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A Brief History of SEO

What Is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, defines the term as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines.” 

Basically, the better optimized your website is, the more highly it can rank in search engine results. The higher it ranks, the more people will see and click on it. Implementing an SEO strategy helps more people find your website naturally on Google and other search engines—without paying for digital advertising.  


A Brief History

To better understand SEO and its importance, we need to look back at its origin.

SEO Is a Millennial

It is believed that SEO was born in 1991. Around this time, the world’s first website was launched, and one quickly turned into many as websites crowded the internet. So, there was a huge need for structure and accessibility, and the world’s first search engines were created. 

In 1993, Excite revolutionized how information was categorized, and in 1994, Alta Vista, Yahoo, and others joined the scene.

However, in 1996, SEO really took off when Sergey Brin and Larry Page began building what would become the biggest, most recognized search engine to date: BackRub. Thought I was going to say Google? Well, you’re right because BackRub eventually became Google and was registered as a domain in 1997. 

The Early Days: Anything Goes

In the beginning, anything went in terms of SEO. The rules were fast and loose. So, marketers could use hacking practices and leverage keyword stuffing and spammy links to rank higher in search results. 

SEO Evolution

Google saw an opportunity to do something that other search engines weren’t. It began working on algorithm updates that would reward quality, relevant content to connect users with what they really want to find.

From then to now, hundreds of algorithm changes have been made, and SEO has rapidly evolved, forcing marketers to explore alternative strategies. SEO's history teaches us that the best way to prepare for the future of SEO is to not cut corners; it's to use ethical optimization techniques and publish content that holds actual value for your visitors.


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