There’s no doubt about it: search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever. Businesses around the world rely on it to make money because it’s the only thing that makes their internet presence legitimate. Without it, they’re a guppy in a shark tank. With it, there are no limits. It’s that powerful.
For many, the question is – how did SEO get to this point? How did something that started only twenty-five years ago get to be such a major marketing player so quickly. The answer is because it’s dynamic and has evolved. But why?
In the beginning, there was God – sorry I meant the internet. When the world’s first website came out in 1991, everything was perfect. There was no spam, false advertisements, illegitimate online businesses, hackers, or even liars. There were sites and users.
Word got around quickly and more websites were developed. Eventually there were too many. Search engines needed to be created. Excite was the first. Yahoo the second. Google the third. They acted as a filter. A website’s worthiness was determined by the search engines. Sites were ranked accordingly. It worked well for a while, but eventually businesses caught on and started picking apart the search engines’ flaws. They tricked and manipulated the search engines in any way they could to get their site ranking up. And it worked. Keyword stuffing, excessive tagging, and backlinks lead to high rankings and increased sales. Until 2003, when Google became the king.
Google is the reason SEO has changed – and possibly even born. Google was the first major player to recognize unethical internet practices and put an end to them. They decided that they wanted to be the leader that connected internet users to valuable content. They created rules and regulations. Bad websites were punished, and good ones rewarded. Starting in 2003, they awarded ethical internet practice with high rankings. They even began to get more personalized. User history was used to personalize searches. They used things like maps, locations, and store hours to help users. This personalization would be the building block for the company’s future development and spark the evolution of SEO.
As Google became more personalized, so did SEO- it had to. The unethical practices mentioned above would not only no longer work, but would put SEO companies out of business- quick. New content was created and new ways to get that content to the user were found. A text only website became a thing of the past. Images and videos began to be incorporated into websites. User interaction and satisfaction increased as a result.
The dynamic relationship between Google and SEO is one that continued to grow. Eventually, Google made a strong push toward rewarding sites that produced the high quality content from which that users could benefit. They created stricter regulations for content and links. In the end, they forced the hand of SEO once again. SEO had to evolve, or it would be left in the dust.
Present day SEO now encompasses everything a company does online. Website content, links, marketing campaigns, and even social media activity are included. It would seem that SEO companies have a lot on their plate; however, adopting a few basic principles has proven that effective SEO really isn’t as complicated as it seems. Identifying the right keywords and incorporating them into easy-to-read text that answers the questions users want answered, writing friendly site code, and using ethical link practice will get sites ranked high every time.
The only thing we can do to predict the future of SEO is look at the direction Google is heading, which seems to be a much more holistic approach to rewarding sites. Google has and always will be in the business of helping its users. Everything it has done, currently does, and will do is centered around the online experiences on their users. Based on this, it’s predicted that SEO will also become increasingly holistic – creating sites that benefit users on any and all levels. How this will be done is unknown, but should be interesting to watch. The sky will be the limit.
SEO will always be a dynamic term that’s constantly evolving with Google. The best SEO companies know this. And, they know that the fundamentals will always remain the same. An honest, upfront approach that takes all parties involved into account will always be the backbone of a successful SEO company. It has to be – Google wouldn’t have it any other way.