The Evolution of SEO in the Age of Google

Dec 11, 2012


min read

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we reviewed how SEO for Google evolved over the years and we prepared a funny story about this. You can click on the social buttons at the end of each era to amuse your friends with funny messages. Enjoy! :)

Prehistoric Age (1998-2004)

How was SEO back then?

At the beginning, things were different as a major Google index updates could take up to several months to complete. Cross-linking was detected by search engines, so a tribe chief couldn't link between his own tribes or from the same cave IP. This made our SEO ancestors look for new hunting techniques and they discovered that link text, navigational structure and page titles have an impact on rankings.

SEO in the Prehistoric Age

Did you know...

...that the automatic data gathering, the ranking history back-up and the proxy servers were discovered in Prehistoric age? This way, our SEO ancestors had more time for hunting, they could sleep tight as backing-up their work was made possible and they could send queries from different cave addresses.

Tell everyone that you've been in the SEO business since Prehistoric ages.

I am in SEO since Prehistoric ages. Back then, I used to carve the reports on rocks. - Tweet 

Antiquity (2004-2006)

How was SEO back then?

Prehistoric SEOs began praying at search engine Gods who changed their algorithms whenever they wanted, leading to considerable SERP changes.

Therefore, mortal SEOs understood that high keyword density, stuffed meta tags, hidden tags and invisible text could no longer be used as they could unleash Gods' fury. New topics discussed on forums were inbound backlinks, outbound backlinks relevancy and canonical issues, while whoever was found guilty of spam (through links, blogs or CSS style) was severely punished. And the laws? The laws were based on the "no more playing with the results, searchers are the most important" principle.

SEO in the Antiquity

Did you know...

...that the pauses between the queries were discovered in Antiquity? This way, humans could avoid being thunder-lightened by search engine Gods.

Tell everyone that you've been in the SEO business since Antiquity.

I am in SEO since Antiquity. Back then, I used to retrieve rankings from the search engine Gods. - Tweet

Middle Ages (2006-2009)

How was SEO back then?

The mortal SEOs took the destiny into their hands and turned into SEO knights in an era ruled by the established kingdoms. These kingdoms were favored over little villages that might have had good content but were not as well known.

The old 10-listing SERP was written down on the parchments and the results were displayed in a different way (including News, Images etc.). Social signals were also included on those parchments. At the same time, the goods having the Google seal (such as books) were suspected to be pushed in SERPs (no clear evidence to be found until present day).

Wizards were first to be seen during this era and their objective was suggesting SEOs knights which are the most commonly searched keywords related to their queries.

SEO in the Middle Ages

Did you know...

...that the Keyword Research sword was discovered in Middle Ages? This sword was only offered to brave SEO heroes who were rewarded with 2 new titles: the Page Rank and the Alexa Rank.

Tell everyone that you've been in the SEO business since Middle Ages.

I am in SEO since Middle Ages. Back then, I used to be a SEO knight. - Tweet

Renaissance (2010)

How was SEO back then?

"Enough fighting!" said the SEO knights who discovered their creative side by turning into SEO artists. Exhibitions were held in all corners of the world, therefore the need of knowing the location for each event arises for the SEO artists. It was Google who thought about this and came to the rescue by adding the "Places" field in the sidebar. Also, for specific types of searches, the places results show up directly in the SERPs.

SEO painters noticed significant loss of efficiency when using their long-tail paint brushes, while new artworks were boosted in the main exhibition rooms from all around the world. Artists were limited to 1-2 artworks for each exhibition, but this was only until Renaissance as the same artist was allowed to display more than one of his works at the same exhibition.

Attention turned on the public as they could find an artwork easier, thanks to the Google Instant feature and they could preview someone's artwork before deciding to attend the exhibition.

SEO in the Renaissance

Did you know...

...that white labeled art materials were discovered in Renaissance? This way, SEO artists could fully personalize and sign their artworks.

Tell everyone that you've been in the SEO business since Renaissance.

I am in SEO since Renaissance. But you can call me an SEO artist. - Tweet

Modern Ages (2011)

How was SEO back then?

In search of creative ideas, SEO artists began exploring different planets by turning into SEO astronauts. This era was closely associated with the development of urbanization and a belief in the possibilities of technological progress. Social signals were a major factor in determining rankings and SEO astronauts interpreted some of these as messages from our moon neighbors. Therefore, our brave heroes flew to the moon where they discovered how important the "landing" page optimization was.

Google launched 2 space ships that year:  the "[+1] button" (which influenced users' search results within their social circle), the "Google+" service as a competitor for Facebook and the "Panda" algorithm (which promoted the quality of content as a major ranking factor).

SEO specialists understood that the audience (either from Earth or other planets) played a major role and that they had to optimize for website visitors and not for search engines.

SEO in the Modern Ages

Did you know...

...that the charts with combined metrics were discovered in Modern Ages? Those who want to explore everything (Moon included) could have all the ranking, analytics and links information into one place. After further discussions with our alien friends, social module was included as well.

Tell everyone that you've been in the SEO business since Modern Ages.

I am in SEO since Modern Ages. Don't mess with me as I have friends all over the universe (Moon included). - Tweet

Present Day

How is SEO nowadays?

On one hand, the SERPs results are personalized based on friends' recommendations, while on the other hand, privacy increases:  when users are logged into their Google accounts, the keywords they searched for are being displayed as "(not provided)" in the website administrator's Analytics account.

In our search for proximity and comfort, lifestyle and mobile technology change at the same pace. The results returned by Google on our mobile devices is being personalized according to our current location.

In such an advanced SEO era, it's easy to fall into the over-optimization and keyword stuffing trap.  But you definitely don't want this with so many penguins waiting just around the corner.

SEO in the Present Day

Did you know...

... that social signals monitoring, keyword difficulty, website auditor and the ability to upload reports on cloud are recent discoveries? These tools tremendously improved contemporary SEO specialists' work practices.

Tell everyone that you are new in such an exciting business.

I am new in SEO. Or grandpa SEO is way too old. - Tweet


How will SEO be?

Google will push the highest quality content and the Author Rank will play a major role in accurately rating and ranking people generating these results. Some might say that following Panda and Penguin updates, the Author Rank will be the next penalty for websites having nothing interesting to share.

There are several factors influencing the Author Rank, such as the Google+ engagement level, the number of G+ circles an author has, the number of "+1s" of shares per post, the number of comments per post, the posting frequency and the authority of the websites where the content was published, the Google+ engagement level, the authority on other social networks (Facebook, Twitter etc.),  the reciprocal connection to other high Author Rank authors, or the average Page Rank of the author's content.

SEO in the Future

What to focus on next?

Authors should keep on writing quality content, specialize in a certain field and demonstrate value in order to become an authority themselves in this area. And the companies have two options: either outsource the posting responsibilities or encourage their own employees to develop such skills.

Make a promise to everyone that you will be in the SEO business in the future.

I will be in SEO in the future. I got everything I need here: keywords, websites, search engines. - Tweet

Article by

Dan Popa

Dan Popa is an Online Marketing Strategist at Caphyon. He is passionate about both Online and Offline Marketing and he's always looking for new ways of applying the basic principles of marketing in the fast-evolving SEO field. He's always in the mood to chat about new creative ideas for campaigns, so you can find him on Twitter.

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