While the casual user may not be familiar with the acronym SEO, the term is very important in the world of internet marketing, sales and promotion. It stands for Search Engine Optimization, and as its name suggests it involves taking the actions that will help push a website to the top of a search engine results page. In an age where gaining or losing attention to a website or content can make or break a company, SEO is more important than ever. This is one of the reasons why SEO is also known as SEM, or Search Engine Marketing.
These days the Internet and SEO seem inseparable, and it would be logical to think that the two were born together, but the truth is that there is an almost 40 year gap between their conception. The modern Internet itself was introduced in 1958 when telecommunications giant AT&T released the first commercial modem. Prior to this, the predecessors of the Internet mainly resided within the confines of the military and scientific communities. It wasn’t even called the “Internet” in 1958, that was a label that rose about during December of 1974.
Back then the Internet was mainly used as an alternative form of communication and rudimentary data sharing. It wasn’t until 1990 when the first search engine came online. Oddly enough, it only came into existence as part of a school project, but nonetheless the cat was out of the bag. 1992 saw the launch of Gopher, the first search engine which utilized a hypertext model, which was a considerable leap forward. Wandex, another search engine of the early 90s, became the first search engine to not only go through the internet indexing pages, but searching through them as well. This rapid progression continued until 1998 when the past decades work culminated into the development of the search engines that we know, love and use today.
Who introduced the name “SEO”?
SEO, on the other hand, found its origins with a man named John Audette. In 1995, after selling 4,000 copies of his book on online marketing, Audette decided to form the Multi-Media Marketing Group (MMG) in the unassuming town of Lake Oswego, Oregon. He would go on to recruit the likes of Marshall Simmonds, Derrick Wheeler and other pioneers of SEO. The group eventually took their company to the bigger city of Bend, Oregon in 1997, and it is there where the company whipped up its infamous Internet marketing newsletter called I-Search.
Audette once hired industry analyst Danny Sullivan to speak at a meeting and it is there that the term “search engine optimization” was spoken to a large audience. Sullivan would later recount that he previously heard the term from Bruce Clay. In what context Clay spoke about internet marketing or SEO is still unknown. However, history will forever associate the term “search engine optimization” with Danny Sullivan. In his speech, Sullivan iterated the importance of marketing websites and the need to bump up their rank as high as possible to generate traffic. And the rest, as they say, is history. SEO became a major player in the marketing world once businesses started seeing the Internet not as a novelty, but as a way for them to spread their message to the masses and grab their attention.
Who knows what the future will hold for SEO. Technology is ever changing, sometimes in increments and at other times in leaps and bounds, but that technology is only part of the equation when it comes to SEO. There is a human element, an emotional element, a behavioral element. This is why people will need to constantly refine, tweak and adjust their SEO parameters to properly adjust for the demands of the people. This may change from year to year, season to season, and even day to day. Each fluctuation must be noted, recorded, analyzed and then adjusted to meet the specific demands.
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