By Daniel Bagley
08 Feb 2021

Why the iOS 14 Update Makes Organic SEO Even More Essential

SEO Strategy

Imagine you’re in a crowded room and you’re browsing to find a way out. Suddenly, someone grabs your hand and leads you to two doors set side by side. They point to the door on the left and tell you it’s the exit. Do you trust them?

A scenario like this plays out on the internet every second of every day. People are searching for answers. When a company grabs a searcher by the hand and leads them to the door, the searcher might not know that the company has been monitoring the searcher’s browsing habits and app-usage data. 

And Then iOS 14 Walks Into the Room…

Through Apple’s iOS platform, companies use people’s app data to serve them personalized ads. Previously, you didn’t have to get a user’s permission to do this. 

But now, with the new iOS 14 update, users need to opt in to make targeted, personalized ads possible. 

iOS 14 Featured image

Because of Apple’s new operating system, organic SEO is more relevant and necessary than ever. Let’s take a look inside the engine and see what’s driving this development.  

What’s So Unique About iOS 14?

Apple’s iOS 14 was released in September of 2020. Simply put, if you’re a brand with an app in Apple’s App Store, the landscape for personalized ads to iOS users looks rockier because of iOS 14. This all revolves around the users’ Identification for Advertisers (IDFA).   

No Way, IDFA

Previously, when an iOS user downloaded an app from the App Store, the app developer (publisher) — and any advertisers with which the developer is affiliated — gained access to the user’s IDFA

The IDFA enables a whole slew of personalized, targeted advertising tactics and revenue streams. App publishers and advertisers won’t get IDFA access on iOS 14 unless the user grants permission.

There are over 100 million iPhone users in the U.S. alone, representing nearly 50% of smartphone users. iOS 14 makes it more difficult for companies to deliver targeted ads to a huge segment of the population.    

So What? Isn’t This Only a Big Deal for Facebook?

Since Facebook is the biggest data monger with apps in the App Store, it would seem the iOS 14 development would affect Facebook most. Ahead of the iOS 14 release, Facebook said that the change was bound to “dramatically” damage its Audience Network. Facebook’s Audience Network is the lucrative marketing program that feeds on Facebook users’ data. 

Facebook announced it would no longer even attempt to collect iOS users’ IDFA. This will, at the very least, make things really confusing for advertisers in the Audience Network. 

Audience network cut image

According to Facebook, the change “will have hard-hitting implications for businesses that advertise on mobile devices and across the web.” This isn’t just a big deal for Facebook advertisers. Even Google is saying that “publishers and advertisers that rely on its mobile ad software will experience weaker results without IDFA access.” 

Therefore, your ad revenue will decrease if you’re an app publisher and/or advertiser.

Why Does This Elevate Organic SEO?

The iOS 14 update demonstrates a very important truth about the world of digital marketing. You can’t control what a company like Apple is going to do. You can’t control technology users. But you can control your own digital presence through organic SEO.

Organic SEO uses content optimization to increase your visibility in search engines. Most importantly, organic SEO uses what you know about your audience. You don’t need app data — you can use search engine data and other data sources instead. 

What keywords is your audience using? What are the click-through rates (CTRs) for your links, whether they’re backlinks or search engine results? Which pages on your website are drawing the most traffic? How much of that traffic is from mobile users?

Keyword data, CTRs, and traffic data are all part of organic SEO’s arsenal. With these datasets and more, you can create content and optimize your website to attract the 100 million iPhone users who are now looking for their own answers because they’re not being shown personalized ads. 

SEO Replaces Disposable Ads With High-Value Content

A survey revealed that 52% of people feel ad personalization is unethical. SEO has the ability to engage these people and then some by showing them content they will love. Over time, as you continue engaging with your audience through optimized content that is valuable to the user, your search engine rankings improve. Your audience grows. 

organic searches phone image

This has a compounding effect. The more keywords you’re ranking for, the more clicks you earn, and you increase your audience share. A single evergreen blog post can keep earning clicks, shares, and traffic year over year. Imagine what multiple great posts can do.

High-Value Content Helps Capture Leads and Sales 

Picture this: as you keep publishing great content, earning links, and optimizing your site, your brand starts to become a household name and a thought leader. As these blocks stack up over time, you’re moving closer and closer to position one in the search engines for your most valuable keywords. 

As every marketer knows, this type of high visibility can easily translate into leads and sales. That’s because a great SEO strategy helps your product pages rank on page one for commercial investigation queries

You don’t even have to adjust or increase your budget to make organic SEO work for you. It’s easy to switch paid advertising spend over to SEO. You don’t have to keep pumping money into ads that have a questionable ROI. 

Ads are likely to get blocked or ignored by users. SEO keeps building on itself and ad-blockers can’t touch organic search results. 

There’s now an uncertain ROI for ads to 100 million iOS users because ad personalization is more difficult. With organic SEO, your marketing dollars won’t go toward uncertain ad placements — instead, you’ll invest in your brand and create value for the user, which is a proven way to earn website traffic.      

OK! Give Me Some Great Organic Strategies 

Organic SEO strategies are tactics that will help your website (or your client’s site) succeed and capture an audience in the long term. Focus on these strategies correctly, and you will:

  • Fine-tune your value proposition; 
  • Focus on your target audience; 
  • Increase your thought leadership; 
  • Fill content gaps and improve keyword rankings;
  • Generate leads.

Great content, links, and technical SEO are the three primary pillars of an effective SEO strategy. 

Sparkling Content

The first thing you should know about superior content is this: it’s very specific and very targeted. There are two types of content you can use to get the results you’re looking for:

Linkable Content 

Blog posts and resource guides that attract attention; this is content on your site that people will want to link to and share because it offers valuable information, is relevant, and is high quality.

Linkable content helps you achieve your SEO goals by:

  • Establishing your brand as a thought leader: Top-level, informative content makes it clear to consumers and search engines that you know your niche;
  • Funneling traffic and “link juice” to your money pages: When people link to your linkable content, it can drive traffic and increase ranking signals for converting pages;
    • Since linkable content pages are top-funnel pages, you’ll use them to link to mid-funnel and bottom-funnel pages on your site;
    • As your top-funnel pages attract attention, it increases ranking signals for your money pages, which are the bottom-funnel pages to which you’re linking.

The upshot is an increase in ranking signals and traffic for your mid- and bottom-funnel pages. 

Linkable Content Example 

Let’s say, for example, you are an app publisher. The biggest app publishers are — no surprise! — mobile game developers such as MachineZone and Supercell.

If you’re wanting to appeal to all those iOS gamers out there who will now be tougher to reach because of the new update, a high-quality piece of linkable content is going to give those gamers some information they value.

IGN’s post on GTA 5 Cheats and Secrets is a fine example: 

IGN Wiki Guide image

Page metrics:

  • Ranking keywords: 5,000;
  • Traffic: 309,300;
  • Traffic cost in dollars: 217,500;
  • Branded traffic: 853;
  • Non-branded traffic: 308,400.

This page gives a ton of gamers (over 300,000) some useful information. It’s not trying to sell anything for IGN and it’s at position number two in Google for a keyword with a search volume of 450,000. 

By casting a broad net, IGN’s post on GTA 5 hacks also captures a broad audience. This increases visibility for the site and increases its chances of attracting advertisers and subscribers. 

Keyword-Focused Content 

Keyword-focused content targets keywords your audience is using in their searches every day; it also targets keywords your competitors are ranking for while you aren’t. Often, it’s more fine-tuned to your offerings within your niche than linkable content is. 

Keyword-focused content helps you achieve your SEO goals by:

  • Showing search engines and your audience you are a subject-matter expert: People have specific queries related to your niche and you have the answers to them;
    • Search engines are more likely to rank you for keywords when you’re sending targeted signals;
  • Filling out your funnel: Covering lower-volume keywords and long-tail keywords gives you all the pieces of the puzzle to complete your marketing funnel;
  • Increasing your competitiveness: Take a look at any of your top-ranking competitors — chances are they have a breadth of content addressing more keywords than your lower-ranking competitors.

Your top-funnel, linkable, attention-grabbing pages will link to your keyword-focused content. This helps search engines rank you for important keywords and bottom-funnel pages. 

Keyword-Focused Content Example

Now imagine you’re a health and wellness-related company that normally advertises to certain iOS app users. Of those users, you know that some may suffer from migraines from time to time.

Natural cure for migraine image

A fine example of keyword-focused content in the health-and-wellness niche is Healthline’s post on natural ways to reduce migraine symptoms:

10 natural ways to reduce migraine symptoms image

Page metrics

  • Ranking keywords: 125;
  • Traffic: 4,600;
  • Traffic cost in dollars: 8,700.

The top-ranking keyword for this page is “natural cure for migraine.” Note that it’s relatively lengthy and specific. The search query volume for this keyword isn’t huge — it’s 880. Healthline is ranking number one for it, and within a month the site has earned 413 visitors for this keyword alone.

This is how keyword-targeted content works — it draws a targeted audience that will be sure to come back because they know your site offers information and products they can use. 

As you continue adding targeted content to your website, search engines will crawl your site and see your improved signals. Your specificity will tell them exactly what you want to rank for. 

In turn, search engines are more likely to rank your pages higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for specific queries. In this regard, Page One Power specializes in full-service content strategy and creation to maximize your ROI. 

Stellar Links 

An effective content strategy is not complete without relevant backlinks that show your content is authoritative. Our link-building services help increase your website’s authority signals, semantic signals, and topical relevance to search engines. Our link-building tactics include:

  • Resource link building: We customize this service based on your needs.
    • We’ll secure links to your website from relevant websites that identify your resources as pages their users should visit. 
  • Content link building: We write custom, strategic content for you and continually build links to it. 
    • We also do the legwork to ensure that relevant, authoritative websites and blogs link to your website’s pre-existing content.

Ultimately, great links are targeted to help improve your keyword rankings. Your backlink portfolio shows the search engines that you belong as an organic answer to search queries.  

Technical/On-Page SEO

Our technical and on-page SEO services are the final piece of the puzzle. Geared toward optimizing each page on your website, technical SEO ensures that the links we procure for you will be as effective as possible. These services include:

  • On-site SEO auditing: Is your code functioning as it should? Are there errors you haven’t noticed? 
  • Keyword research: Is your site optimized correctly for your keywords? Are there important keywords you’re missing?
  • Penalty recovery: Has your site taken a hit from Google or any other search engine? How can you remedy it?
  • Website migrations: Are you changing your domain name and worried you’ll lose your rankings?
  • Traffic-loss diagnosis: Did traffic drop off? If so, why, and what can you do to fix it?
  • New website launch: What can you do to make sure your new site is in the best place possible at the get-go?

We’ll answer all these questions for you. Even better, we’ll give you a clear set of solutions. 

Looking for a quick and easy way to review your website for technical errors? Download this free technical SEO roadmap to run a simple audit and catch the most common and pervasive issues that plagues websites.

SEO roadmap download card

Next, your audience does their part. When they search for answers to queries, your content appears in the SERPs. When they click through to access your content, they see a shiny and helpful site, your traffic increases, and you’re more likely to see new leads.

Organic SEO Is the Solution to Ineffective Ads

Exceptional SEO improves your diet and exercise regimen so you can live a long, healthy, and successful life. Paid ads are expensive, name-brand pieces of clothing. They’ll wear out soon enough. Then you need to buy more.

Naturally grown organic SEO image

Ultimately, the iOS 14 update gets at the heart of the problem with ads. Even before the update, you had to keep pumping money into ads to remain visible to your audience. If you stopped paying money, you lost visibility. 

Now, even if you keep spending money on ads, they’re not going to be as effective as they were before. The terms and conditions for advertising on any platform can change at any moment. This is some shaky ground to stand on.

Alternatively, great SEO will have a lasting impact. People will always use search engines to find information and products they need. As you keep your content, backlink portfolio, and site in tip-top shape, you’ll always be there to greet people on page one.

Daniel Bagley

Daniel Bagley is a copy editor and content creator for Page One Power. A Boise State University alumnus with a bachelor's degree in English, Daniel enjoys playing music in his band, Distant Family, and hiking with his dog, Morty, in his free time.