The Evolution of SEO

evolution of SEO

Some people claim that search engine optimization is dead, however, anyone in the digital marketing industry knows that it’s not dead – it’s just different. SEO has gone from simple techniques meant to gain traffic to a more advanced medley of engagement, rankings, and leads. The world of SEO is constantly evolving, and as search engines change and the Internet progresses, so do SEO efforts. Here’s a brief history of SEO:

The Olden Days


During the mid-1990s, businesses focused much of their SEO efforts on search engine submission, making sure that search engines like Yahoo! Altavista, HotBot, and Looksmart could crawl their website pages and index their website.

Late 1990s

Once businesses realized they could manipulate search engines to get to the top of rankings, their focus shifted to on-page SEO efforts and keyword research for their content. Google was established in 1998, and a search engine powerhouse was born.

Early 2000s

Google’s search engine rankings were the focus of many businesses and in the early 2000s, Google released its PageRank algorithm as the primary way of ranking websites. SEO stayed centered around on-page SEO, but began focusing on efforts to please PageRank, such as anchor texts and link building.

Mid 2000s

By the mid 2000s, domain authority had sneaked into the SEO mix and businesses were taking notice that the age, size, and popularity of their website were large factors in search engine rankings. They also noticed that by writing and optimizing blogs on their website, they could help improve their standings.

2010 and On

As anchor text importance began to diminish, link context gained popularity, and once social media became a large part of the Internet, businesses established a presence for themselves. From then on, social interaction added itself to on-page SEO, PageRank, domain authority, and link context efforts in order to gain exposure.

A Shift from Traffic

These days, a business’s success relies on “going with the flow” and realizing that SEO methods that were once tried and true may no longer be relevant. One of the main goals of a website used to be simply obtaining traffic, but today it’s about obtaining leads, and there are factors that need to be combined with SEO to result in leads.

Today, web design plays a big role. While Flash videos and loud graphics may have been appealing at one point, the focus has shifted to simple layouts and images that make a statement. This means that a business could get all the traffic it wants, but visitors won’t stay on its pages unless they have a trustworthy and usable web design.

Content is still a large part of SEO and the ability to gain leads, though the way it’s analyzed by search engines has changed. Today, search engine spiders crawl through websites looking for ones with fresh, important content instead of ones with an abundance of it. And while keywords are still a large part of rankings, stuffing content and meta tags with them (as was once popular) will hurt your digital marketing strategy more than help.

Moving Forward…

With an ever-changing Internet and ever-changing search engines, it’s important to keep up with what’s prevalent. Today, people are surfing the web with various mobile devices – each of which gives them a different online experience. This means that businesses need to be device agnostic and tailor their SEO efforts to reach all screen sizes.

Device agnosticism also means that a responsive web design is a must in order to reach the most potential clients. When a website is easy to navigate from any screen size, it means a better user experience and a better chance of gaining a lead.

Another factor in today’s search engine inquiries is local SEO. By not only having a Google+ page, but also focusing on local keyword research, businesses can appeal to those directly in the area and push them through to their website.

As a digital marketing agency, Prager is always interested in what the latest SEO efforts are. If you’re looking for someone to help you gain visibility, contact our experts today.

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