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    Comprehensive SEO APR 06, 2014  

    The Evolution of SEO

    Understanding Search Engine Optimization from the Beginning

    To have a complete understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), one must look at how it has evolved over the years and why.It has not been a traditional marketing approach solely based on market behavior or its changes alone. SEO deals with search engine algorithms with updates and changes on a regular basis, not just market trends. Even the methods in which changes are being implemented have been updated. Knowing the evolution helps one understand which approaches are myths or obsolete, which are effective and why.

    When search engines begun listing various results in their results pages (commonly known as Search Engine Results Pages, SERPs) it seemed to be a free for all at first. Without effective algorithms, tricking the system is going to common, in some instances a challenge to individuals to rig the system. The use of search engines to find information, services and products has made it the most visited marketplace in the world. Even from its very beginnings, there has been a relentless pursuit of its market’s potential income. During the dotcom boom, website developers would boast about their online successes and huge returns from large numbers or traffic. Similar to the gold rush which begun as a free for all and later settled into an leading industry. Previously, market adjustments did what algorithms are doing of late. With the free for all rush, came the opportunity to game the system of website rankings, as a consequence, SERPs suffered in quality and complaints from dissatisfied frustrated users causing drastic periodic changes. To this day, search engines strive to remain watchful of their users browsing behavior and how to better improve the quality of SERPs.

    Search engines implemented periodic algorithm changes realizing a forever battle with low quality and irrelevant websites. Even the implementation or method in which algorithmic changes are released have changed over time. Search engines are in competition with each other based on quality of their results. It is a key to their success and becoming leaders in their industry such as Google. The most notable algorithm changes were panda’s 2.0 release in April of 2011 and there after penguin April of 2012, earlier updates go back to 2000. As a result of these changes, some websites lost a majority of their traffic devastating their online business. Web developers scrambled desperately to undo the effects of the changes, hoping they can get back to where they once ranked.

    The confusion behind web optimization after the primary major drastic changes:

    It is easy to understand why a low quality webpage would be penalized by algorithmic changes.However, some of the ethical websites not using any special methods in tricking search engine rankings suffered the same fate as well, including some with high quality content. So what happened? If the algorithmic changes are to only affect poor quality websites, why did it hurt the others? There may be a multitude of reasons based on individual websites, but one of the major factors of changes is the evaluation of the source or type of information. This increased competition from other sources such as major news organizations, open source sites, 'how to' sites, consumer reviews, geographically targeted local businesses and more under the same keywords. Websites with old optimization methods emphasizing the use keywords, selected tags, domain names and content no longer hold the ranking power they once did.

    Why are algorithm changes ongoing:

    Hard to believe, but some are still gaming the system.There are a lot of theories in regard to increasing web visibility, and some are just short cuts. Backlinks became popular which in turn causing link farms to appear all over the web and were eventually penalized. These instances and its results are the reason why there have been such mystique surrounding successful search engine ranking. How do some SEO firms guarantee traffic success? If so many know about the same basic methods, why is one firm above the others. Keep in mind that some successes are short lived and carefully selected by firms claiming victory. This is the reason and cause for ongoing efforts in improving results with updated algorithms.

    Today’s role of the SEO:

    Creating a website has become less costly over recent years.Having a presentable website is easier with easy to use site builder software, where many entrepreneurs are creating a developing their own. After all, no one knows the business as well as the business owners themselves. This approach can still work very well. However, it is not that easy or website owners would not be looking for professional SEOs. The typical white-hat implementations are often not enough, nor any general recommended good practices alone. Today, each business needs to have their own individually created plan. The specific industry, market competition and needs specific to the business must be thoroughly researched. The result should be a clear plan of what needs to be done and an ongoing optimization campaign designed for that one company. Today’s SEO is closer to being a consultant in addition to a web developer.

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