This is the first of a three-part series concerning SEO. Read Part II: SEO is Dead, right here
. We’ll start with a little background of the term and concept, and work our way to some of the outer reaches of the SEO universe. We’ll deal with industry trends, the shifting present and future of internet marketing, as well as some personal critiques generated by yours truly. So be sure to check back early and often. What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing a website for search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. And though the SEO acronym is simple, the process of search engine optimization is much more complicated. How does Google curate your search results? That is the big question when it comes to SEO. Sure, we could substitute Yahoo for Google. But why? The Mountain View, California – based company
is a giant of the technological world. Just take a look at their proposed, futuristic HQ
. They have been verbified
. Everyone knows Google. What everyone doesn’t know, however, is how they curate their search results. It’s a mystery of the highest order. The secret algorithm(s) guarded like the holy grail
from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade
. But before we get into that, let’s talk about the history of SEO. The History of SEO
It all started with the crawler. In 1994, Brian Pinkerton invented the first web crawler. He called it Webcrawler
. It was a simpler time. Webcrawler indexes the top 25 sites on the web. By 1997, Lycos (another crawler-based engine) has indexed over 60 million documents using spiders to “crawl” the web. By 1998, Google launches, using their tool, “PageRank,” to better rank websites. PageRank uses “linkjuice” to rank websites, and the link-building wave begins. The more links = the more popular the site.
By 2002, SEOs have popped up all over the place. Website owners pay these individuals and their companies to make their websites rank better for Google search results. The SEOs do this by finding the sites with the most links, and linking back to the site they are working on, boosting the second site’s power. It’s not long before “Google Bombing” takes over
. The system is already being taken advantage of, and Google must adapt to bring better search results. By 2004, the SEO business is in top gear. SeoMoz is launched by Rand Fishkin
and becomes one of the industry authorities on SEO. Throughout this period Google has been updating and releasing new versions of its software in order to combat those taking advantage of link-building. They edit their crawlers to better catch these “black hat linkers.”
After each of these updates, someone inevitably writes a “SEO is Dead” blog post. Ten years on, this is still happening. These posts are largely BS, but we’ll talk further about them later in this series. As Facebook
and Twitter explode and the millennial culture
spreads throughout society, the power of the web has never been stronger. That means the ranking of a website can be the difference between a company excelling or collapsing. As expected, this sort of power comes with a lot of responsibility. Google punishes sites that break their link-baiting rules, and works to improve their ability to curate the correct
pages for a search, not just the ones with the most link-juice. What’s next for SEO?
That’s an excellent question. And nobody knows the answer. As the web changes the way our world works, the way the web works is also changing. It’s fun to watch a dog chase it’s own tail
. But have you ever heard the mystical tale of a snake eating it’s own…err…tail?
This cyclicality can also happen in the SEO world. Each day more blog posts are devoted to SEO: to what it is, what makes it work, and how to make it better. Each day answers are few and far between. The cycle continues. Will SEOs begin to answer some of these questions they pose in their endless blog posts? Check back next time, when we dig further into SEO, and what it really says about Google and the web.