This post is part of a series of 2016 predictions from industry experts.
Apple Becomes a Major Search Platform
SEO's are going to start paying attention to Apple. Here's why: Apple has become a both a major local search platform and now with the launch of iOS 9 a major search engine. With Local Search, it's almost as if Apple assembled all of the building blocks in plain sight (Apple Maps, MapsConnect, iBeacons, ApplePay, Apple Watch, etc.) and they have coalesced over the past year into a source of local search traffic that can't be ignored. Now with Spotlight Search starting to act like a Web search engine, SEOs are going to have to figure out how to play in Apple's sandbox – which in many ways is much more of a black box than Google's. A lot of people ignore Safari because it only has something like 20% market share (and most SEOs are Chrome snobs :)). But think about it this way – we have a client that currently gets about 11 million visits/month from Organic Search. They also get about 8 million visits/month via Safari browsers, mobile & desktop. Over the next year, it's easy to imagine that total Safari traffic will overtake total Organic traffic. If you observe how Safari is inserting Apple search engine results at the top of queries made from Safari's address bar you will realize that understanding how to get a site to appear there is going to be hugely valuable.
Read more from Andrew on How to Optimize iOS 9 for Local Search.