Search engine optimization, or SEO. The word is defined as “the technique of enhancing the quantity and quality of the traffic that you earn through the organic results in search engines” by Rand Fishkin, the creator and former CEO of Moz. In general, your website can rank higher in search engine results the more optimized it is. More people will see and click on it the higher it ranks. Without spending money on digital advertising, implementing an SEO plan will increase the number of visitors who discover your website organically on Google and other search engines. But where did it come from? Continue reading to find out the history of SEO.
SEO’s First Steps
The history of SEO begins when the abbreviation “SEO” was first used in a written document in 1997. As a result, it appears that the term has been in use for about 25 years as of this writing.
In reality, that existed before Google and many of the other search engines we use today. Instead, the search engines we had (including Yahoo) basically worked like real directories — not like the online directories you might find today, but rather like the kind of directory you might find on the wall of a particularly big store or mall.
Some business owners noticed that their organizations weren’t listed in the directories as prominently as they ought to be. From that point on, SEO as a concept (even though it went by many other names) really took off.
An online version of the yellow pages
If you don’t remember, The Yellow Pages was a sizable book that was distributed for free and contained listings for nearly all local businesses. In order to be more visible to potential consumers, several businesses paid to have extra-large adverts put in the Yellow Pages. Following that, the alphabetical contact information for the participating companies was listed.
If you look closely, that is very similar to how Google functions right now in many aspects (minus the alphabetical order). The distinction is that you can make your business more appealing to rank higher in addition to paying for the advertisements. After all, Google is a business just like the other search engines. To locate the finest of what they’re looking for, it encourages consumers to use its search engine. Customers will consider using alternative search engines if Google (despite its greatness and power) places businesses at the top of its rankings that don’t treat customers fairly.
Google, therefore, has a vested interest in ensuring that the businesses listed at the top of its search results are actually the best in their field. According to this reasoning, you should use SEO if you’re actually the best in your field. If you already do SEO, you also need to make sure that your company is in good standing. One cannot be completely prioritized at the expense of the other anymore. Maintaining both becomes increasingly important as SEO develops.
It appears that SEO will become even more significant in the future. Amazon SEO, app SEO, and other services have only recently entered the web market. These are just as vital for many businesses as more conventional SEO strategies, if not more so. SEO changes to better support businesses in the same way that companies adjust to their markets. The history of SEO will be felt around the world for years to come.
The History Of SEO Is All Around Us
Look outside, depending on where you are reading this. You might notice billboards for certain businesses or advertisements on bus benches, bus stops, and other such items if you’re in an urban or suburban region. No matter where you are, there are numerous different local offline advertising options.
Any type of business advertisement in your neighborhood was placed there for a reason: so that potential customers might see them. You may notice advertisements for lawyers, eateries, grocers, plumbers, and other service providers. You might also notice a webpage at the bottom of each of these advertisements.
This may be the true beginning of SEO, rather than whenever someone first used the magical acronym “SEO”: going to potential consumers’ homes. SEO accomplishes this online as opposed to posting a billboard or an advertisement at a bus stop. However, I’m willing to bet that each and every one of those businesses also has an SEO plan. They have offline advertisements as well as billboards. And most likely, they too employ SEO.
Perhaps the most important lesson for the future that SEO’s past can provide is this: Just another tool, really. It’s a strong tool, yes, but not the only one. It’s likely that the SEO for those businesses matches the billboard advertisements — not just in terms of artwork but also in terms of tone and brand. SEO expands upon what is presently there to increase your business in the future. Therefore, keep in mind that SEO will always be with us, just as billboards and other types of advertising, while we look to the future and see what comes after SEO.