Though Google’s top competitors on desktop searches have remained relatively the same over the past five years, mobile search has become a completely different ball game since the iPhone 4s was released. With the excitement of the new iPhone’s most advanced feature, mobile search saw a drastic change as everyone was trying out Apple’s new assistant “Siri.” Since its debut it 2011, Apple’s alternative search feature has grown in popularity, taking traffic away from Google and other big names such as Bing and Yahoo. Though Google’s search traffic is significantly higher than any other search option, these numbers change when you focus on iPhone users, as 13% use Siri over Google.
Though Google still accounts for far more traffic than any other search option, Siri’s unique structure is important to consider in order to improve your SEO performance. Unlike search engines, Siri bypasses all advertisements so any Google AdWords or other Pay-Per-Click methods you may be using will be irrelevant. Siri also draws information from major social services and alternative rating services such as Yelp. If you do not have useful, content-rich profiles on the major sites, Siri will likely bypass your business and feature a similar business that Siri finds more helpful to the user. Siri also considers your location when you ask a question so ensuring your site is optimized for your location is crucial. User reviews show that most are pleased with Siri’s usability and features, so it’s likely that Siri will remain a top competitor for Google’s mobile searches.
Apple’s own search engine “Spotlight Search” is the default search feature on Apple devices and another one of Google’s top competitors. If you use the “search” feature to the left of your iPhone’s home screen, you are using Apple’s Spotlight Search. Many Apple buyers have been unknowingly using the feature since it’s addition but Apple has been slowly rolling out the feature with each iOS update. Spotlight Search gets smarter, more effective, and a greater threat to Google with each iOS update. Because iPhone and Mac users account for a significant amount of search, businesses should consider their unique features when trying to improve their SEO performance.