Home All Organic The History of Search: An SEO Perspective

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From the beginning man has constantly been searching for something, whether it was cavemen searching for food and shelter, philosophers searching for the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (The answer is 42 by the way) or teenagers searching for their friends and favorite music. Searching has always been part of our lives.

Searching has evolved over the years with mankind’s constant demand for wanting information faster. Many of us can remember the days when a phone book and rotary phone was the best way to find people and information. In today’s world, we have access to the Internet and search engines, which allow us to get to the information we need from anywhere in the world, and all of this can be done with a simple click of a button or a swipe of a finger.

In the last 20 years, online searching has grown rapidly, first with the introduction of the World Wide Web back in 1991, and then with the development of search engines, web crawlers and page rankings. Since then, search engines have constantly evolved as new standards were set by the rapidly growing web world.

In 1997, the words “search engine optimization” were first used by John Audette and Bruce Clay, and soon after SEO became a widely used term. In 1998, Google entered the search engine arena and soon took the lead in search engine market share, becoming the industry leader in search.

The 2001 Exodus was a huge kick in the shorts for many, as users abandoned older search engines like HotBot, AltaVista and Excite. Many users had moved their interest towards the new kid on the block, and so began “The Reign of Google.”

“Many SEO’s have sleepless nights as we realize it is Google or bust”. – Brett Tabke, Founder of WebmasterWorld

In 2009, Microsoft gathered all that it had learned from its previous search engines (MSN Search, live Search, Windows live Search) and wrapped it all into what they now call Bing. About a year later, Yahoo! jumps on board with Microsoft and begins using the Bing search technology as well.

Now to the present …

We have already seen some big changes in 2011, and we‘re only 3 months in. Facebook received a patent for curated search, which will involve ranking searches according to a link’s popularity.Google released the Farmer/Panda update, which devalues content farms like ezinearticles.com and others. Plus, Google introduced the +1 button with hopes of kicking their social search into high gear.

So much has happened already this year but I am sure there’s plenty more to come. Where do you see search engines and SEO heading in the next year, or even five years?

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History of Search Infographic

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