEO data scrapers.
Of course, with major shifts in the spectrum come questions that remain to be answered. If Apple does launch a search engine, will it only be embedded in iOS14? If so, the rollout could be potentially slow. Will they immediately offer ads on their platform? If so, you can bet your last dollar that there will be a major race to be up there first.
Stay Ahead of The Curve
At this point, we’ve just laid out a bunch of information. You may not be entirely clear on how your law firm can stay ahead of the curve. So, here’s some tips to help you stay ahead of the competition and continue to dominate search engine rankings:
- Work with an ad agency (like Precision Legal Marketing) that is on the forefront of search.
- A strong foundation of SEO can help you stay ahead of the curve. Request your free SEO audit to make sure that your website is in tip top shape.
- Ensure that your law firm is listed and verified on Apple iMaps now.
- Make sure that your Google My Business is as up to date as possible.
Leading Legal SEO Agency at the Forefront of Search
Want to make sure that your law firm is prepared for these major changes? Get in touch today to discuss your how we can help your law firm gain the competitive edge with your SEO and digital marketing needs.