Search engine optimization (SEO) can be described as a range of techniques that are used to boost the visibility of websites in search engine results, with a view to attracting high, quality traffic in the process. Significant amount of quality traffic is everything when running an online business, which makes it obvious enough why significant efforts are also devoted to getting SEO right. But, have you ever wondered how SEO became so important? Here is an overview on the evolution of this practice.
Development of Search Engines
From its name, it is apparent that SEO targets search engines. It is pertinent, therefore, to talk briefly about how search engines emerged. Although the development of the Internet is traced as far back as 1950s, it was not until about two decades later before the term was recognized. But popularity of Internet use only started growing in the 1990s. With list of servers connected to the Internet growing, there was need for mechanism to help locate and organize data online. The first attempt at doing this was a school project carried out in 1990 by a McGill University student, Alan Emtage. The project named Archie was followed in 1991 by another called Gopher, created by Mark McCahill, a University of Minnesota student. It was actually in 1993 that real search engines, closest to what we know now, started making their appearance. Most of the major search engines around today developed in the period from 1993 to 1998.
SEO in the Early Years
Soon after the advent of search engines, some people saw the potential for a money-spinning industry. Some early SEO pioneers were able to meet and exchange ideas on what they described as internet search marketing. One of these was John Audette, the founder of Multi-Media Marketing Group (MMG), who enlisted the services of some top figures in the SEO industry, including Danny Sullivan, Derrick Wheeler and Marshall Simmonds. The phrase, search engine optimization, was alleged coined during one of Sullivan’s sessions to teach the staff of Audette search ranking tricks.
In those years, webmasters were required to submit their sites to search engines, which then deployed bots to crawl and index these sites. The benefits attached to appearing high in search results soon encouraged people to devise methods to fool search engine algorithms. By 1997, the algorithms of almost all existing search engines had been cracked and poor quality web pages were able to find their way to first page of results. The situation drove search engines to look for ways to make their algorithms more complex.
The Advent of Google
The emergence of Google in 1998 proved to be a game changer. A brainchild of two Sanford graduate students, Google brought with it PageRank, which determined the relevance of websites and ranks them based on a variety of factors, including the quality and quantity of inbound links. The usefulness of returned results soon made Google the search engine of choice, making it the main target of SEO efforts. Some of the early year search engines were soon driven out of the spotlight. Google has further cemented its place and neutralized the usefulness of SEO efforts bordering on keyword spamming through a series of updates down the years, including Florida, Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird updates. SEO is vital to the success of any business with online presence today. Ensure that you get it right or you will be made to face the music by search engines. Regular updates to search algorithms, especially by Google, make it crucial to seek the assistance of an expert on SEO matters.