The History of SEO

The internet has come at us hard and fast. In a relatively short time, it has forced us to shift the way we do business and has earned the highest adoption rate amongst communication oriented technologies – faster than the advent of radio and television. It has empowered users in all sorts of ways that we already take for granted:

  • Top-down information services no longer reign supreme. Everyone has a voice, and they can share it with everyone else from the comfort of their smartphone.
  • Where’s your map book? GPS apps and devices accurately pinpoint where we need to go.
  • How long since you’ve eagerly awaited the arrival of the latest phone book? Now we just search for a business online and all their contact information is easily accessible.
  • The # 1 frustration for sales people? Their customers walk in the door knowing more about the product than the people selling it because they’ve done all the research online.

Needless to say, this list could be much longer, but that’s not the point of this article. What I wanted to highlight here specifically is the way that people consume their information in this new always-on, always-connected world. We used to have to go to a library to borrow research tomes and books; or wait until the following morning to hear about news events around the world in the newspaper; or pay high subscription fees to specialized content/shows/publications. But all of that is available online now – all we need is a smartphone and an internet connection.

The downside of this empowerment of users is that there has been a sudden onslaught of voices, opinions, and content that has been posted online. That’s why when you search for something in a search engine, you receive lots of pages with dozens of results. So how do you break through? How do you pierce the veil of endless content to stand out and earn your customer’s business? Where are the opportunities online?

History has taught us that taking lessons from your past can improve results in the future. If we can understand the motivations of search engines, businesses that provide online services, and the intent of users searching for stuff online, it allows us to view the big picture and define a better strategy to be successful. That being said, I’d like to share with you a presentation of the History of Search Engine Optimization. Knowing where SEO came from will help to shine a light on where it is going.


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