The Brief History & Origins Of SEO | Simplemachine

 In Digital Marketing, Google, SEO

As you’ve searched on the Internet, you’ve probably noticed that some websites rank higher on Google than others. The main reason is because of search engine optimization (SEO) as well as the use of strategic keywords. SEO history revolves around Google, and it’s the driving force in websites.

It’s believed that SEO is a millennial trend and may have started in 1991. But nobody knows for sure how it started. The search engine optimization is more like a handshake that nobody knows how it began, but everyone knows that it’s essential, and they use it daily.

It can be argued that search engine optimization may have begun when the first website was launched. This is only logical since SEO is needed to drive traffic to a website. Also, some may argue that it could have begun when the first search engine was launched. This was around 1997. Continue on to learn about SEO history.

Search Engine Optimization

1. The Timeline of SEO

With the introduction of search engine optimization, the way people conduct their research has changed. It controls how people find the needed information on the Internet and how they shop for services and products. Additionally, it influences how people entertain themselves and connect with others.
When you decide to create an online destination, whether it’s a blog, an app, a social network, or a website, there is search engine optimization. SEO has become a connecting force and a guide to online life and everyday life.

SEO or Search Engine Optimization

2. Beginning of Search Engine Optimization

In the early 1990s, according to SEO history, the search engine scope was very competitive. Both humans and the directories powered search engine optimization. This meant that you had to be aggressive for your website to rank higher. The directories and crawler-based listing included Yahoo, Lycos, Excite, Ask Jeeves, and AltaVista.

When you wanted to perform any form of SEO, it was through the on-page activities. Additionally, you had to make sure that your content was relevant and enjoyable. Moreover, you had to make sure that you had external and internal links.

To ensure that you ranked higher on Google, you had to repeat your keyword more than 200 times. This isn’t recommended today as it leads to the creation of spam content.

3. SEO Use in 1997

In 1997, the use of search engine optimization “officially” began. The Jefferson Starship, rock band manager, may have influenced this. According to him, the official website for Jefferson Starship was ranking low on page 4.
He felt that it should be ranking on the first page since it contained more accurate details about the band than other websites. He may have been responsible for the birth of what has become to be known as search engine optimization.

Ranking higher on Google in 1997 was still a new thing, and people didn’t understand the concept. Additionally, ranking on Google was directory driven, and people didn’t know how to break in the Internet scene.

Further research seems to indicate that John Audette, who is in the multimedia marketing group, was using this term in early 1997.

4. The Early 2000s

In the early 2000s, Google had gained some followers. The Internet was a huge deal, and people embraced its use. This led to Google focusing on the improvement of search engine optimization to ensure that users were provided with the best results.

Google implemented guidelines that could make your website rank higher. The use of AdWords, strategic keywords, and improving your SEO contributed to your website ranking higher. This meant that a lot of people could see your site, and this resulted in higher traffic.

If your website was a business site, this means that you could get more customers and clients. During the 2000s, people ignored some of the guidelines set by Google since the link quality wasn’t measured. Google decided to start the algorithm update, which ensured that you follow their directions to rank higher.


5. Google Revolution

Google became a household name back in the 2000s. Yahoo played a significant role in introducing Google to the world. This can be seen as a lousy business strategic move since Google is one of its biggest competitors.

When Google partnered with Yahoo, every search result said, “powered by Google,” which gave Google a jumpstart. Google made it big in search engine optimization since it concentrated on both on-page and off-page factors. It used the quality and quantity of external links that point back to your website to improve search engine optimization.

Their slogan was if people are talking about you, then you must be important. This made their search engine optimization a household topic and led to a race between websites to get as many links as they could to rank higher. This became an abused tactic in Google.

The Google toolbar became available in 2000 on Internet Explorer. This allowed SEO practitioners to see how their page was ranking on Google. This led to them gaining link exchange requests via email to help improve the visibility of their websites.

Also, the use of Adwords became a big hit in 2000, which led to an improvement in search engine optimization. These ads began appearing on Google, which ensured that people had a good chance of seeing your website. This increased traffic to your website, which led to an improvement in your business.

6. Local SEO and Personalization

Around 2000, most of the top search engines started the use of geographical intent to improve search results. They used this geographic intent on most businesses like plumbers, restaurants, and cosmetic shops and introduced the use of maps to show your location.

Additionally, they began the use of end-user data to get a personalized search result. They employed the method of your search history and interests to show you most of the results. This means that your results are probably different from what someone else may find on the same question.

7. Rise of Social Media

In the early 2000s, almost everyone was into social media, especially Facebook, where people all over the world would connect over one social media page. This improved the links between websites and the social media page.

At first, there was no proof that social media pages could influence your SEO. However, after some research, it was proven that social media played a significant role in driving traffic to your website. As SEO history continued to unfold it was also discovered that social media played a considerable part in your website ranking higher.

Today people have employed the use of social media to improve their websites’ traffic. Especially if your website is for a business, this creates traffic and increases your business’ customers.


Search engine optimization is used to show the ranking of your website on Google, and it has been changing and developing since it began. The Simplemachine team would love to tell you more about SEO history & origins. Contact Simplemachine, a family-owned and operated marketing company, for help with web creation and design, content marketing, and SEO marketing.

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