An Introduction To SEO and Its History
Intro To SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. You might think that SEO is only specific to Google, but its not. It is in fact the overarching process of ranking higher on any one of several different search engines. Different search engines require different types of optimization. This article will focus solely on google optimization, seeing as it is (by far) the most popular search engine.
Googles Search Engine
Google currently has two thirds of the United States search market share. When we search for things using a search engine like Google, we are searching through an index. The results we get from a search are not there by chance, they are there because the search engines algorithm respects the site and its content. Essentially the art of SEO comes down to the process of gaining and maintaining the search engines trust. First off, you’re going to have to have your SEO keyword plan completed. Second, you’re going to need regular, up-to-date, and original content and a damn lot of it. Keyword planning is essential before you start and so is linking. This can be internal linking between other content on your site or external linking which involves content on other sites with authority. Having an outline of where in your post you want links will give you a strategic advantage. Search engines are looking for naturally blended in links, not something thrown on at the end of a sentence. The algorithm is a lot smarter than you think.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you enter two different searches into Google: one search for “apple pie” and search two for “apple tart”, you will yield two different lists of results. That’s because ‘website A’, that pops up first for “apple pie”, chose “apple pie” as their primary keyword and funneled all their efforts to rank highly for that word. ‘Website B’ however saw that there was a lot of competition to rank for “apple pie”, so instead they focused their efforts into a slightly different word: “Apple Tart”. So now they too, can rank first, granted for a different word, but a first place nonetheless.
Does all this matter? Well most people don’t actually bother going past the first search results page. I mean when was the last time you did? I know I didn’t until I started learning about SEO. This statistic shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but 95% of users don’t go past the first page. That’s kinda crazy. All those companies, collecting dust, on the second, third and fourth pages… But that’s also why SEO companies like IMPRiNT’s Digital Agency exist, because getting to the first page requires a lot of hard work and know-how to achieve.
There is much more, SO much more, but the complexities of SEO can only really be explained in its entirety through a thick, intimidating textbook. However, I’ll do my best to sum it up in this post and in future a blog of insights posts.
The History of SEO
Google was established in 1997 as a new and improved version of existing search engines. Technically SEO did exist prior to this and was used by search engines such as Yahoo!, Gopher and Wandex and dates back to somewhere in the early 90’s. In the early days of the modern internet (still talking 1990’s) search engines were being developed and the processes figured out. It became understood that in order to index sites accurately they would need to be checked from top to bottom, regularly. This task could simply not be completed by humans, so website crawlers were developed. Imagine them to be little robots that scan the web. They yield information from their scans of each and every webpage out there and send this back to the master program. Websites are then ranked and re-ranked according to new information.
Black- hat techniques
In the beginning, when search engines were developing ways to catalogue all the information on the web, the best and only way to do so was by relating words in searches to words on pages. This as you can imagine led web designers to resort to keyword stuffing (the repetition of the same words in an attempt to rank higher). This is known as a black-hat technique. Tsk tsk.
Major Updates and Their Effects
- This updated occurred on February 24th, 2011. It was launched to target keyword stuffing, duplicate content and plagiarized content. If a website was found guilty of any of these algorithmic penalties, ranks would drop.
- This update occurred on April 24th, 2012. This update was aimed at reducing irrelevant or ‘spammy’ links, with over optimized anchor text. Penguins overarching goal was to locate manipulative link building and lower the culprits ranking.
- The pigeon update was the first to occur at different times for geographic regions. The US had the update implemented on July 24th 2014, whereas the UK, Canada and Australia had to wait until December 22nd 2014. This updated increased the weighting of a user’s location in yielding search results.
Present Day SEO
Today SEO focuses primarily on content, and credible linking. With fresh, original and regular content with well thought through keyword placement your SEO will be off to a good start. Future changes to the SEO algorithm are inevitable, but if you follow the rules this shouldn’t bother you. It’s important to stay in tune with this ever-changing industry so that you and your business are ready to adapt to future SEO changes.
If you’re in the greater Santa Monica area and need SEO help, dont hesitate to book a time for coffee.