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History of SEO: How It Started, Where It’s Going

History of SEO

SEO is fascinating. We’ve heard a lot of opinions about it: that it’s cheating, that it’s dying, etc. How did it start — and when? Today we are talking about the history of SEO.

History of SEO

The beginning

The web didn’t begin in 1991, but that’s when search engines first became a thing There were a lot of the early ones, from Archie and Gopher to other, more complicated ones. They weren’t nearly as powerful as Google today, but they helped to organize files on a network. Aliweb was the first web search engine, meaning it was indexing web pages in the same way as Google does today.

SEO wasn’t really around: webmasters used to submit their sites manually. Optimization wasn’t really on their mind.

Google appears (1998)

The appearance of Google in 1998 is a major milestone for the web. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, it decimated its competitors pretty quickly and presented its users with a much better quality of links. That’s when SEO started to become a thing, with people and organizations realizing the importance of being on the first page.

Content Marketing on the rise (2004)

Google introduces updates to its algorithm all the time, which usually freaks SEO specialists. What will stop working now, what sites will stop ranking for no apparent reason?

In 2004, the first of those updates appeared, called Florida. Florida aimed to get rid of overoptimized pages, filled to the brim with keywords and low-quality content. This is the battle that’s going on to this day.

SEO today

Since 2013, the basics of SEO have remained the same. There have been a lot of updates, all of which tried to penalize websites created solely for exploiting search engines. As of 2023, fooling Google has become incredibly hard, which, of course, is a good thing for users. Also, mobile optimization has become a major thing.

Is SEO the same for Google and Bing?

Basically, yes. The principles stay the same, but the search engines (Google and Bing being the major ones) still behave differently. For example, Bing rates domain age and matching keywords more than Google.

So, if you rate first on Google (congratulations, by the way!), it doesn’t mean you’ll achieve the same on Bing. Does it matter? A little. Google basically owns the web, with more than 90% market share. But Bing still matters — especially since the latest AI implementation.

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