Search Engine Optimization (SEO) traces its roots back to the 1990s, when the webmasters saw the need to rank better on search engines. Well, that has always been the case since then, the only thing changing are the SEO techniques and search engine algorithms. SEO started as the basic way of helping websites rank better, but now it has evolved into something better that ensures better content delivery for the internet users.
The Early Times (1991 to 2002) of Search Engine Optimization:
It was during 1991 when Tim Berners Lee launched the first website. With such an invention, more people started to put up websites too. These early websites did not have a lot of graphics, but just information about various things around the world.
A platform such as Excite does qualify as the first search engine. It was a collection of several websites back in 1993. You could now search for information through this platform and it could get back to you the relevant websites.
It was not until Yahoo and Google entered the market that made search engines better. These two search engines had better data and search delivery. At this time, indexing was based on keyword stuffing and often spammed backlinks.
Google saw the potential of offering better search results by developing ingenious search algorithms. These search algorithms were going to shape the future of Search Engine Optimization.
Significant Changes in SEO (2003 to 2005)
Google saw the need to intervene on how SEO was being used by several webmasters. It was evident that most webmasters were just stuffing keywords in the web content without worrying about the quality of the content itself. A lot of sellers on Fiverr became very good at manipulating this algorithm. Google brought in several updates whose aim was to penalize bad linking and eliminate the concept of keyword stuffing.
This was the time local SEO was invented. The use of local SEO helped the users to get valuable information within their locality. Such information included maps, locations, mobile number results and stores.
More updates from Google (2006 to 2009)
This was an era where updates such as Google’s Universal Search were popular. The update was meant to offer more engaging ways to search and get information on the internet. Google also started to index real time updates from Google news, Twitter and other notable websites.
In 2008, Google introduced a way of indexing website based on their historical data. Such shift of indexing websites led to the birth of platforms such as Google Trends and Google Analytics. This ensured that the search was now user focused.
By using Google Analytics and Google Trends, the webmasters could now know how to make better content that would attract more views. Such changes had to be reflected on SEO techniques too. The webmasters started to optimize their content better in line with the new Google rules and guidelines.
Massive Changes in Search Engine Optimization (2010 to 2012)
It was about time that Google forced webmasters to change their SEO ways or get banned. Google’s aim was to get these brands offering user focused content rather than relying on SEO too much. Brands such as Overstock that did not comply with the regulations faced a tough time back then. Google showed that it could not spare anyone even if the brand was already at the top.
With the introduction of Google’s Knowledge Graph, webmasters got to understand the importance of having better ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs). This meant that you could now get the most relevant results to what you had searched for without having to dig through several websites first.
The Modern Age for SEO (2013 to date)
Several updates from Google have been released since 2013 that have shaped the changes in SEO techniques. The notable changes include the Penguin and Hummingbird updates. After these changes were made, some people saw it as a way of killing SEO. These updates were purely focused on the changing from keyword optimization to purely content based indexing. If you had quality content, then you could expect to rank even better. If you were going to use keywords, it had to be the long-tail keywords that provided the relevant information to the users.
Some changes in SEO included the use of responsive web designs, mobile optimization among others. The responsive web design has so far been the most notable change in SEO for some time now.
As for the future of SEO, all we could do is wait and watch as to what changes might come through. Search Engine Optimization will always change and adapt based on algorithms released by search engines to make the internet a better place.