Search Engine Optimization History

The Beginning of Search Engine Optimization or Search Engine Optimization History

Today’s SEO centers around Google. In fact, the practice goes back to Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s world-renowned search engine. Some may claim that SEO and search engine marketing started with the creation of the first website in 1991, or perhaps the first online search engine, but SEO history “officially” starts around 1997.

You see, he was quite upset that Starship’s official website was ranked on page 4 of a search engine at the time, instead of # 1 on page 1.

Granted, we will probably never know if this story is more historical revisionism or 100% fact, but all indications are that the term SEO originated around 1997.
If you look around a little more, you’ll find that John Audette of Multimedia Marketing Group was using the term as early as February 15, 1997.

Before Google became famous,

High search engine placement was still a fairly new concept in 1997, and it was also very directory-oriented.

Before DMOZ, LookSmart was powered by Zeal, had its own directory, and Yahoo Directory was part of Yahoo Search. DMOZ, or the Mozilla Open Directory Project (remember, Mozilla was a corporation and Moz was a brand long before SEOMoz), was an online business directory.

That’s what Yahoo was originally founded on: the ability to find the best websites shared by editors.

In 1998, I started getting involved with SEO because our clients had created great websites but were not getting many visitors. Little did I know that this would become a way of life. On the other hand, the World Wide Web was still a fairly new concept for most people at that time. And today? Everyone wants to rule the SERPs.

Search Engine Optimization vs. Search Engine Marketing
Before the SEO became the official name, other terms were used:

-Search engine placement, positioning, and ranking
-Submission to a search engine
-Search engine submission
-Website promotion

Google update history


Since June 2019, Google states the Core Update has nothing specific to solve because it encompasses a wide variety of elements.

As part of the BERT Update, Google redesigned Google Search. Google employs BERT models to understand searches. It claimed the move affected both search rankings and featured snippets, and BERT (from Transformers) will be utilized on 10% of US English searches.
In December 2019, BERT went global.

Featured Snippet Deduplication, January 2020:

Pages in featured snippet positions will no longer appear in ordinary Page 1 organic listings. This update affects all search listings globally.
A couple of additional upgrades this year.

February 2, 2021:

Passage Ranking Passage Ranking is now available for English-language inquiries in the US, according to Google’s Public Relations for Search, Danny Sullivan. “This doesn’t mean we’re indexing single passages independently of pages,” Google says. We’re still scanning pages and rating them. But now we may include page passages as a ranking element…

On April 8, 2021:

This latest search ranking algorithm upgrade rewards “in-depth product reviews over thin content that merely lists a number of products.” Google also listed nine questions to consider while writing product evaluations.

For the June 2021 Spam Update:

Google SearchLiaison linked to their release from April 2021 (How we fought spam on Google in 2020), when it was revealed that Google has been using AI to fight spam since 2020. Among the spam forms addressed in the notice is hacked website spam.

Later is the following July Core Update 2021.

In the same month Google Link Spam Algorithm Update.
Google announced an algorithm update to detect and eliminate link spam was rolling out. Later, warned that link spamming sites could lose ranking, especially those with sponsored, guest, or affiliate material. Google claimed the update should be fully implemented in two weeks and affect many languages.

Then came the Google Spam Update and the Broad Core Update.

The Updated December 2021 Product Review List
The December 2021 Product Review Update started rolling out for English language webpages today, Google Search Central tweeted. They provided a link to a blog post on product reviews and your website.

What is Search Engine Marketing?

Sometime in 2001, a prominent industry writer proposed search engine marketing as the successor to search engine optimization.

While SEO as a term isn’t excellent-on balance, we tend to not optimize search engines, we tend to optimize our internet presence. It has been the popular term in our business for quite twenty years and will doubtless stay that way for the foreseeable future.

And what about search engine marketing?

The term is still used, but it’s now more associated with paid search marketing and advertising. Search engines have changed the way we find information, research, store products and services, entertain ourselves, and connect with others.

A search engine uses practically every online destination-website, blog, social network, or app. The search engine landscape was extremely competitive in the late 1900s.

Nowadays, SEO is super important for the most wanted page on Google—the first page. That’s why it’s important to understand how Google works and what it tells us for better optimization on our website. You can find more information here.

By Sarah Kuhn

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