The world wide web’s launch quickly transformed the global marketplace. In just a few short years we have gained access to every product and piece of information we could ever desire through our fingertips. This luxury has undoubtedly created a very different and ever changing competitive business environment from every angle. A significant portion of your overall business success lies solely upon the effectiveness of your website and efforts to get traffic to it.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a digital marketing tool that when utilized and implemented properly drives organic traffic (traffic you don’t pay for) creating opportunity for huge ROI’s. At Klout 9 , we have found that just about every business understands that it needs SEO, but the concept of a lifelong cost that can take months to trigger optimal results doesn’t make it an overly desirable sales pitch. Search Engine Optimization is a marathon, not a sprint. In order to better understand where the world of SEO is going and why you need it throughout the duration of your website’s life, let’s take a look back at where it started and how quickly it’s evolved into what we know it as today.

The Origin of SEO

Search Engine Optimization is a fairly new concept that is progressing exponentially. As mentioned in our previous post “Behind the Scenes – Our Local SEO Strategy”, search engines quickly evolved out of demand for organization and structure for the hundreds of websites that all emerged at once. 

The very first website, which is still up today, launched on August 6, 1991. Although the internet is much older, this is the day the World Wide Web became publicly available. The very first form of a search engine, called Archie, was actually created slightly before the world wide web. Archie was a database of filenames that it found through FTP sites to create an index of downloadable files that would match with the users queries. This evolved into human-assembled directories of useful web links. People would upload web pages to these directories and include what category it should be included in. That my friend, was SEO in the early 90’s before it was even deemed a term. The internet was not easy to navigate as it is today. Before search engines progressed, you had to know exactly what you were looking for in order to find it. (This meant typing in a website’s URL exactly how it was worded.)

Search Engine Optimization then involved what we would consider spam techniques today. Your page rank was strongly dependent upon how many times the keyword you were trying to rank for was listed on your page and meta tags (Keyword stuffing). If you wanted your page to outrank your competitors, you simply had to use that keyword more than them – not so great for user experience. This meant that search results pages were filled with spammy information and it could take weeks for anything to get indexed. 

In August of 1996, BackRub rebranded to Google, which is the search engine we all know and depend on today. Conveniently, only a few months later, the term “Search Engine Optimization” was coined. Google’s web crawler and algorithms were revolutionary and brought other factors of SEO into play, including both on page and off page elements.  Over the next decade link building techniques emerged and became the most effective way to increase rankings. Basically if other sites were linking to you a lot, Google’s algorithm assumed what you were talking about was important so you would rank higher. While link building is still a very important factor today, it has drastically transformed – but that is a topic for another day!

Google continued to improve upon their algorithms to weed out spam content and work to streamline the information triggered by a user’s query. Google actually still makes an average of 9 updates PER DAY to its algorithms to improve upon user experience. Not all updates are major, but staying on top of what is new and what Google looks at in rankings is hard work! This is why ongoing SEO efforts are so important. Literally what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. The world wide web is ever changing and in order to succeed on their platform, your business must be willing to adapt. Search Engine Optimization is not a “set it and forget it” model so while an initial set up to ensure your website is “SEO Friendly”, that will not benefit you in the long haul. It may take a solid 90 days to see the needle move in your SEO efforts, but over time it is a service that pays for itself. Businesses pay thousands of dollars on paid search platforms to acquire the same traffic you could eventually receive for free organically via SEO techniques. If you have a business, you need a website. And if you have a website, you need SEO!

If you are in need of a website or a website restructure, Klout 9 has state of the art designers and developers who create with SEO and other marketing factors in mind. Initial SEO set up is included with all websites and we offer ongoing at an extremely cost effective rate. Contact us for free SEO evaluation today!