How SEO Has Changed

SEO evolution over time.

Previously, the JumpSIX Marketing blog covered the older aspects of digital marketing and digital advertising and how the various formats have evolved. But, as any good digital marketing professional should know, SEO isn’t quite the same as broader digital marketing. While it certainly comes under the umbrella of the term, SEO has its own set of rules that it functions by. It also has a slightly different developmental history. Today, we’re looking back at how the best practices we currently stick to when coming up with a robust SEO strategy have changed.

SEO Before Search Engines

Of course, the letters in “SEO” stand for Search Engine Optimization. This refers to adapting the content of a site, from bodies of text to pictures having the right alt-text and captions, in such a way that search engines like Google will prioritize them over others.

This means that your site will appear on the first page of search results, and closer to the top the better your content is. But the time “search engine” wasn’t exactly common parlance until the late 90s. Did they even exist before then? And did optimization do a site any good?

Yes and Yes

The first search engine was developed early on in the life of the internet as we currently know it. A university in Montreal was the home to an early search engine designed to search data archives, appropriately named Archie.

Following Archie the next year, at the University of Minnesota, was Gopher. Both of them searched for specific text, just like they still do.

How Did This Lead To Optimization?

As the 90s went on, the internet became more and more common in households and business all over the world. Competition between search engine programmers began to emerge, with a handful rising to the top towards the end of the decade: Google, Yahoo, Excite, Lycos and Ask Jeeves among them.

While this was going on, the optimization of content had also been developing. During the early part of the 90s, businesses began to see the benefit of using the internet to sell products, and content would become more akin to advertising pitches to entice customers, effectively acting as a very early form of SEO.

The more tech-savvy among content writers would include hyperlinks in their text, taking users to purchase pages or other relevant areas of their site, which is remains a key element of optimization even now.

As the aforementioned search providers looked for new ways to provide faster, more accurate results, they began to pick up on what content was the most effective, while those writing that content were noticing improved results themselves. This is a big factor in how SEO would go on to be mutually beneficial for both.

Defining Steps

One of the first major steps in cementing search engine optimization as a methodology all its own was the foundation of Multimedia Marketing Group, founded in 1994 but truly beginning to gain momentum in 1997.

As both search engine providers and content writers looked to benefit from each other, as well as vIe for the top spot in their respective fields, optimization was given the momentum to become what we know today.

JumpSIX Digital Optimization

Just like digital advertising as a whole, the history of SEO is extensive. This is the first entry on a general history of search engine optimization, and we’ll return in a future blog to look at exactly how search engines and content writers helped it grow, and the ways in which it changed the language of the internet.

Remember, the way in which search engines use and interpret keywords, anchor textS, and metatext and assess what constitutes high quality, authoritative content will continue to evolve, and you’ll need to stay ahead to succeed. Fortunately, you have JumpSIX Marketing to rely on not just for search engine optimization, but display advertising, search engine marketing, web design and much more. Contact our digital marketing team today.

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