Apple’s latest iOS 9 update is slated to launch this September – and with it comes changes that could have a tremendous impact on searches from a mobile device. The update will dramatically shift the landscape of how you search using Siri, Spotlight, or Safari – in favor of apps over mobile-responsive websites. Apple will begin to index web pages containing content that is also available via an iOS app, dramatically affecting blogs and freelance websites.
But there’s hope for writers! NoteStream, a mobile learning app, already complies with nearly every qualification for complete indexing and has been doing so long before this update was announced. NoteStream wants to continue providing an outlet to those that could be lost in the iOS 9 shuffle.
With the ever-changing landscape of web searches, Richard Forsythe, CTO, is expanding on what this update is and how it could affect you:
Q – What is new with iOS 9 for iPhone and iPad?
A – Many exciting enhancements contained in iOS 9 have been reported elsewhere. But one major change has not been highlighted widely: this is the change Apple is making to the way search will work on mobile – whether the user searches using Siri, Spotlight, or Safari.
Q – How will this change to search affect iPhone users?
A – Fundamentally, Apple is trying to prioritize search results that can be viewed with an app over results that need to be viewed with a web browser. This actually makes sense; many web-based page results are not readable on a mobile phone. Apple is trying to improve the search experience for its users.
Q – Is iOS 9 just searching the apps the user has installed?
A – No! That’s what’s exciting for app developers. The new search prioritizes results that can be viewed using an app—even if the user has not installed it. In their launch event, Apple demonstrated a search for “potato”; it showed some recipes from the Yummly app before any web-based search results. If the user clicks on a recipe, they are given the opportunity to install the app and access the content.
Q – What does iOS 9 mean for writers and bloggers who have content online?
A – Any content that is not in an app somewhere will be harder for mobile users to find via search. And for the app to appear in search, it also has to be updated specially for the new search engine—it won’t happen automatically. Finally, the real power of this search function will only be available to content that is mirrored on both the web and the app; if your web page doesn’t point to the exact same content in-app, your search profile will be limited.
Q – How will this affect SEO?
A – SEO has traditionally been focused on Google and their web page-ranking algorithms (with other options, such as Bing, in the mix). Apple has not had a “search engine” before now. But with around 25 percent of all search coming from Apple mobile devices and growing fast, “Apple Mobile Search Optimization” (“AMSO”) suddenly becomes an issue that is quite different from SEO and can’t be ignored.
Q – How will NoteStream contributors benefit from iOS 9?
A – NoteStream was founded on the principle that an app was the only way to deliver longer articles in a way that could be read on a mobile device; mobile-responsive websites just weren’t good enough to engage readers.
Clearly, Apple agrees, and they have shifted the playing field very firmly in this direction. NoteStream will be updated to comply with the iOS 9 search requirements, and those benefits will accrue to all content on the platform.
Q – What kind of proactive adjustments is NoteStream making before the update?
A – The NoteStream app was already compliant with many of the requirements, such as “deep linking”. The few remaining items—which have only just been published—will be implemented in time for the release of iOS 9. It’s a great illustration of the benefits that come from using a platform app like NoteStream over a custom-developed app that would now need expensive enhancements just to stay “in the race”.
Q – How can authors contribute their content to NoteStream?
A – Interested authors should email email@example.com. If their content is suitable for publication on NoteStream, they will receive an Author Profile form to start the on-boarding process. As a platform, we merely distribute content and fully attribute it to the author and/or publisher.
Q – What other benefits will authors gain from using NoteStream?
A – Apart from making long-form content easier to read on mobile, readers can follow their favorite authors and receive notifications when new articles are published. We also make it easy for people to find new content on related topics. It’s a mobile-first community of engaged readers.