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History of SEO

The early days of search engine optimisation go back to mid-1990s when the internet first began to attract significant numbers of web sites and users. In those early days, emphasis was on the submission stage – getting your site placed into as many search engines as possible. The most important aspect of a search engine algorithm appeared to be entirely “on-page” based and was focused almost exclusively around meta tags and their related text.

Search algorithms could be decoded simply by analysing the results pages. During the late 1990s, ethical SEOs and spammers alike realised that search engine results could be manipulated by the simple process of adjusting a site’s meta tags to match the desired keywords. During this period there were many crude attempts by spammers to stuff meta tags with irrelevant but popular search terms. Famous spamming keyword meta tags have included “Britney Spears” on sites with nothing to do with Britney Spears. It just happened to be that Britney was one of the most searched for terms.

Google’s arrival in 1998 and the introduction of its “off-page”, link based, approach signalled the beginning of the end for the exclusively meta tag driven approach. Google was really the first engine to establish that sites carrying similar content had a propensity to be linked. Google’s strength appeared that the relevance of its results was less vulnerable to the orthodox spamming techniques of its day. Search users were attracted by its relevance to their search needs. In essence the key to success under the Google algorithm was not what your site said about itself but what the links from other sites said.

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