A search engine is a piece of software that mimics human learning with the goal to provide you with the best web search experience. With every search, search engines access their API of information to show you a variety of results.
The purpose of a search engine is to show you the most relevant information possible to satisfy the searcher's intent.
Search engines have artificial intelligence that uses data such as clickthrough rate, bounce rate, and many others to determine whether the searcher was satisfied with their results. They are always collecting data in order to higher the chances of satisfying a searcher's intent.
Named after the word 'archive,' the first search engine to be developed was Archie. Its features were limited to searching for FTP files. Today, more search engines with better features are being updated by the day. With the news of the introduction of Apple's Spotlight and Ahrefs' Yep, things are getting spicier by the year.
With an estimated 5.4 billion Google searches per day and 35 trillion web pages indexed, you can assume search engines are the main source of information in 2022. If you need help optimizing your own website's organic search presence, don't hesitate to contact us.
This blog post explores the attempt of these companies to create search engines that are just as good or even better than the current search engines.
What Makes A Great Search Engine?
For most things, simple is better, and this goes for search engines. A great search engine provides simple, easy-to-understand results. The success of a search engine is measured based on many factors, one of which is the user—users who like how a search engine works become repeat users and stay loyal to that platform.
The relevancy of a search engine also determines its greatness. One of the things that make Google stand out is its up-to-date algorithm. This lets it rank search results based on relevance to the user's search query. A great search engine must give its users the option of choice. For example, Google shows a variety of sites in its SERPS, even if it is a branded keyword. This creates a wider pool of results to choose from.
Although not as key as the aforementioned, branding also plays a role. A great search engine also has a great advertising platform and interface.
What Makes Ahrefs & Apple Different From Google?
In this blog post, I have mentioned Google a noticeable number of times because it is the most used search engine in the world. It is also the largest, and these facts make it the obvious reference point. However, to dive into the success chances of Apple's and Ahrefs' search engines, we must first consider how these companies differ from Google.
Although not yet officially launched, Apple's Spotlight already exists. If you use an iPhone or Mac, you've probably come across it. When you swipe down on your screen to quickly search for an app, it is Spotlight powering that search bar.
Google has a secret ingredient called the PageRank algorithm. With this and its dedicated automated web crawlers, Google provides the user with organic results. However, the spotlight goes beyond web-based results. This search engine can provide cloud-based results as well. This gives it a personalized feel but may also cause clutter.
Regarding digital advertising platforms, Google has been at the top for a while. Google Ads are great but also distracting when you don't need what's being advertised. Spotlight is ad-free, so companies can invest more in optimizing for the search engine rather than paying for ads. There is not much known about Yep's ads offering yet, except that Dmitry wants to create a platform that is fair to content creators by sharing search revenue.
As mentioned earlier, users play an important role in determining the success of a search engine. So what do Ahrefs and Apple offer users that Google does not? Unfortunately, since Ahrefs and Apple have not launched their search engine offerings, there is not much to be said about the user experiences yet.
However, Google already has a great head start. Google Search has an interface that is easy on the eyes and mind. This ensures that users are comfortable while using it. Google Search also has a defined way of managing search results to promote a better user experience.
Perhaps, the top difference between Google, Apple, and Ahrefs is the years. Google has had a long time to add updates to its search engine, which gives it the home advantage.
Will They Stand A Chance With Google?
At launch, Ahrefs and Apple's search engines will not be able to compete with the complexity of Google. Their artificial intelligence will need tons of data to be able to achieve this feat. However, Ahrefs does have some data stored from their search engine optimization software.
With its search engine, Yep, Ahrefs plans to bring an entirely new feature to the search engine forefront. Yep claims to give content creators a 90% share of their revenue. This is a far cry from the profit-sharing mechanism of any search engine that's ever existed, even Google.
One must wonder where and how Ahrefs plans to make so much that they can survive whilst giving 90% revenue share to creators. Most browsers have a default search engine they're already dedicated to. Chrome has Google, and Safari is a no-go because Apple is also launching a search engine.
Realistically speaking, the figures do not match the circumstances, but if they can pull this off, they might stand a chance. Apple has the advantage of its popularity, for example even in developing countries, almost every home has an Apple product owner.
Safari is the go-to browser for Apple products right now, so when the search engine is launched, the sensible option will be to make it the default search engine for Safari. Apple has the better advantage because it has its hardware products, ecosystem, browser, and other money-making platforms.
If you're familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you've probably heard of or used Ahrefs at some point. If SEO is not your business, chances are you've never heard of this company. Ahrefs does not have Apple's advantages, so it begs the question, "What's the plan?"
Although these points are valid, Apple still has the problem of figuring out how to make up for the money that will be lost when they can no longer have Google Search as the default search engine for Safari. For this purpose, Google pays Apple $8-12 billion yearly, and initially, that will be a lot to make up.
Will these new search engines be able to compete with Google? Overall, the answer to this question will be based on the answers to other important questions. Will these search engines be able to give simpler, more accurate results than Google? Will they be able to filter spam the way Google does? Most importantly, will they be able to keep users happy? If they can do this, they might just stand a chance.
Will The Search Volume Be High Enough For Companies To Invest In Optimizing For These Search Engines As Well?
Google is great, but it's not perfect. Even the best products have shortcomings. If Apple and Ahrefs can find ways to solve the problems attached to Google, this will attract more users.
With the points stated in the previous section, one can see that Ahrefs and Apple have the potential to have search volume so high that companies will have no option but to invest in optimizing. It will just take a while to get to that level.
Apple, being the big tech company it is, chances of eventual success are high. Many have made speculations about an Apple search engine since 2020, so the launch news was not so surprising.
Despite the bleak prospects, the data Ahrefs already gathered from being an SEO toolkit will be of great use. They claim to have a crawler that visits over 8 billion web pages every 24 hours. That's some promising news. For a company of just 90 employees, Ahrefs has shown good progress over the years. Hopefully, this happens with the search engine too.
Ahrefs' investing $60 million in a search engine product is no joke, especially since that industry seems saturated by the almighty Google. Creating a search engine is a huge dream, but creating one that does not rely on the APIs of other search engines is even bigger.