The advent of browser-based searches or online search led to the birth of the concept known as search engine optimization or SEO. Popular search engines such as Yahoo, Google, Bing, MSN, Ask Jeeves and many more have evolved significantly in the way they conduct search along with ranking and indexing pages to suit user’s varied needs. During the early years, websites only created content to inform visitors of their products or service offerings, provide useful information or contact details. There was little emphasis placed on keywords or search terms and most website owners did not bother about writing for search engines. However, with the world becoming increasingly globalised due to the surge of the internet and online search, companies started to realize the importance of writing not only for users and visitors, but also for search engines.
Major search engines use a set of algorithms in order to rank pages and select the most relevant websites keeping in mind the user’s search terms or keywords. During the formation of search related algorithms, Google and other popular search engines used a tool known as ‘PageRank’ in order to categorize and rank pages in accordance to their content and popularity among visitors. However, ‘PageRank’ contained a fatal flaw because it did not take link spamming into consideration. Black hat SEO companies would create links replete with popular keywords with little or no relevant content. Additionally, there were many dubious links created that would hyperlink a website in order to increase its popularity (search engines take linking of your website into consideration).
This gave rise to ‘nofollow’ in order to mitigate the damage done by PageRank. By 2009, Google and other search engines started populating search results based on web history of its users. In 2010, search engine became more sophisticated and polished as the Google Caffeine update enabled faster search and incorporated sites with fresh and dynamic content such as blogs, social media links and active forums. Real-time search in the form of ‘Google Instant’ made head waves in the market and allowed users to search quicker with better results. With the Google Panda and Penguin update in 2011 and 2012 respectively, the algorithms were tweaked so that the priority shifted purely to unique content rather than just keywords or social media popularity.
To this day Google and other search engines constantly endeavour (in an admirable effort) to make search more relevant and holistic to users. If there is one thing to take from this ever-changing and dynamic nature of search engines, it is that search is constantly evolving. This can be seen by the fact that search engines have shifted their focus from merely looking into just keywords on a page to taking on a more comprehensive approach that includes social media sites, blogs, YouTube and other video links, to name a few elements. This means that businesses that wish to always rank high on the results page must engage the services of companies that specialize in SEO and are well-aware of their updates. SEO specialists can determine and assess how to enhance your ranking and ensure that the incessant updates do not interfere with your current high rank.