Difference between revisions of "Timeline of search engine optimization"

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| 1990 || || || "Search Methods Before the Internet – Phonebook"<ref name="seo.comf"/>
| 1990 || || || "Search Methods Before the Internet – Phonebook"<ref name="seo.comf"/>
| 1991 || || || English computer scientist {{w|Tim Berners-Lee}} sets up a Virtual Library <code>vlib.org</code>. It is considered the oldest catalog on the [[w:World Wide Web|Web]].<ref name="wordstream.come">{{cite web |title=THE HISTORY OF SEARCH ENGINES |url=https://www.wordstream.com/articles/internet-search-engines-history |website=wordstream.com |accessdate=7 January 2020}}</ref>
| 1991 || || || English computer scientist {{w|Tim Berners-Lee}} in {{w|Geneva}} launches his WWW Virtual Library <code>vlib.org</code>. It is considered the oldest catalog on the [[w:World Wide Web|Web]].<ref name="wordstream.come">{{cite web |title=THE HISTORY OF SEARCH ENGINES |url=https://www.wordstream.com/articles/internet-search-engines-history |website=wordstream.com |accessdate=7 January 2020}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Van Rys |first1=John |last2=Meyer |first2=Verne |last3=Sebranek |first3=Patrick |title=The Research Writer, Spiral bound Version |url=https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=g4HP5TIs2-cC&pg=PA84&dq=Tim+Berners-Lee+set+up+a+Virtual+Library+%221991%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi2l_vUlNToAhXTILkGHRNVD5IQ6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=Tim%20Berners-Lee%20set%20up%20a%20Virtual%20Library%20%221991%22&f=false}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Scheeren |first1=William O. |title=The Hidden Web: A Sourcebook |url=https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=KgTqbPXQqroC&pg=PA46&dq=Tim+Berners-Lee+set+up+a+Virtual+Library+%221991%22+vlib.org&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCgvDOltToAhWNI7kGHTwQCDIQ6AEIMzAB#v=onepage&q=Tim%20Berners-Lee%20set%20up%20a%20Virtual%20Library%20%221991%22%20vlib.org&f=false}}</ref><ref>{{cite book |last1=Tortosa |first1=Virgilio |title=Escrituras digitales: tecnologías de la creación en la era virtual |url=https://books.google.com.ar/books?id=5UF-g_q2rqQC&pg=PA179&dq=Tim+Berners-Lee+set+up+a+Virtual+Library+%221991%22+vlib.org&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCgvDOltToAhWNI7kGHTwQCDIQ6AEIPDAC#v=onepage&q=Tim%20Berners-Lee%20set%20up%20a%20Virtual%20Library%20%221991%22%20vlib.org&f=false}}</ref>
| 1991 || || || "It is believed that SEO was born in 1991. Around this time, the world’s first website was launched, and one quickly turned into many as websites crowded the internet. So, there was a huge need for structure and accessibility, and the world’s first search engines were created. "<ref name="bluefrogdm.coms">{{cite web |title=A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEO |url=https://www.bluefrogdm.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-seo |website=bluefrogdm.com |accessdate=7 January 2020}}</ref>
| 1991 || || || "It is believed that SEO was born in 1991. Around this time, the world’s first website was launched, and one quickly turned into many as websites crowded the internet. So, there was a huge need for structure and accessibility, and the world’s first search engines were created. "<ref name="bluefrogdm.coms">{{cite web |title=A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEO |url=https://www.bluefrogdm.com/blog/a-brief-history-of-seo |website=bluefrogdm.com |accessdate=7 January 2020}}</ref>

Revision as of 09:06, 6 April 2020

This is a timeline of search engine optimization.

Sample questions

The following are some interesting questions that can be answered by reading this timeline:

Big picture

Time period Development summary More details
1991–2002 Prelude time[1] Early period starting from launch of the world’s first website by Tim Berners-Lee. As websites start crowding the Internet, the first search engines fill a need for structure and accessibility. in 1993, search platforms like Excite revolutionize how information is cataloged and make finding information easier by sorting results based on keywords found within content and backend optimization. Webmasters and content providers begin optimizing websites for search engines in the mid-decade. Yahoo in 1994 and Google in 1997 enter the scene to improve and simplify how data is indexed and delivered. "This is a primitive stage of SEO, in which marketers would leverage keyword stuffing, excessive tagging, and (often spammy) backlinks to generate high rankings in search. Often, major algorithm updates would take several months to complete, allowing black-hat SEO tactics to remain effective for long stretches of time. " "It was not until 1994, however, that several new search engines became widely accessible to the public. "[2] "However, in 1996, SEO really took off when Sergey Brin and Larry Page began building what would become the biggest, most recognized search engine to date: BackRub. "[3] "The first algorithm crackers appeared around ’97. By decoding a search engine’s ranking algorithm, which at the time was nowhere near impossible, unscrupulous webmasters could get sites into the top 10 results at will. 1997 was the year that several SEO providers decoded all 35 parameters of Excite’s algorithm."[4]
2003–2005 Early developments[1] "By 2004, the three major search engines that are left, Google, MSN and Yahoo!, start incorporating undisclosed page ranking factors into their algorithms. The era of keyword-spamming SEO is long over. Webmasters and content providers have to rely on more creative ways to promote content and generate inbound links in order to achieve long term increases in SE rankings."[4]
2006–2009 "The Middle Ages"[1]
2010–2012 "The Enlightenment "[1] "That year also saw a growing importance of social media content in SEO. " "While the 2009 introduction of Google's real-time search had some social ramifications, social media is becoming a more pivotal piece of SEO strategy."[5] "By 2010 a tactic had appeared where websites were created from large amounts of low-quality textual content, frequently updated and specifically designed to lure search engine algorithms. These sites were linked together forming so-called ‘content farms’ whose only purpose was to drive search engine traffic and, just like doorway pages before them, sending the incoming traffic to the final destination.

As a response, Google decided that the quality of the content should matter more for search engine rankings, and in 2011 launched its ‘Panda’ update which effectively killed the practice. This was later followed by ‘Penguin’ which focused on websites that contained irrelevant links, sneakily added to the otherwise relevant content to the visitor."[6] "2010-2012 Google Sets the Table of SEO" "Google, once again, began setting restrictions to means of improving your ranking score and continue penalizing websites using unethical methods of rankings."[7]

2013–present Modern SEO era[1] "Then focus moved towards mobile. First in 2014, with the launch of app indexing making apps appear alongside websites in search results and then in 2015 with the so-called ‘Mobilegeddon’ update that made website mobile friendliness a ranking signal in searches."[6] "2018 started with the continuation of mobile as a key focus for search engines."[6] "By 2017, SEO is, for the most part, a conversation with Google Search. Google has over 70% of today’s search engine users and is thus the place you have to be in in order to start driving organic traffic your way. SEO campaigns are much more laborious and complex now than they were a decade ago, but this is largely a good thing. Users get better relevant results and webmasters and content providers have to provide actual value in order to rank high on search results."[4]

Full timeline

Year Month and date Event type Details
1945 American engineer Vannevar Bush introduces the concept of “collection of data and observations, the extraction of parallel material from the existing record, and the final insertion of new material into the general body of the common record.”[8] Bush emphasizes the necessity for an expansive index for all knowledge, stating: "[Information] has been extended far beyond our present ability to make real use of the record. A record, if it is to be useful to science, must be continuously extended, it must be stored...Our ineptitude in getting at the record is largely caused by the artificiality of the systems of indexing. The human mind does not work this way. It operates by association."[9][10][11]
1987 Search engine Archie begins as a project for students and staff at McGill University, with aims to connect the McGill University School of Computer Science to the internet.[2][12][13]
1990 McGill University student Alan Emtage launches Archie.[14] Designed to search and store directory listings on file transfer protocol sites, it is considered by some to be the very first search engine[5] Archie searches File Transfer Protocol (FTP) sites to create index of downloadable files. Due to limited space, only the listings are available and not for the contents for each site.[15][8][9][16]
1990 "Search Methods Before the Internet – Phonebook"[16]
1991 English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in Geneva launches his WWW Virtual Library vlib.org. It is considered the oldest catalog on the Web.[15][17][18][19]
1991 "It is believed that SEO was born in 1991. Around this time, the world’s first website was launched, and one quickly turned into many as websites crowded the internet. So, there was a huge need for structure and accessibility, and the world’s first search engines were created. "[3]
1992 ", in 1992, Gopher became the first search engine using a hypertext paradigm. "[20]
1992 "VLib"[2]
1993 "In 1993, Excite revolutionized how information was categorized"[3]
1993 "For example, in 1992, Gopher became the first search engine using a hypertext paradigm. Only a year later, the graphical Mosaic web browser improved Gopher’s primarily text-based interface. About the same time, Wandex became the first search engine to crawl the web indexing and searching indexed pages on the web."[20]
1993 "For example, in 1992, Gopher became the first search engine using a hypertext paradigm. Only a year later, the graphical Mosaic web browser improved Gopher’s primarily text-based interface. About the same time, Wandex became the first search engine to crawl the web indexing and searching indexed pages on the web."[20]
1993 February "February 1993: Six Stanford students create Architext, which would later become the search engine Excite. Some, like Search Engine Land (SEL), say that Excite “revolutionized how information was cataloged,” making it easier to find information “by sorting results based on keywords found within content and backend optimization.”"[5]
1993 June "June 1993: Matthew Gray debuts World Wide Web Wanderer, which later became known as Wandex."[5] "World Wide Web Wanderer. Created by Matthew Gray; a bot counted active web servers and “measured the growth” of the Internet. Bot was soon upgraded to capture actual URLs. Database was called Wandex. Bot accessed same page hundreds of times a day and caused lag"[15] "Wanderer – The first web crawler to measure the size of the web. Created by Matthew Gray"[16]
1993 "Aliweb Launched – Allowed users to submit the locations of index files on their sites."[16]
1993 "600 + Websites Online"[16]
1993 "10 Million + Internet Users."[16]
1993 "Primitive Web Search"[2]
1994 January "Yahoo was created by Stanford University students Jerry Wang and David Filo in a campus trailer. Yahoo was originally an Internet bookmark list and directory of interesting sites. Webmasters had to manually submit their page to the Yahoo directory for indexing so that it would be there for Yahoo to find when someone performed a search. AltaVista, Excite, and Lycos also launched."[21][15]
1994 " the first full-text search engine, WebCrawler created in 1994 by Brian Pinkerton. Prior to this, only webpage names/domains were indexed in catalogues."[9] "WebCrawler – First search engine to index full web pages and allow searchers to search with any word."[16]
1994 "The earliest pioneers in the field of SEO also found the Internet not only interesting, but a viable industry money maker. For example in 1994, Greg Boser discovered that he could use the Internet to sell protective foam equipment to fight fires. He built a website and started seeking ways to drive potential customers to his site for sales."[20]
1995 " For example in 1995, John Audette formed Multi-Media Marketing Group (MMG) in Lake Oswego, Oregon on the sale of 4,000 copies of his $30 online book about marketing on the World Wide Web."[20]
1996 " Page and Brin, two Stanford University students, built and tested Backrub, a new search engine that ranked sites based on inbound link relevancy and popularity. Backrub would ultimately become Google. HotBot, powered by Inktomi, also launched."[21][16]
1996 May " Inktomi launched Hotbot in May, 1996 "[2]
1996 "650 K + Websites Online."[16]
1996 "74 Million + Internet Users."[16]
1997 According to industry analyst Danny Sullivan, the phrase "search engine optimization" probably comes into use around this time. Sullivan credits Bruce Clay as one of the first people to popularize the term.[22] "all signs definitely point to the term SEO originating around 1997."[21] "In 1997, the words “search engine optimization” were first used by John Audette and Bruce Clay, and soon after SEO became a widely used term."[16]
1997 April "April 1997: AskJeeves is introduced, later becoming Ask.com."[16][2]
1997 September "September 1997: Google.com is registered as a domain name."
1997 "Yandex Launched – Currently Russia’s largest search engine."[16]
1998 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, then graduate students at Stanford University, develop "Backrub", a search engine that rely on a mathematical algorithm to rate the prominence of web pages. The number calculated by the algorithm, PageRank, is a function of the quantity and strength of inbound links.[23]
1998 "Goto.com launched with sponsored links and paid search. Advertisers bid on Goto.com to rank above organic search results, which were powered by Inktomi. Goto.com was ultimately acquired by Yahoo. DMOZ (the Open Directory Project) became the most sought-after place for SEO practitioners to get their pages listed. MSN entered into search with MSN Search, initially powered by Inktomi."[21][8]
1999 "The first-ever all search marketing conference, Search Engine Strategies (SES), took place. You can read a retrospective on that event by Sullivan here. (The SES conference series continued running under various monikers and parent companies until shutting down in 2016.)"[21][8]
1999 "SES Conference – First Search Engine Strategies conference created by Danny Sullivan."[16]
1999 "2.2 Million + Websites Online."[16]
1999 "279 Million + Internet Users."[16]
2000 "In 2000, Yahoo pulled off the worst strategic move in the history of search and partnered with Google and let Google power their organic results instead of Inktomi. Beforehand Google was a little-known search engine. Hardly known! The end result: every Yahoo search result said “Powered by Google” and they ended up introducing their largest competitor to the world and Google became a household name."[21]
2000 "It was also in 2000 that the Google Toolbar became available on Internet Explorer, allowing SEO practitioners to see their PageRank score (a number between 0-10). This ushered in an era of unsolicited link exchange request emails."[21][8]
2000 "Google’s organic results also got some company in the form of AdWords ads starting in 2000. These paid search ads began appearing above, below, and to the right of Google’s unpaid results."[21]
2000 "Meanwhile, a group of webmasters informally got together at a pub in London to start sharing information about all things SEO in 2000. This informal gathering eventually turned into Pubcon, a large search conference series that still runs today."
2000 "Baidu – China’s largest search engine launched."[16]
2001 "At one point in 2001, one prominent industry writer suggested search engine marketing as a successor to search engine optimization. Obviously, it didn’t happen."[21] ". The term "Search Engine Marketing" was proposed by Danny Sullivan in 2001 to cover the spectrum of activities involved in performing SEO, managing paid listings at the search engines, submitting sites to directories, and developing online marketing strategies for businesses, organizations, and individuals"[24]
2001 "The 2001 Exodus was a huge kick in the shorts for many, as users abandoned older search engines like HotBot, AltaVista and Excite. Many users had moved their interest towards the new kid on the block, and so began “The Reign of Google.”"[16]
2001 "“Many SEOs have sleepless nights as we realize it is Google or bust.” – Brett Tabke, Founder of WebmasterWorld."[16]
2001 Year round " By 2001, users are abandoning search engines like Lycos, Excite, AltaVista and Hotbot."[4]
2002 November 15 "The first recorded SEO Contest was Schnitzelmitkartoffelsalat by German webmasters, started on November 15, 2002, in the German-language usenet group de.comm.infosystems.www.authoring.misc."
2002 "Google – Announced the launch of Froogle, a product search engine."[16]
2003 "In 2003, after acquiring Blogger.com, Google launched AdSense, which serves contextually targeted Google AdWords ads on publisher sites. The mix of AdSense and Blogger.com leads to a surge in monetized simple Internet publishing and a blogging revolution."[21]
2003 "Blogger and WordPress – Blogging became popular and was utilized for SEO."[16]
2003 "38 Million + Websites Online."[16]
2003 "782 Million + Internet Users."[16]
2004 May Nigritude Ultramarine 2004 launches as the first english language SEO competition, created by darkblue.com and run by SearchGuild.[25]
2004 "Around 2004, Google and other top search engines started improving results for queries that had a geographic intent (e.g., a restaurant, plumber, or some other type of business or service provider in your city or town)."[21]
2004 "It was also around 2004 that Google and search engines began making greater use of end-user data, such as search history and interests, to personalize search results. This meant that the results you saw could be different than what another person sitting next to you in a coffee shop when searching for the same query."[21]
2004 "Seraphim Proudleduck 2004" "This SEO Contest presented by Salmonbones had prizes of 1,000, 300, and 200 British pounds as well as a bonus prize of a website and 1 year of hosting. The winner was whoever ranked highest for "seraphim proudleduck" on January 1st, 2005 at 1am in the UK. Sadly, the prize money in this contest was never distributed to the winner, Philipp Lenssen, for which the contest owner later apologized."[25]
2004 "SEOMOZ – Founded by Rand Fiskin, first a blog, SEOmoz grew to become one of the largest providers of SEO Tools."[16]
2004 "By 2004, the three major search engines that are left, Google, MSN and Yahoo!, start incorporating undisclosed page ranking factors into their algorithms."[4]
2005 January "One of the biggest years in the search engine world was 2005. That January, Google united with Yahoo and MSN for the Nofollow Attribute, which was created in part to decrease the amount of spammy links and comments on websites, especially blogs."[5]
2005 March SEO contest "Loquine Glupe 2005. Needing to top google by March 1st, the winner of this contest hosted by webmaster-forums.co.uk would receive a link from a PR6 website and free hosting for a year, while the runner-up would get free advertising in the forum."[25]
2005 May–December SEO contest "Hommingberger Gepardenforelle 2005. Another German contest, the goal of this SEO contest was to figure out how search engines determined rankings. Sponsored by Computer Magazine, the contest was run from May 15 - December 15th, 2005."[25]
2005 June " Then, in June, Google debuted personalized search, which used someone’s search and browsing history to make results more relevant."[5]
2005 "Also in 2005, nofollow tags were created as a means to combat spam. SEO pros began using this tag as a way of PageRank sculpting."[21]
2005 September "Google also unleashed a couple of noteworthy updates:" "Jagger, which helped to diminish the level of unsolicited link exchanges that were flying around, as well as heralding the decline in the importance of anchor text as a factor due to its corruptibility."[21][26]
2005 SEO contest "Msnbetter Thangoogle 2005. Polish SEO contest intended to promote SEO in Poland and get the attention of search engines. There were some small prizes like an MP3 player, and SEO book, a cup, and even an honorary title of “Polish master of positioning internet websites 2005.” The contest ended on October 1st, 2005."[25]
2005 November "That November, Google Analytics launched, which is still used today to measure traffic and campaign ROI."[5] "Google – Introduced personalized search. Announced that hyperlinks with rel=”nofollow”[4] would not influence the link target’s PageRank. Google acquired Urchin software and launched Google Analytics."[16]
2005 December "Google also unleashed a couple of noteworthy updates:" "Big Daddy (coined by Jeff Manson of RealGeeks), which improved the architecture of Google to allow for improved understanding of the worth and relationship of links between sites."[21][27]
2005 December 20 SEO contest "v7ndotcom elursrebmem 2006. This competition from John Scott on the forum v7n.com was won by Scott Jones with second place Jim Westergren. The winner gave 50% of the prize money to a charity supporting Celiac Disease. The branded keyword v7ndotcom and secondary word elursrebmem (membersrule backwards) were used. The contest was announced December 20, 2005 and ended on May 15, 2006 at 12PM Pacific. There were prizes totaling over $9,000 with $7,000 to the winner and this was the biggest SEO competition at the time. Greg Boser didn't like one of the rules of this competition that required a link to V7N so he offered the same prize in exchange for linking to Matt Cutts blog instead. Greg ended up awarding his prize to Scott Jones. One major accomplishment for this contest was that it drew mainstream attention from the WSJ."[25]
2005 "In 2005, Google starts personalizing search results, taking into account a user’s search history to come up with customized results pages when that user is logged in"[4]
2006 February–May ""the four required words" 2006. Run from February 15th - May 15th, 2006, this contest had prizes of $100 for Google, $20 for MSN, $20 for Yahoo, $20 for A9, $20 in Google Images, $20 in A9 Images, and $20 in Ask Images. It was sponsored by milliondollarscreenshot.com and was the first contest to use an expression in quotes and targeted image search, even though no images were shown in the time of the contest."[25]
2006 March–December "carcasherdotcom-seocontest 2006. Run from March 1st - December 1st, 2006, CarCrasher offered monthly $500, $200, and $100 prizes and on December 31st, the prizes jumped to $3000, $2000, and $1000. There were also prizes like a Plasma TV, Sony PSP, and even an iPod."[25]
2006 " By 2006, Google rolled out a Maps Plus Box, which I was quite impressed by at the time."[21]
2006 October "In October 2006, Google acquired user-generated video sharing network YouTube for $1.65 billion, which ultimately became the second most used search property in the world."[21]
2006 "Google also launched two incredibly important products in 2006:" "Google Webmaster Tools. Now known as the Search Console, Google Webmaster Tools let webmasters view crawling errors, see what searches your site showed up for, and request reinclusion."[21]
2006 "Google also launched two incredibly important products in 2006:" "Google Analytics. This free, web-based tool was so popular at launch that webmasters experienced downtime and maintenance warnings."[21]
2006 "Also in 2006 XML sitemaps gained universal support from the search engines. XML sitemaps allow webmasters to display to the search engines, every URL on their website that is available for crawling. An XML sitemap contains not only a list of URLs but a range of further information, which helped search engines to crawl more intelligently."[21] "XML Sitemaps, introduced in 2006 and acquired a great support from the search engines."[8]
2006 "In 2006 it was time for BMW to get banned and utterly removed from Google’s search results for using a technique called cloaking, which means showing one type of content for search engines and another one for users."[6]
2006 SEO contest "Redscowl Bluesingsky 2006. More made up words, this SEO contest was sponsored by SEOLogs. Shoemoney won the contest but since he had put up the money for the contest, he gave the money to the runner."[25]
2006 "Google – Google Webmaster Central is launched. Google, along with MSN and Yahoo, announced joint support for sitemap protocol."[16]
2007 January 15 "SEO World Championship 2007. Sponsored by European Internet Marketing company Eastpoint, this contest went from January 15th 2007 - May 1st 2007. The keyword they chose was "globalwarming awareness2007". This actually explains one of the domains that showed up in the SERPs for the Wix SEO Hero competition early on, as it was likely one of the competing websites back in 2007. A friend of mine Benj Arriola actually won this one. The prizes included a Citreon C2, a Caribbean Cruice, a plasma TV, $500, and $100."[25]
2007 May 2 Jason Gambert attempts to trademark the term SEO by convincing the Trademark Office in Arizona that SEO is a "process" involving manipulation of keywords and not a "marketing service."[28]
2007 "We really began to see search starting to evolve in new and exciting ways starting in 2007. All of these updates were aimed at improving the user experience." "Let’s start with Google’s Universal Search. Until this point, the search results had consisted of 10 blue links."[21]
2007 ". In 2007, Google starts a campaign against paid links affecting PageRank."[4]
2008 February–April SEO contest "seocontest2008. This one was sponsored by the UK Webmaster World Community and launched February 1st and lasted until April 1st, 2008. The keyword was seocontest2008 and the prize was $1000 for the winner and $100 for the next 3 participants."[25]
2008 June–August SEO contest "Busby SEO Challenge 2008. Running from June 1st - August 31st, 2008, this contest targeted "busby seo challenge" and was sponsored by an Australian society, Busby Web Solutions. Prizes: $5,000 for the winner, the second prize: $2,000 and for the third prize: $500."[25]
2008 Yoast SEO starts operations as a SEO tool.[29][30]
2008 SEO contest "Busby SEO World Cup 2 2008. A second challenge from Busby targeted "busby seo test" with a prize of $5,000, 2nd place $2,000, 3rd $500, 4th $250, and 5th $100."[25]
2009 January 18 "In 2008, then-Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the Internet was becoming a cesspool and that brands were the solution. “Brands are how you sort out the cesspool,” he said. Less than six months after his comment, along came a Google update called Vince. Big brands suddenly seemed to be ranking a whole lot better in the SERPs." "The Vince Update appeared January 18, 2009. It was named after a Google engineer by this name in admiration of his effort in this algorithmic change – or what Matt Cutts, who was head of Google’s webspam team at the time, would refer to as a “simple change.”"[21][31]
2009 March–August SEO contest "Net Builders SEO Contest 2009. Winner: Hellas. The contest ran from March 15 - August 15, 2009. 1st place received $1000, 2nd $500, and 3rd got $250. The targeted keyword was "sulumits retsambew" which is webmaster stimulus backwards. Backwards seems to be a common trend in these contests."[25]
2009 June "In 2009, the search engine world saw a bit of a shakeup. Bing premiered that June, with Microsoft aggressively marketing it as the search engine that would produce noticeably better results than Google. But as SEL predicted, it was no “Google-killer,” nor did its advice for optimizing content significantly contrast Google’s. In fact, according to Search Engine Journal, the only noticeable difference was Bing’s tendency to give priority to keywords in URLs, as well as favoring capitalized words and “pages from large sites.”"[5] "In 2009, Microsoft gathered all that it had learned from its previous search engines (MSN Search, live Search, Windows live Search) and wrapped it all into what they now call Bing. About a year later, Yahoo! jumps on board with Microsoft and begins using the Bing search technology as well."[16]
2009 August 10 "On August 10, 2009, Google announced Caffeine – which would become one of the most important updates in the search engine’s history."[32]
2009 "In 2009, Microsoft Live Search became Bing. Then, in an attempt to challenge Google’s nearly 70 percent grip of the U.S. search market, Yahoo and Microsoft joined forces to partner on a 10-year search deal (though it ended up being reworked five years later)."[21]
2009 September–December SEO contest "OES Tsetnoc SEO Contest 2009. This contest literally for SEO Contest in reverse was from September 10th til December 15th 2009. Organized by PromoJunkie, there were prizes of $1000, $300, and $200. Some guy who went by Handsome won."[25]
2009 Year round Google executes between 350 and 550 adjustments to its search algorithm along the year, meaning at least once a day, showing the "rapid advancement required to stay on top if playing the game of SEO at the highest level".[6]
2009 Google announces it is attempting to stop the effects of PageRank sculpting that come as a result of nofollow links.[4]
2010 December " In December 2010, both Google and Bing added "social signals," which first displayed any written Facebook posts, for example, from your own network that matched your query. But it also began to give PageRank to Twitter profiles that were linked to with some frequency. The importance of Twitter in SEO didn't end there -- stay tuned."[5]
2010 "By 2010 a tactic had appeared where websites were created from large amounts of low-quality textual content, frequently updated and specifically designed to lure search engine algorithms. These sites were linked together forming so-called ‘content farms’ whose only purpose was to drive search engine traffic and, just like doorway pages before them, sending the incoming traffic to the final destination."[6]
2010 Year round "Companies’ SEO Spending in 2010. 52% – Spending more on SEO. 39% – Spending about the same. 9% – Spending less."[16]
2011 "In 2011, Google found its search results facing severe scrutiny because so-called “content farms” (websites that produced high volumes of low-quality content) were dominating the search results. Google’s SERPs were also cluttered with websites featuring unoriginal and auto-generated content – and even, in some instances, scraper sites were outranking content originators."[21]
2012 April "In April 2012, Google took what it called “another step to reward high-quality sites” with the first of many Penguin updates -- and, in the process of announcing it, acknowledged Bing’s month-earlier blog post on the changing face of SEO. "[5] " Penguin 4.0 is the latest version of Penguin, which was originally introduced in April, 2012."[2]
2012 May "In May 2012, Google unveiled the Knowledge Graph. This was a major shift away from interpreting keywords strings to understanding semantics and intent."[21][33]
2013 October "launch of app indexing making apps appear alongside websites in search results"[6] "Google App Indexing was launched in October 2013 for a limited set of publishers."[34]
2014 "Keeping with the tradition of animal-named algorithm updates, Google released "Pigeon" (dubbed so by SEL) in 2014, which carried quite an impact on local search results. At the time, it seems to have been designed to improve Maps queries, which began to be treated with some of the same technology that was applied to its other search functions, like "Knowledge Graph, spelling correction, synonyms". Local searches were going to become a big deal -- and it will only continue to do so, as you'll see in a bit."[5]
2014 November "Back in 2014, Google added a "mobile-friendly" label for search results that were optimized for such platforms -- where text is readable without zooming or horizontal scrolling, and links are spaced well enough so that there’s a reduced chance of mis-tapping."[5][35]
2015 February "Google announced that change in advance, in February 2015, with a mobile-friendly test that allowed webmasters to view potential issues and make changes before the rollout."[5]
2015 April "The biggest post-2010 SEO announcement might have been Google’s mobile update of April 2015, when non-mobile-friendly websites would start getting lower rankings. That meant SEO was no longer about keywords and content -- responsive design mattered, too."[5]
2015 May Mobile search surpasses desktop search.[36]
2015 "Finally, in 2015, we had the Year of Mobile – the point at which mobile searches overtook desktop search for the first time on Google"[21]
2015 October "In terms of search, we’ve already started to see the impact of AI with Google RankBrain. Announced in October 2015, RankBrain was initially used to try to interpret the 15 percent of searches that Google has never seen before, based on the words or phrases the user has entered."[21][37]
2015 ", and then in 2015 with the so-called ‘Mobilegeddon’ update that made website mobile friendliness a ranking signal in searches."[6][38]
2015 "According to a 2015 study, the top-ranking factors for search engines and their algorithms (including Google’s core algorithm) are ranked in order of importance as:

Domain-level link features Page-level link features Page-level keyword and content-based features Page-level keyword agnostic features Engagement and traffic/query data Domain-level brand metrics Domain-level keyword usage Domain-level keyword-agnostic features Page-level social metrics"[2]

2016 March–June SEO contest "Apex Forum SEO Contest 2016. Winner Scott Paxton. The keyword was "Club Penguin Walkthrough". Contest began on March 25th and went through June 22nd. There were lots of prizes totaling $8,684.04 for the winner with $1,000 in cash, $2,859.80 in prizes for second including $250 cash, and $1,769.80 in prizes for third including $100 cash."[25]
2016 August "It wasn’t the last of Google’s mobile updates -- in August 2016, it announced a crackdown on mobile pop-ups."[5]
2017 January "For instance, Google introduced an algorithmic change called the “Intrusive Interstitial Penalty” in January, 2017, in order to “punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that might damage the mobile user experience.”"[2]
2017 March "As recently as March 2017, Google made one of these changes: this update is informally known as “Fred” (no formal name has yet been given). It is reported that “Fred” has already had a major impact on the SEO community"[2]
2018 July "Google announced that from July 2018 page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches."[6][39]
2020 "Comscore predicts that by 2020 50% all searches will be voice."[6][40]

Meta information on the timeline

How the timeline was built

The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.

Funding information for this timeline is available.

Feedback and comments

Feedback for the timeline can be provided at the following places:


What the timeline is still missing

Timeline update strategy

See also

External links


  1. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 "The History of Search Engine Optimization". tellmeyourgoal.com. Retrieved 10 January 2020. 
  2. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEO". bluefrogdm.com. Retrieved 7 January 2020. 
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  9. Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What The Internet Is Hiding From You. 
  10. Miller, Gary; Benke, Meg; Chaloux, Bruce; Ragan, Lawrence C.; Schroeder, Raymond; Smutz, Wayne; Swan, Karen. Leading the e-Learning Transformation of Higher Education: Meeting the Challenges of Technology and Distance Education. 
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  13. "Archie". twitter.com. Retrieved 6 April 2020. 
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  20. 21.00 21.01 21.02 21.03 21.04 21.05 21.06 21.07 21.08 21.09 21.10 21.11 21.12 21.13 21.14 21.15 21.16 21.17 21.18 21.19 21.20 21.21 21.22 21.23 21.24 21.25 21.26 "20 Years of SEO: A Brief History of Search Engine Optimization". searchenginejournal.com. Retrieved 4 January 2020. 
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  22. Brin, Sergey & Page, Larry (1998). "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine". Proceedings of the seventh international conference on World Wide Web. pp. 107–117. Retrieved 3 January 2020. 
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  26. "Google's Big Daddy Update: Big Changes to Google's Infrastructure & the SERPs". searchenginejournal.com. Retrieved 4 January 2020. 
  27. "Trademark/Service Mark Application, Principal Register". Retrieved 3 January 2020. 
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  31. "Google's Caffeine Update: Better Indexing & Fresher Search Results". searchenginejournal.com. Retrieved 4 January 2020. 
  32. "Google Testing Semantic Search Update". searchenginejournal.com. Retrieved 4 January 2020. 
  33. "Google: App Indexing". searchengineland.com. Retrieved 7 January 2020. 
  34. "Helping users find mobile-friendly pages". webmasters.googleblog.com. Retrieved 6 January 2020. 
  35. "Inside AdWords: Building for the next moment" Google Inside Adwords May 15, 2015.
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  39. "Stat of the week – Voice Search". blog.zooma.se. Retrieved 7 January 2020.