When you enter a search term in a search engine such as Google you get a list of web results that contain that search term.
Web users usually then visit the websites that are at the top of this list because they are most relevant to there query.
The reason why some websites are listed higher than others is because of a powerful marketing technique called SEO which is an abbreviation of Search Engine Optimization.
SEO is a technique which helps search engines rank your website higher than the millions of other websites which are related to any search query.
The level of exposure your website gains from being on the first page of search engines such as Google is huge. While SEO can take a long time to achieve, if you select the right keywords this will give you high levels of traffic which in turn will convert to sales, leads or inquiries.
Its important to know the difference between organic search results - which is what we optimize for - and the paid search results. To have your website listed in the paid section you need to pay per click (PPC), this can be very costly depending on your market competition. Using SEO to gain natural page one rankings means you will not have to pay every time a web visitor visits your website and it is a much better long term marketing strategy.
Here is a brief history of SEO and how it has evolved.
The first search engine was created by Alan Emtage, a student at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
The internet was born, invented by Tim Bermers-Lee.
Aliweb was launched, this allowed users to submit the locations of the index files on their websites. Wanderer, the first web crawler, was created which measured the size of the world wide web. By 1993 there were already over 600 websites online and in excess of 10 million internet users.
Web Crawler was launched, this was the first search engine to index full web pages and allow internet users to search with any word. Lycos search engine was also launched in this year.
Yahoo was launched, at this time using a web directory. Alta Vista was launched and introduced a multi-threaded crawler that could cover many more web pages. Excite was also launched in 1995.
This is the year when Alexa was founded, new search technology called Inktomi was founded and used by MSN and Hotbot. By this year the world wide web had grown rapidly to over 650,000 websites and there were over 74 million internet users online.
SEO Terminology first used by John Audette and Bruce Clay. Yandex was launched which was Russia’s largest search engine and Ask Jeeves was launched founded by Garrett Gruener and David Warthen.
Google Launched, the DMOZ directory was also launched. Getting a DMOZ listing was a very powerful SEO technique. The original PPC model was also created by Bill Gross and search engines started to look more towards off page ranking signals.
Google and Yahoo begin to dominate the search engine market. By this year the world wide web had grown to over 2.2 million websites online and over 279 million internet users.
Google launches the tool bar and SEO companies start using directory submissions in order to achieve high search engine rankings. Google Adwords was launched, this is Googles main source of revenue and totaled $28 billion in 2010.
Search engine algorithms start to develop and improve the way they index dynamic URL’s. The reign of Google begins and many SEO’s start to realize its Google or bust.
Directory submissions remain a common SEO tactic. Google announced the launch of Froogle, a product search engine. Google also became a Verb, the American Dialect Society chose it as the most useful word of 2002 and it was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, 2006.
Web 2.0 is born, Google launches the Florida algorithm in order to combat spam. The world wide web had now grown to over 38 million websites online and over 782 million users.
Paid links become a common way of achieving high rankings. SEOMOZ was founded by Rand Fiskin and grew to be one of the largest provider of SEO Tools. Google also introduced local search in order to offer relevant neighborhood business listings, maps and directories.
Google Analytics launched, Google also launch another algorithm update what helps understand the linking relationship between websites. Google announced that hyperlinks with rel=”nofollow” would not influence the link targets PageRank.
Search engines begin to understand XML sitemaps and Google acquires Youtube. Google also launches Webmaster Central which turned in to an essential tool for webmasters.
Google fights back against paid links permanently banning Text Link Ads. Google launches product search. SMX was held, which was the first search marketing expo.
Social Media starts to become a ranking signal as sites such as Facebook and Twitter take off. The search engine Cuil.com was created by ex-Google employees was launched but later shut down in 2010.
Two more algorithm updates from Google, ‘Vince’ which factors in trust and ‘Caffeine’ which speeds up indexing of websites. Windows Live Search was re-branded and became Bing. A new canonical tag was launched and supported by all three major search engines.
Google launches the ‘May Day’ algorithm which limits the use of unoriginal content. Google also launched instant previews in its search results. Facebook launched open graph API which included the new ‘like’ button. Yahoo and Microsoft partnered to use Bing search technology and the world wide web had grown to over 240 million websites and over 2 billion users.
Google launches the ‘Panda’ algorithm update which was to combat low quality sites and reward those with fresh unique content. Facebook received a patent on ‘Curated Search’ which involved ranking search results according to a links popularity with a users social graph. Google +1 was launched and is Googles attempt of moving in to the social market.