We could be in for something of a seismic shift in search over the next few months as Google’s position as the default search provider for Apple’s Safari browser is due to come to an end; it appears that both Microsoft and Yahoo want to strike a deal to replace them.
This contract is a very big one given that Safari currently accounts for just under half of all mobile search queries and nearly 10% of desktop searches, meaning that whoever gets the nod from Apple will have some serious traffic coming their way.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Google’s might in the marketplace means they will automatically get the contract renewed either; the truth is that Google’s strength has been on the wane since it was dumped as Firefox’s default search engine last year.
Bing’s existing links with Apple (they power the search facilities on both Siri and Spotlight) could make them the favourite to land the contract, putting a great deal more search power back Microsoft’s way, which they lost to Google several years ago. There is also the fact that Apple and Google are technically in competition in the marketplace, so it would make a certain amount of sense for Apple to put some distance between the two.
This potential change alters the landscape for marketers. Over the last few years, the smart strategy has been to focus almost entirely on Google from an SEO and PPC point of view, and just leave the likes of Bing and Yahoo as secondary concerns. If Bing were to land the deal, however, it would be time to balance the focus of marketing between both it and Google, and test out different allocations of resources to see which combination produces the best results overall.
It is certainly time to dust off your Bing Webmaster tools and Ads accounts and start investing more time and money in them as, regardless of the outcome of this particular contract, they certainly seem to be becoming a viable competitor to Google in the search market.