Google started its meteoric rise in the world of online search back in 1998. From such small beginnings grew the giant that Google is today with leading search market share in Ireland, US and in fact most countries outside of Russia and China. In Russia the primary search engine is Yandex, while in China it is Baidu.
The initial challenge for Google was to crawl the web efficiently. At the beginning there were 30 to 40 million web pages to spider. But now it’s hundreds of billions. But Google has built the technology to be able to perform this feat in a very short timeframe. New content is indexed almost straight away for sites that are updated regularly.
The goal of search quickly became to give the searchers relevant and quality results.
How Search Engine Optimization even Began
In the beginning, those who were responsible for websites realised that there were great opportunities to market themselves using Google’s search results. This is where search engine optimization began. Initially, the search algorithm was relatively basic and onsite strategies were used by search engine optimization (SEO) practitioners. These included the use of keywords in meta data and content.
The concept of PageRank was introduced and the importance of the sites external links became prominent. The search engine results page serp keyword ranking of a site or web page is a function of its PageRank as well as a variety of over 200 other factors. Linkbuilding became a key requirement in search engine optimization and with it the ‘anchor text’ used for the link. This is the keyword enriched text that is used for the link.
When Google Instant hit the search screens in 2010 this changed the way that searchers performed searches. Therefore, it affected the way that SEOs optimized sites. As so many searchers chose from the keywords suggested by Google Instant instead of typing in their own search query these now often feed into the keyword research component of search engine optimization.
Also in 2010, one of the big changes was the emphasis on load speed. The time taken for a website to load became regarded as a key quality signal for the end user. The typical user’s attention span on the web has shortened considerably since the early days of web usage and expectations are much greater. Load speed is now on the checklist of things to measure in the course of a search engine optimization site audit and load speed diagnostics have now been incorporated into the Google Webmaster Tools.