The history of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be divided into several stages. SEO begins its history in the 1990s, when the first search engines appeared. Since then, the SEO industry has gone through many changes and has become one of the main components of a successful online business.
Early period (1990s)
At the dawn of the Internet, the first search engines such as AltaVista, Yahoo, Lycos and Excite appeared. Webmasters began to optimize their sites to get better positions in search results. At the time, the main focus was on meta tags, keywords, and repetition of those words in the content.
Links exchange period (2000s)
Google, founded in 1998, became the dominant search engine thanks to its innovative PageRank algorithm. As Google grew in popularity based on its PageRank algorithm, links became an important ranking factor. As a result, webmasters began actively exchanging links and buying them, which led to link spam. During this period, the first meaningful updates to Google’s algorithms began to appear.
Google Toolbar and PageRank (2000) – The introduction of Google Toolbar allowed users to see PageRank sites, which contributed to the growing importance of links in SEO.
Google Boston Update (2003) and Google Florida Update (2003). The first of these updates took place in February-March 2003 and the second in November 2003. Both algorithms were designed to combat the techniques of then-black SEO, such as “hidden text” and keyword stuffing on pages.
Google Brandy Update (2004). An update that resulted in Google’s better understanding of site structure. The update greatly increased the importance of trustworthy and quality links, as well as the text used in the anchors of links.
Google Jagger Update (2005) seems to be the first update to combat paid links.
Big Daddy Google Update (2005) was a change aimed at improving Google’s ability to index and process information.
Google Caffeine Update (2009-2010). With this update, Google greatly accelerated the indexing of pages, and began to provide users with more relevant search results.
Algorithmic updates (2010s)
Google continued to improve its algorithms in order to provide better results to users. Some of the most significant updates launched at that time include:
Google Panda (2011) – One of the most famous updates, Panda is designed to combat low-quality content, copy and content aggregation.
Google Penguin (2012) – An update aimed at combating link spam and overvalued backlinks. It has become notorious for bringing down the sites of many webmasters.
Google Exact Match Domain Update (2012) – This update is aimed at combating sites that were gaining a ranking advantage due to the exact match of the domain name with keywords.
User orientation (mid-2010s)
Search engines have become more focused on meeting user needs, providing more relevant and relevant results.
Google Zebra Update (2013), supposedly the first major update aimed at improving the quality of search results for users from mobile devices.
Google Hummingbird Update (2013) – An important update that improved understanding of the semantics and context of search queries. It’s also “Hummingbird.”
Google Pigeon Update (2014) – An update that improved the ranking of sites based on their geographic location and proximity to the user.
Google Mobilegeddon Update (2015) – An update that reinforced the importance of mobile optimization and site usability on mobile devices.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning (late 2010s-present)
Google RankBrain Update (October 2015). RankBrain is a component of Google’s algorithm that uses machine learning to improve query understanding and provide more relevant results. RankBrain helps the algorithm better interpret complex, long and rare queries using semantics and context.
Google Possum Update (September 2016). The Possum update focused on improving local search results, with a focus on geolocation and better identifying the proximity of a business to a user’s location.
Google Fred Update (March 2017). The Fred update focused on combating low-quality content and sites created to monetize but provide no real value to users.
Google BERT Update (October 2019). BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) is an update that uses advanced technologies in natural language processing and machine learning to improve query understanding. BERT improves understanding of long and complex queries, as well as processing prepositions and collocations.
Core Web Vitals (May 2021). The Core Web Vitals update included new ranking factors related to the quality of the user experience on the site, such as load time, interactivity, and page layout stability. These factors have become an important part of a site’s ranking score.
With advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, search engines have become even better at understanding user intent and page content.
Google Product Review Updates – These algorithmic updates, released by Google in December 2021, and in March, July and September 2022, are aimed at improving the quality of search results related to product and service reviews. The updates are aimed at combating low-quality content, such as fake or uninformative reviews. According to many, these kinds of updates affect review sites in the online gambling, which makes sense in principle.
Google Core Updates – took place in May and September 2022.
Google Helpful Content Updates – took the search engine by storm in August and December 2022.
Google Spam and Google Link Spam Updates – took place in October and December 2022. The first update took 48 hours, the second was 29 days, and ended on January 13, 2023. And in the second case, it was first used to neutralize link spam.
Many seo-professionals, including famous ones, spoke rather scornfully about the effectiveness of AI SpamBrain. But the nuance is that, like many algorithms based on artificial intelligence, SpamBrain does not stand still, but “learns” daily and becomes more and more “smart” in recognizing sites that use prohibited by Google methods of manipulating search results.
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Sunset SEO? (2018-Future)
In 2018, OpenAI released the first version of ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer). In 2019, ChatGPT-2 saw the light of day. In 2020, ChatGPT-3. Currently, the two most powerful versions of ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4 are open to the public.
Generative Pre-trained Transformer (GPT) is a machine learning model developed by OpenAI. GPT belongs to the class of Transformers, which is one of the most advanced architectures for natural language processing (NLP) and other machine learning tasks.
According to unofficial statistics, many users have already turned to ChatGPT-4 more times than to Google. Subjectively, 80% of questions users asked ChatGPT-4 and the remaining 20% came from a search engine by Google.The advantage of chat based on neural networks is that in one interface you can both get answers to questions and solve problems. The advantage of chat based on neural networks is that in one interface you can both get answers to questions and solve problems. As an example, yesterday the High Seo Link team asked ChatGPT-4 an interesting task to test some of their hypotheses. We were unable to find the answer in a Google search. ChatGPT-4 solve the problem by writing a detailed answer in less than 20 seconds.
At the moment there is much debate as to whether SEO will survive the competition with neural networks and chat rooms powered by artificial intelligence. But with a high degree of probability we can predict that the SEO-traffic will in the future will decline.