The History Of SEO: Part One

The history of SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is likely shorter than many of the people reading this. The exact start is disputed, but the term “SEO” was coined by a marketing firm executive in 1997. Let’s explore this nearly three decade long history and examine how SEO has changed and how it may continue to evolve.

The Beginning

In the last decade of the 20th century, there were no formal rules for SEO. In general, if you used your keyword more than your competitors, you would rank higher. Today, this practice--keyword stuffing--is largely frowned upon and will likely lead to your website rankings tanking down Google’s search pages.Multiple search engines existed, most of which are now defunct, or have been swallowed by the large search engines we know today. One of the longest lasting search engines is Yahoo. Originally created as a website directory, website owners had to submit their site for listing and it had to meet certain quality standards. This was the forebearer of SEO as we know it today.Created in 1997, Google did not gain traction until it paired with Yahoo in 2000. This is when Google started its ascent to become the search engine giant it is today. Concurrently, the first PPC also appeared in 1998. In the first few years of the 21st century, SEO would change dramatically and become the major marketing force it is today.

The Early 21st Century

With their new prominence, Google created Adwords in 2000. Webmasters also became used to Google’s monthly algorithm updates, which would lead to major fluctuations in the search results. Though, in the early 2000s, spam tactics continued to rule SEO strategy. This would become a problem for Google that they would have to later address. In 2004, Google began laying the groundwork for localized search result optimization, aka local SEO. This would optimize search results based on geographic keywords and searches. With this, Google also began to examine search history and other data to serve more personalized results and ads.When Google acquired YouTube in 2006, videos became vital to SEO strategy. This continues today with embedded videos helping pages climb search engine ranks and gain authority. Google Analytics and the precursor to Google Search Console also launched in 2006.It was in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century that Google began addressing the spam problem. They created no-follow tags, announced support for XML sitemaps, and in 2008, launched the Vince update which made website authority among the most important ranking factors. Later on, the Panda and Penguin algorithm updates would make quality website content more valuable to crawlers.To schedule a consultation, call us at 206-787-0784. You can also reach out via chat and contact form.

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