A Brief History Of SEO And A Look At SEO Services

April 30, 2021

While today's online marketing world could not exist without SEO services delivered by a professional SEO firm, it was less than 20 years ago when any amateur could go online and drive traffic to their pages through some simple manipulation.

While it's hard to pinpoint when SEO came into existence, it probably has a lot to do with the search engine Excite. With its beginning as Architext in 1993, Excite compiled results by utilising keywords. Over the next few years, it was followed by the likes of Lycos, Yahoo, AltaVista and AskJeeves. During the rise of the search engine, webmasters started to realise the potential of stuffing their websites full of particular keywords to ensure their pages would appear within the first few pages of searches on these platforms. This was black hat SEO before the term ‘search engine optimisation' came to prominence in 1997. These techniques were aided by the way that early search engines relied on keyword density. However, the likes of AltaVista and Infoseek did try to introduce new algorithms to stop their web rankings from being manipulated by others. While this was going on, soon-to-be Google founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page were conceptualising technology that would see search results not just ranked on their keyword density, but the quality of the content and the keywords. This was the first step in turning the best SEO from the most keyword density to the most relevant keywords and content and paving the way for a whole new generation of SEO experts.

After the Millennium Bug thoroughly scared people into believing that their computers' date and time settings were going to destroy the world, the 2000s brought about the meteoric rise of Google (formed in 1998) at the expense of its competitors. It was at this point that Google began to provide webmasters with early guidelines for what would we would come to know as white hat SEO techniques. While meant to encourage webmasters to follow a less advert-centric model that would provide more value to users of Google, they were rather toothless as both old and new black hat techniques (such as improper backlinking) continued to foster results. But as time went on, Google began to bring websites into line with their policies. This started with the infamous ‘Florida' update in 2003, the Panda and Penguin updates in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and 2015 heralding in the importance of responsive design and unique quality content to achieving high Google rankings. These updates, and the increasingly complex algorithms used by Google to dictate their search engine rankings, brought about the rise of the professional SEO firm – moving SEO away from amateur manipulation to a paid-for service in its own right.

While Microsoft did launch competitor Bing in 2009, and Yahoo managed to survive Google's rise to dominance, Google continues to hold a dominant position as the world's most used search engine. With this dominance comes the power to dictate the future of both SEO and the professional SEO firm. Despite this, one thing is clear: as Google continually tweaks its search engine algorithms, it has never been so important to invest in the best SEO companies to stay ahead of competitors.

SEO Or Content Marketing? The Best SEO Company Offers Both

Say you’re a business owner with a website, and sales aren’t looking great. So you do some research online to find out how you can improve what you’ve already got. You’ll see two terms bandied around with frequency: SEO and Content Marketing. But what’s the difference between the two and which is more important? Where should you concentrate your efforts? The best SEO company experts will tell you that the two are intertwined. You can go here for SEO help that incorporates both.

It’s hard to separate them. You need both to make the biggest difference to your website – and increase your sales. Using SEO services is a tried and tested way of drawing people to your website. SEO starts with identifying the keywords and phrases that your customers will use when looking for businesses of your type to fulfil a need that they have. Placing the right keywords in your website’s text will ensure the search engines recognise that yours is a site with value to your target audiences. Your pages will rank more highly in the hierarchy and prospective customers will hopefully choose your website over others further down the listings. Utilised in conjunction with social media and, say, email marketing, professional SEO services can really get you noticed. But then, Content Marketing is vital. Once you’ve drawn people to your website, you need to engage them – quickly and as much as possible. So how do you do this? You do this by answering their most frequently asked queries and by building trust in your products or services. 

Most of us search the Internet for information of one sort or another. We’re looking for reliable solutions to our problems, whether that’s finding the right car tyres at the right price, fitted by experts; or uncovering a company that can design and deliver a stunning wedding cake to our deadline, for instance. So the task becomes combining the right keywords and phrases identified through search engine optimisation techniques with quality text that is both in-depth and valuable to your audiences. There’s no mileage in simply going for volumes of text that are randomly strewn with the right keywords but hastily thrown together. Nor is it beneficial to stuff too many of the same old keywords into each page in the hopes that this will get you noticed by search engines over your competitors. You need a good balance. If this seems too time-consuming or difficult for your in-house expertise, then you need help from the best SEO company. A good SEO consultant can help you identify those words and phrases that people are searching for most, and also long-tailed keywords that will help you find niche audiences that are primed to buy. 

The best SEO services will also help you track the behaviours your customers display while on your website, identifying the pages that are critical to them in making a decision whether to purchase or not from you. They can then optimise those pages with the best buzzwords, strategically located in persuasive, informative content, which will convince your target market that your business is a trusted expert in your industry. More than that, the text on your website will respond to their interests, requirements or pain points, and they’ll make an informed decision to buy from you.

Mark Asquith

That British podcast guy, Mark is co-founder of Captivate.fm, the world's only growth-oriented podcast host. A Harvard, TEDx, Podcast Movement and Podfest speaker (amongst many more!), he's a wildly approachable Brit and Star Wars/DC Comics geek.

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