This is a primer for most of you who are interested in but maybe still unfamiliar of what is meant by the the three letter acronym, SEO, which is short for “Search Engine Optimization”; its history and current day evolution.
Over the past 25 years, the way we live and work has been utterly transformed by the creation and evolution of the world wide web or “internet”. As the volume of online content has soared, search engines have become central and essential and critical to an infinite number of our online “web surfing” searches & experiences.
SEO is an Internet marketing strategy, and takes into account how search engines are programmed (and updated) to function, what people are most likely to search for, the actual search phrases or keywords entered into search engines – and specific for each target audience.
So let’s quickly travel back a quarter-of-a-century to a time before tags, keywords, “backlinks”. clickthrus, and content optimization – to explore how SEO has changed and developed over time -> and what those changes now appear to tell us about the future!
1991 : The first “website “goes live in a European research lab. The first webmaster goes down in history as “Tim Berners Lee”.
With an immediate explosion in the number of websites, there’s an increasingly pressing need to organize and index them. The earliest services to do this were “Archie” and “Gopher” — they were most primitive in how they worked, but both of those services are widely regarded as the first search engines.
The “evolution” of Search Engines became: Altavista, LYCOS, Infoseek, , Excite, Ask Jeeves, Google, Yahoo Search, MSN, and Bing… There were various others such as search.com, but much less visible than the main group.
As getting top or “1st page” listings has proven to be vitally important for any company marketing its products and services on the internet, SEO companies began to take root. A group at Search Engine Watch launched the Search Engine Strategies Conference (SES in 1996-1997). SES is still going strong today, with events all over the world frequently attended by thought leaders and industry experts.
Now onto Google:
Google launched in 1997. In 1998 Google developed “PageRank “ to list websites more precisely, which was weighted considerably on inbound links, a factor that (when the links are interpreted as meaningful) is still a useful tool search engine today, but it has taken a more sophisticated approach every year since.
During this period in time, up until 2002, it was still possible to use “backlinks “ to increase seo ranking/visibility – hyperlinks that point back to someone’s website that, most often, artificially made a page display for unrelated searches. Such methods became known as “spammy links” or “black-hat (or somewhat unethical) seo”.
In 2003, Google begins contextual advertising with Adsense – and penalized former seo techniques techniques like “keyword stuffing” and “cloaking” (a website that shows search engines and users different content).
In 2005, Google Analytics was launched giving SEO professionals the ability to track and monitor their client sites. In 2009 another major milestone, Google Caffeine, came into play. This enabled Google to re-index the web more frequently and provide fresher results + real-time search as you begin to type your search. In 2011 Google Panda was the big stir. Panda lowered the rankings of thin, low-quality, or poorly constructed, websites. In 2012 Google Penguin came up to bat. Penguin decreased rank of websites sites that were in violation of standardized webmaster “WW3” guidelines. In 2013, Google announced its ‘disavow tool‘ which helped websites recover from penalties due to bad links (which was the main seo tactics of the previous years).
So, what can we learn from now a quarter century of SEO practices?
The basic goal of search engines remains the same today: to showcase the most relevant and appropriate content to searches when individuals search for it, and to reward “authoritative”, “unique” and well designed websites.
Over the years, search engines have evolved and “black-hat” practices have become increasingly put in penalty boxes (made harder to find through a given search). That trend will likely continue.
The overall trend in SEO methodology and practice is that it has become increasing complicated and harder to “cheat”, and is always increasingly competitive all around.
The real bottom line is this: Quality, informative, Unique content will always be bumped up in rankings,, so we urge you to continue producing or investing in great content.
You need the right knowledge and familiarity with various seo-tools to first find low competition, high ROI keywords, the current seo fundamental and proper “white-hat” seo techniques to achieve success with gaining visibility with google and the various other search engines. We think your best bet is to contact us for help with your SEO. We have a proven track record of success with all our clients. We will gladly not only provide you a quote, but also lasting results!