The history of SEO is in many ways a saga of tech giants who battle each other and play an endless game of chess with every new announcement and update. Google, Apple, Facebook and others are in charge – the rest of us are just there.
The big question is: How do we react and react to these decisions by those who pull the levers in Silicon Valley? With every new chapter there are winners and losers, and adjustments are made across the board.
Apple’s announcement of iOS 14 last year is a perfect example of an update that left the internet marketing community deeply divided. While many advertisers are on their feet, organic SEO purists like Kevin Miller at GR0 are seeing a silver lining.
Here’s what Miller had to say about the impact of iOS 14 and what to expect in the future of the SEO world.
Changes to IDFA policy and audience network
Aside from improving the aesthetics and performance of the popular iPhone operating system, last year’s announcement of iOS 14 made waves for its advertiser identification policy, also known as IDFA.
With IDFA, app publishers and advertisers had direct access to critical information about users who downloaded apps from Apple’s native store. This enabled very targeted ads and marketing campaigns for users on Facebook, Instagram and other major players.
Now iOS 14 is changing the policy so that users can choose whether or not to disclose this information – a choice they didn’t have before.
Business pushback is understood, especially in a marketing world driven by paid ads and personalization strategies based on large amounts of data collected through iPhones. But thought leaders like Kevin Miller see the silver lining.
“I think iPhone users should have the choice to log out of IDFA if they want, as it seems like the ethical move,” Miller said. “Does that make things difficult for advertisers in the short term? Yes, but it’s a great moment for organic SEO and everyone who practices it. “
Organic SEO focuses on optimizing on-page web content to increase organic traffic, build large catalogs of backlinks, and get higher rankings in the Google search engine.
Standard browsers and other search engines
Whenever we think of search, we think of Google, right? Well, the iOS 14 update could mess up the status quo when it comes to the search engines we use on our iPhones.
Anyway, Google is excited about the introduction of the default configurable browser option in iOS 14, which allows iPhone users to switch from Safari to Google as their go-to engine.
Given that Google already has over 92% of the market share in search, that change might seem negligible, but when we talk about billions of dollars in search volume, it all adds up.
But there’s an interesting caveat here – Google isn’t the only option on the menu. DuckDuckGo, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge are also options for standard browsers, which could lead to some interesting developments.
“Again, it’s always a good thing to give users more control over their technology because they can make the search decisions for themselves,” Miller said. “However, this could reconfigure the search engine market quite a bit, especially since data protection issues are currently in the foreground.”
DuckDuckGo, for example, has positioned itself as the “private” browser alternative to Google, opening up a whole new domain for search and forcing companies to think about their organic SEO game plan right from the start.
There might not be a massive migration from Google to DuckDuckGo in iOS 14, but now that the option is available brands competing for rankings online can’t ignore the facts.
“It’s kind of like the Wild West looking again,” Miller said. “Brands will go back to the drawing board and rethink their SEO strategies in various search engines.”
Googlebot now speaks HTTP / 2
The final part of the iOS 14 announcement is more technical. HTTP / 2, an updated version of HTTP, is being crawled by Googlebot and is encouraging websites to switch to this new protocol.
HTTP / 2 is much more efficient than its predecessor and will have decisive advantages such as faster loading times, lower latency times and better use of network resources.
From an SEO perspective, this means that HTTP / 2-enabled websites have an advantage over the last generation of architecture and could encourage websites to take the plunge sooner rather than later.
“There may not be a clear benefit to Googlebot crawling over HTTP / 2 sites right now, but this announcement puts it on everyone’s radar – speed and efficiency are important to the algorithm,” said Miller, its GR0 organic agency SEO on on-site optimization.
Alongside white hat SEO practices like content writing, link building, reporter outreach and PR management, technical SEO upgrades like HTTP / 2 will play a key role in determining the next generation of search engine winners.
The future of iOS 14 and beyond
With iOS 14, organic SEO gets high praise from those in charge of the techies.
However, the battle for the top spots in the rankings will be hotter than ever – if not now, then in the near future. Miller predicts that it will take some time to show the results.
“When these changes were announced, there were definitely some shock waves across the industry and it took the brands a while to take stock and readjust,” Miller said. “In the next months and years we will see big changes in the direction of organic SEO.”
Fortunately for Miller, he’s in the right place at the right time as CEO and co-founder of GR0, a Los Angeles-based digital marketing agency specializing in organic SEO best practices.
Miller’s growing team of strategists, writers, and technical SEO experts are perfectly positioned to benefit from the changes to iOS 14 and other moves that are predicted to increase the odds in their favor as organic SEO pioneers.
Published July 2, 2021