Evolution of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) since 1998

OBJECTIVES

Of course, the main goal of SEO is optimizing the position of your pages on search engine results and increasing the number of visitors. Everybody knows that the first results of a search are clicked on by most visitors. That is why it is important to work on the SEO positioning so that you are really visible.

Also, think about the collateral advantages, such as improving the image of the company, winning market shares, getting new commercial contacts and finding new talented people.

One of the major purposes of Internet companies is reducing the cost of Web Marketing (SEM = Search Engine Marketing).

As Wikipedia says: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a search engine. (Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization)

Google is the most important Search Engine. Others exist, but they are not very popular.

ALGORITHM

Since 1998, Google has revolutionized the world of online search with its first algorithm named Page Rank. At the beginning, the idea was to count the number of links pointing to each page on the Internet and giving a rating to each one. The Page Rank is still part of the current Google algorithm, but today more than 200 other criteria are taken into account to define the position of a webpage. Criteria can be put into the following main categories:

  1. Domain name (name, duration);
  2. Page structure (tags, content);
  3. Website structure (page number, breadcrumb);
  4. Inbound links;
  5. User interface (CTR, bounce rate);
  6. Google algorithm (new page, location);
  7. Social media;
  8. The brand (recognized as the official brand or organization);
  9. Not spam (Pengouin, Panda).

To improve the results and avoid bad content, Google has increased the quality of the algorithms over the years:

  • 1998 [Pagerank]: First Google algorithm;
  • 2001 [Hummingbird]: Increase the importance of the content;
  • 2011 [Panda]: Focus on site quality content and push down spammers (push down farms links);
  • 2012 [Penguin]: Focus on the links quality (similar themes and push down abusive keywords links);
  • 2013 [Venice]: Semantic presentation and geolocation;

List of all the Google search updates: http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change

Illustration of Google's algorithm evolution; Panda and Penguin

In addition to the algorithms, Google has also improved its results presentation by creating new services such as AdwordsMapsMerchantSitelinksGoogle My BusinessKnowledge Graph and OK Google (voice recognition system).

FUTURE

In the near future, results will be personalized even more, by using the geolocation, user information (cookies, google account), user interests and probably with the new devices Google is working on like smartphone / tablet / TV, wearable devices, Google car, Project Loon (Internet balloons).

In the future, search engines will be a better judge of content than humans themselves!

Today, we are sure that Google will focus its efforts on mobiles device compatibility. As of 21 April 2015 it already takes into account the mobile compatibility to compute the Page Rank of Internet pages. With this change, any web site which is designed for mobile compatibility will have a better positioning. The mobile market becomes more important every day.

Google also provides a new tool to test mobile-ready websites: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

CONCLUSION

Since 1998, every google update has been implemented to promote the originality and the quality of the websites. And also to downgrade the websites which are using SEO illegal techniques in order to manipulate Google results (farms links, spoofing,).

Main rules:

  1. Respect Google guidelines (no cheating): https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35769?hl=en;
  2. Focus on the originality and the quality content;
  3. Check statistics to understand users expectations and habits;
  4. Optimize your SEO for Google because it is the leader;
  5. Be a good webmaster (control: 404, server uptime, bandwidth);
  6. Good website structure (see part 2: The Search Engine Optimization success keys).

If you need SEO advice, please contact our experts at ARHS info@arhs-dev.com.


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