Many business owners here will hear the term ‘search engine’ (or SEO) from friends in the business community or even competitors and may view it as a way to increase sales, but what is SEO? Alternatively, the business owner may have tried ‘SEO services in the past and found that it did not work as expected or did not work, but it did not work – this article explains what SEO is, and why the new ‘SEO’. it works better than before.
I was working on developing a search engine and a quality website market before it was called SEO. Here are the changes to SEO from the beginning of the new millennium and what to look for in the SEO services provided by your SEO Agency or providers.
We look back on SEO over the years and explain what SEO is today and how we can make the best use of our website.
SEO in 2000
Back at the beginning of the Millennium, the ‘big’ search engines that most people used were Lycos and Excite. Of course, at that time a very small percentage of the UK population had access to the internet and those with it had a slow ‘dial’ system.
Websites become one or two pages with basic information to allow them to load faster (within 20 seconds). SEO practices back then were ‘hiding’ as many keywords on the page as possible, so the website found that search without making the page look like spam to visitors.
In 2002 Google launched something called ‘AdWords’ and predicted it would be the death of SEO, as people would pay for prominence, on the website which is now number 1 first online search.
In 2003, Yahoo acquired Inktomi, AltaVista and FAST, which were the only search for all ‘small’ search engines. Google has begun to process ‘spam’ processes and websites. Google immediately realized that ‘AdWords’ would not kill SEO and that in fact ‘natural listing’ encouraged visitors to return to their search engine rankings. Google has begun recognizing ‘SEO’ experts and has developed a better SEO than spam SEO.
In 2004 it saw the first website ‘banned’ from the Internet as Google took action against websites that included spam. They also took legal action against the “SEO Company”.
To set up a website in 2006 you just needed links back to your website so buying links/link exchanges was annoying and many websites have a web page where they listed companies and links to their website (I still wonder how many websites continue this practice).
Between 2004 and 2008 Google, now the only real “player” in the world of search engines, began to take action against bad corporate links and began to strengthen spam and buy links. The ‘Noughties “concluded that all” naughty “SEO practices were eliminated, as Google focused on targeting websites based on their content and related search results.
SEO in 2010
Between 2010 and 2015 we started to see search engines recognizing ‘Social Media’ sites and soon the results were filled with Twitter tweets’ in the results. (I can still see the faces of one of my clients when I search for his business on Google, and the entire first page of search results was joined by Twitter chat tweets that two employees had been having about the company’s evils.!)
Videos and photos were also submitted to search results with the Google ‘Caffeine’ review.
Google has submitted “personal search results” to websites that are displayed in search results based on your previous searches and websites you have visited. This caused a ‘commotion’ in the SEO world as customers claimed their websites were “superior to Google” for any search related to their industry, simply because they had visited their website many times before, so Google provided them with a website for all related searches. This can be a problem until you show them a new ‘Google Incognito’ search.
The focus of website ranking was the BIG keyword detection. A ‘Plumber’ in Bristol may want to rate that search, so that was very focused.
Google ‘Panda’ updates and ‘Penguin’ kill ‘link exchanges’ with large fines for websites with insignificant links targeted. At the same time, Google introduced “no follow-up links” to allow websites to provide relevant links to other websites and information without punishing any party. It was the beginning of a “secure connection”. Quality and relevant content were now the keys to rankings in search engines.
The ‘Office For National Statistics’ report for 2014 stated:
38 million adults (76%) in Great Britain have access to the Internet daily, 21 million more than in 2006 when directly comparable records began.
Mobile access to the internet doubled between 2010 and 2014, from 24% to 58%.
74% of all adults purchased goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008. Clothes (49%) were the most widely traded online in 2014.
Of all adults in Great Britain, 67% are aware of online storage services, but taking these data storage services is much lower at 35%.
In Great Britain, 22 million households (84%) had internet access in 2014, up from 57% in 2006.
A broadband internet connection is used by 91% of households.
The UK now (probably) had internet access and the use of mobile phones to visit websites was huge.
SEO 2015 and progression
A major change in search engines in 2015 was the ‘punishment’ of websites that “did not like mobile phones” – a mobile website with a different screen knowledge to make it easier for the user to read and understand. To ensure that users get the best experience possible, Google has started to put easy-to-use or responsive websites (where the website automatically changes its size and format to fit the screen) at the top of the list.