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Why Brands Still Need Bing As Apple Switches Siri And Spotlight Search To Google

"If you're not focusing on ranking well on Bing, you lose traffic while exposing yourself to too much dependence on Google," says Yext's Duane Forrester. "That’s dangerous, as when Google shifts its algorithm, you could be crushed."

Apple is shifting to Google from Microsoft’s Bing when it comes to powering its search functions for its voice-activated assistant Siri’s web results on iOS and Spotlight on Mac.

The move comes a week after Apple released its latest iPhone and iPad software, iOS 11, and on the same day the Cupertino tech giant made MacOS High Sierra available for its computers.

The substitution of showing iPhone and iPad users answers to questions delivered by Google instead of Bing is meant to convey a sense of seamlessness across all Apple devices, the company said in a statement to Techcrunch.

“Switching to Google as the web search provider for Siri, Search within iOS and Spotlight on Mac will allow these services to have a consistent web search experience with the default in Safari,” Apple’s statement said. “We have strong relationships with Google and Microsoft and remain committed to delivering the best user experience possible.”

The immediate implications were enumerated by  Local SEO Guide’s Andrew Shotland in an email response to GeoMarketing:

  • Google will be sending even more traffic to brands
  • For now, this may be one of the last non-monetized large sources (as in fewer/no Google Ads) of organic Google traffic (no ads in SIRI or spotlight results)
  • For brands that use Bing, this likely means they may need to shift resources to make up for the lack of organic Bing traffic, but this likely wasn’t a big source of traffic anyhow. Brands buying ads on Bing will likely need to update their strategies to make up for the reduced traffic.

 

Why Bing Still Matters

Changes like this will slow Bing’s market share growth through as result of Apple’s move, but as Duane Forrester, VP of Industry Insights at Yext (full disclosure: Yext is GeoMarketing’s parent company. More details on that relationship here) says, “don’t for a minute think that’s the only area Bing has plans to power its growth.”

“Partnership deals to power search results come and go,” Forrester adds. “Before Bing had this one, someone else did. Google had it at one point, then they let it go/lost it.”

Bing holds 30 percent of the search market share, Forrester says, “so if you’re not focusing on ranking well there, you lose traffic while exposing yourself to too much dependence on Google. That’s dangerous, as when Google shifts its algorithm, you could be crushed.”

As a matter of SEO best practices, anything a brand does on that front generally should work equally well in both Bing’s and Google’s search engines.

So don’t think of Bing as a mere complement to Google, Forrester advises. It needs to be considered for its own value.

“Google isn’t a proving ground and Bing an after thought,” Forrester says. “It’s been consistently noted that Bing sends higher quality traffic that converts more frequently and at higher values, too. Taking an approach that’s ‘Google-only’ is a shortcut that won’t help long term.”

How Search Has Changed

The emergence of Connected Intelligence and the concept of the Knowledge Graph have dramatically changed the way people search as well as the way query results are presented to them.

As GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain has noted, approximately 80 percent of US internet users prefer to turn to a search engine to find or look up information about local businesses.

Today, “search is intelligent — and when you search for things, you get direct, structured answers,” said Howard Lerman, CEO at Yext in a keynote earlier this year.

“Essentially, if a consumer searches for ‘new car,’ they don’t simply see links — they see the knowledge card, with prices, configurations, features of cars for sale, and more, all seamlessly,” Chamberlain has written. “Similarly, if someone Googles groceries or banks, they get maps back; Google now assumes someone is looking for a place if they search for something present in the physical world.”

“For brands, it’s time to really focus on what the landscape on mobile and in voice search looks like,” Forrester says. “How do you rank well in those spaces? That’s a critical conversation now that Google will be the power source and they are heavily aligned to providing good results through both interfaces. Google has been ramping up on the use of Schema inclusions over the last few years, so if you want to feature prominently moving forward, you’ll need to have your content marked up.”

 

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.