”Join us on the journey as we disclose more than twenty years of Organic Search Engine Optimization Experience for free. To begin this journey, we must start with a brief history of the internet and its main players, so we can see how it transitioned through to today.”
Beginning in the early 1990’s we used traditional Yellow Pages from the phone company (MA or one of the seven Baby Bells) and specialized business directories to find a business, product or service that we were looking for. In 1991, there was only one website, World Wide Web Project run by Timothy Berners Lee of CERN (1)(a)(b) and no real need for a search engine. In 1994, that all changed. The beginning of the internet, websites, search engines and need for business advertising to fund the growth, to get found and compete online which drove the web to new booms and busts. Something our country hasn’t seen since the Gold Rush.
1994, with more than 2,700 websites, YAHOO!, The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and Best of the Web Directories emerged. All manually maintained and human edited. This was expensive, with costs from $300 – $500 per business if you could even get listed. Historically this will be seen as a short run which could be seen, especially if you ha foresight of the coming growth. In 1995 AOL became a powerhouse, helping nearly 20 million users get online and Amazon was in its infancy.
In 1996, the negative effects of the internet were starting to be felt by the traditional printing industry, as well as others. We watched maps and business directory Yellow Pages come online.
- Rueben H. Donnelly – Son of R.R. Donnelly, best known for creating the YellowPages when his printing company ran out of white paper and started using yellow paper instead; brought the YellowPages online through DexKnows. (3)(a)
- R.R. Donnelly & Son’s – One of the largest printers and, specifically largest map printers in the world, spun off and indirectly brought Mapquest online, as the first digital mapping software. (3)(b)
By 1998, automation became a real issue with more than 2.7 million web sites now online. There were web crawlers and metasearch engines in use with some success but relevant search engine results were an issue. Until now, websites were largely dependent on human edited directories and self manipulated web pages to gain positive search engine results. Google changed the game with a new method of providing relevant search engine results, PageRank, named after Founder Larry Page. (2) PageRank used the Democracy of the Web by valuing links to a website as a vote counted with a value from the website the link came from.
Everyone had a dot com associated to them, it was the height of the dot com bubble. Billions of dollars of investment and market capitalization were tied to companies that did not earn a profit. It seemed to happen in the blink of an eye, and at the lowest point of the crash, more than five Trillion in Market Capitalization was lost. The Dot Com bubble had burst.
“A friend of mine has a great line. He says ‘Nothing important has ever been built without irrational exuberance’. Meaning that you need some of this mania to cause investors to open up their pocketbooks and finance the building of the railroads or the automobile or aerospace industry or whatever. And in this case, much of the capital invested was lost, but also much of it was invested in a very high throughput backbone for the Internet, and lots of software that works, and databases and server structure. All that stuff has allowed what we have today, which has changed all our lives… that’s what all this speculative mania built”.
Fred Wilson In a 2015 book, “Venture Capitalist”. Fred funded dot-com companies and lost 90% of his net worth when the bubble burst.
There are original dot com companies that got it right and made it through to become the leaders of today, like Amazon, Google, PayPal, EBAY and Netflix. The imagination continued as new companies emerged, with more stringent guidelines, poised for success like WordPress, Wikipedia, Facebook, LinkedIn, & YouTube that help to define the present day internet.
In each step of the way, as the internet evolved, SEO changed. We break this down into four main categories which can be used for businesses with or without a website. It’s important to remember, whether or not your business has a website, chances are, you do have an internet presence and can benefit from good SEO practices.
The Four Main SEO Categories are:
- Citations or Traditional Standard of Name, Address, and Phone (NAP)
- Social Reviews
- Content LinkBacks
- On Page SEO
Join us on our journey and we will help you build a better SEO Foundation for your business and website.
- (1)(a)Internet Live Stats – http://www.internetlivestats.com/total-number-of-websites/
- (1)(b)CERN – https://home.cern/science/computing/birth-web/short-history-web
- (2)Google PageRank – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PageRank
- (3)(a)YellowPages – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_pages#Decline_of_Print_Directories
- (3)(b)Mapquest – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MapQuest