Search engines and Search Engine Optimisation.
SEO – three letters we use to describe the best tool in the online marketing box and search engines have had a love / hate relationship since 1994.
Here is a brief history of search engines and how SEO has evolved.
1988 British scientist Tim Berners-Lee began creating HTML, HTTP and the first web pages at CERN- the world wide web was born.
In 1994 the previously academic / technical application became a public network as telecommunications and the freedom of the HTTP protocol grew organically and without restrictions.
All search results from 1988 were created by humans until the year 1993 when Brian Pinkerton created the first crawler program to index web pages, he called it Webcrawler.
Lycos was created in 1994 and was one of the earliest crawler based engines, in just 3 years it had indexed over 60 million documents, showing how fast the internet was growing.
Yahoo started in January 1994 but only showed crawler based results if no human powered results existed.
Possibly the first internet buyout happened 1996 when Excite which has previously only returned human generated results bought Webcrawler.
1997 saw Danny Sullivan launch Search Watch to discuss all things search related , SEO was official.
Google takes over.
1997 and Google.com was registered by Larry Page and Sergey Brin who were students at Stanford and had begun the project when working on a dissertation that used graphs to display the mathematical properties of links on the WWW.
1998 and Google introduces PageRank. Websites with more incoming links would be ranked higher and this would result in higher positioning in results returned. PageRank was originally called Link Juice, here is where the love affair between SEO and links started.
Some would argue it’s where Google started its journey to being the number one engine in the world. SEOs all over the world wanted to be able to understand and ultimately control the results.
1999 and we had black Monday as Altavista relaunched its website complete with new search algorithm, many websites disappeared from their results and SEOs had problems regaining them. Learning to adapt to the different algorithms became a challenge in itself.
2000 gave us Google AdWords, a paid advertising service and the Pagerank toolbar, SEOs can now measure Pagerank and use this in their link building efforts.
2002 and Google bombing is the latest SEO craze , using massive amounts of backlinks would inflate the Pagerank of the target website, therefore increasing its position. This sparked a few businesses that would act as brokers, buying and selling links. Google acted breitling replica watches quickly to penalise these sites.
2003 and Google introduces contextual advertising platform Adsense. SEOs make the most of this by developing MFA ( made for AdSense sites).
Google bring out “Florida”update which penalises keyword tactics popular in the 90’s.
2004 and Java redirects and doorway pages on websites causes Google to ban them from their results, more SEO techniques have to be created.
2005 Google create the nofollow tag to prevent blog spam, SEOs use this to funnel traffic to desired pages, again creating artificial Pagerank. (This carried on until 2008 when Google put a stop to the excess traffic score being passed to any other page rather than the intended one).
Google acquire Urchin and Google analytics is born.
The “Sandbox Effect” is in full force, Google introduce an ageing filter that makes it difficult to rank new websites.
2006 and Google ban BMW for cloaking which is creating 2 pages, one for the search engines to crawl and one for the public to view, both with different content.
XML sitemaps are launched and supported by all major search engines.
2008 Google launches “Suggest”, SEOs use this to assist with keyword research.
2009 is a big year as social networks provide real time information, Google gives us Caffeine update which indexes more frequently.
Also from Google in 2009 is the update that changed SEO for a long time, “Vince” was a major update that seemed to favour so called “brands”.
2010 and it’s confirmed that Twitter and Facebook influence results by Google and Bing.
2011 and Google update “Panda” aims to prevent sites with poor quality content from acquiring top tier rankings. This is when the focus on good quality website content became even more important.
Google launched Google+ , at the same time they start encrypting the keyword data so results for organic traffic simply say “(not provided)”, not very helpful.
2012 and update “Penguin” is released to punish websites that build low quality links. Article spinning, blog networks and directories are all in the firing line.
A disavow tool appears from Google to help websites recover from bad links penalties.
2013 has bought yet another massive update to Google’s algorithm, 80% of search traffic was reported to have been affected.
So from 1997 and Google’s conception the history is mostly Google, the other search engines shouldn’t be ignored of course but Google’s continuing changes breitling replica watches force website owners to think more about their content than ever before. Simply producing a website and expecting it to do well in the WWW is not an option in the highly competitive world of e-commerce.
SEO and Google have a love / hate relationship, a relationship that can only lead to really good quality, informative and relevant websites being given the preference they deserve. An informed user is a happy user after all.
I am proud of the fact that our internet marketing and SEO team here at Getsmartbox has been involved in the website design and marketing process since 1994, we have seen the internet grow and have grown with it, every change, every different form , every new technology and every development. Our customers benefit from our experience and we meet every new challenge with the same commitment as we did in 1994.
Please visit our website and contact us for more information on what we can do for your online presence.
Written by Mark White
Internet Marketing specialist