Apple Provides Information on How It Ranks Web Search Results

Recently, Apple updated the ‘about Applebot’ help documentation section. In the support page, the company also listed information about how Apple ranks web search results. Furthermore, the company updated information around Applebot. For those who don’t know, Applebot is the web crawler for Apple, and products such as Spotlight and Siri use Applebot. Apple stated in the document that Apple Search may take up to 5 factors into account while ranking web results.

First of all, Apple Search takes into account the aggregated user engagement with web search results.

The relevancy and matching of search terms to the topics and content of a webpage are also determined while ranking web search results.

Apple wrote that its Search takes into account the number and quality of links from other webpages on the web.

User location based signals, and webpage design characteristics were also listed in the factors that Apple Search takes into account ranking web search results.

The company also stated that Apple’s search results may use the above-mentioned factors with no (pre-determined) importance of ranking. So, the company is saying that Apple does use user engagement with its web search results, such as click through rate (CTR). Microsoft's search engine Bing also does this, on the other hand, Google does not. Apple Search also uses page content and topics for ranking web search results. Apple looks at links, user location, as well as the design characteristics of the webpage for ranking.

Apple also greatly expanded the document on the Applebot details. The company first published this document back in the year 2015. On July 17, Justin Mosebach posted on Twitter stating the before and after of the document has been updated. According to Mosebach, Apple updated the Applebot page last Friday. The updated page provides details about Applebot, and Apple has listed directives supported by Applebot. These directive include no-index, no-snippet, no-follow, none, and all. You can read the details of all these directives on the support page.

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