Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, refers to a series of activities and processes by which a website gains more visibility and rankings online. The aim of SEOis to produce high quality, unpaid or organic results in search engines that produce targeted traffic website traffic. In terms of history, the first attempts towards site optimization started during the middle of the 1990’s and over time, the concept of SEO activities has changed dramatically.
According to Danny Sullivan, a revered analyst in the search engine segment, search engine optimizations were initially used during 1997. However, even during the early days when Yahoo was launched, people were dabbling in SEO concepts by using varying keyword densities as well as placement. This marked the beginning of SEO history. Initial efforts revolved around webmasters submitting URLs of their sites to search engines. Subsequently, these engines would send spiders that crawled and indexed these websites. Once people realized the importance of being ranked in the first page of search results, they started looking at alternatives to bypass algorithms used in search engines. During those early years, search engines depended on actual website information for ranking the site. The engines depended on such webmaster-furnished information as meta tags, keywords, index files, etc. By placing keywords at optimal densities, people began to see their pages indexed high in search results. Providers of web content also began tweaking HTML source properties to achieve higher page rankings for client sites. This resulted in inaccurate SERPS (search engine results pages) with several spam pages and irrelevant keyword tags. Algorithm cracking capabilities were introduced during 1997 when unscrupulous webmasters got websites within the first 10 search results.
Since all the information was furnished by webmasters, there was every opportunity for the data to be manipulated. In order to ensure useful search results, the engines needed to look for other methods for ranking that was truly reflective of the search relevance and page value. Aspects such as directory age and link pop started assuming more importance in algorithms. Therefore, search engine optimizations had to be more complex to keep up with more sophisticated algorithms. Alta Vista was the dominating force at the time, accompanied by others like MSN, Lycos, Yahoo, and InfoSeek. Then, during 1998, Google was founded, and it started ranking based on quality and quantity of inward links to sites. This strategy produced more accurate search results.
During 2004, there were only three primary search engines that enjoyed popularity online: Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Their algorithms include undisclosed ranking factors. Now the keyword-spamming age of SEO is now just a faint memory. These days, webmasters and content service providers have to leverage several creative tactics to get inbound links to a site. In 2005, Google began delivering personalized search results wherein user search histories were leveraged to arrive at customized results. 2007 saw Google campaigning against using paid links and this dramatically impacted page rankings. Two years later Google announced its determination to prevent sculpting of page ranks due to no-follow linking.
Today, search engine optimization is all about finding a position in Google’s search results, since it enjoys 70% of the share of online users. SEO campaigns are highly complex and require more expertise to bring more organic traffic to a site.