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Why should you care about Applebot?

Applebot is the Apple crawler that indexes pages that are used to provide search results for products like Siri and Spotlight Suggestions. In this article, we will cover all the details on how to optimize your site for Applebot.

Why should you care about Applebot?

Applebot crawls the internet to index pages for Siri’s voice searches. Siri is the apple flagship voice assistant that powers all the apple devices. Siri usage statistics show that it is still the dominant voice assistant in the USA market.  

In 2018, Apple announced that there were 500 million devices in the world that used Siri’s voice assistant.

It is  important to note also that 50% of all online searches will be voice-based by the end of 2020.   

These figures indicate how vital voice search has become over the years and that you need to make sure that you give Applebot the same attention you give to the Googlebot.

Things that you need to be aware of about Applebot

It is vital that you make sure that your site can be easily crawled by Applebot. As indicated by the Apple’s online documentation the bot will have the following attributes

  • The user agent string contains the word “Applebot”
  • The reverse DNS of the agent shows in the *.applebot.apple.com domain
  • The I.P will be originating from the 17.0.0.0 block.

You can customize the robot.txt rules to target Applebot. 

User-agent: Applebot # apple

Allow: / # Allow everything (also true if omitted)

Disallow: /documents/ # disallow this directory

Another important aspect to keep in mind is that Applebot will follow the rules assigned to Googlebot if Applebot is not mentioned in the robot.txt.

Applebot also supports robots meta tags rules inside HTML documents. 

Applebot will render the page as part of the crawl. This means that it is essential that Applebot has access to any Javascript and CSS files required to render the page. If for some reason, this is not possible it is important to ensure that the content is still visible to Applebot even if the quality of the page is degraded. 

 

What are the rank factors for Apple Search? 

The algorithm of Apple Search takes into account the following ranking factors.

  1. User engagement with search results. i.e. the interaction of the user with the SERP result.
  2. The relevance of search terms to the web page content.
  3. The number of quality links to the page. 
  4. User location.
  5. The web page design characteristics 

Although some of the items are cryptic, you can grasp which are the mainly important factors  when you factor in that search queries will be done over voice commands. 

70% of the voice commands are done using conversational language rather than individual keywords. Your content has to be optimized for long-tail keywords. i.e, Title, and meta description).

CTR and no Pogosticking will influence User Engagement. It is essential that you provide an excellent answer to the question the user asked through the voice command.

56% of the users using voice searches are trying to find a local business. Ranking first on these Voice commands will require that your content is optimized for a particular location or region.

Final thoughts

Apple is far away from competing with Google or Bing. Apple is primarily a hardware company with an aversion to ad-funded models. It is unlikely that Apple engages in battle in this arena. However, from a strategic point of view, it is important to eliminate any dependencies from third parties, particularly if it is Google.