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What Is SEO, How It Works, History Of Appearance And Development

Beginners are often intimidated by the acronym SEO. In short, SEO is a set of actions for promoting a site in search engines. But what exactly is meant by promotion, which methods work and which are already outdated, remains a question.

In the article, we will explain in simple terms what SEO is, when the term appeared, how SEO optimization developed. And we will answer the main question of beginners - is it difficult to understand SEO and learn how to promote sites on your own. Or you need to contact SEO-specialists and spend a lot of money.

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What is SEO: deciphering the term, history of appearance and development

SEO (from the English Search Engine Optimization) is the optimization of a website for search engines. When a person enters a query in a search, for example, " TOP 10 best CRM systems ", the search engine provides a list of pages with different sites that can answer this query. These are hundreds of SERPs, but every site owner wants to get to the first and preferably higher (ideally in the TOP-3).

To get to the TOP, site owners have taken a lot of actions - they have added high-quality content to the page, added relevant keywords, correctly spelled the Title and Description , worked out the usability of the sites, and that's not all.

That is, SEO is a set of actions aimed at making the site more attractive to search engines and visitors. The latter are important in terms of behavioral factors - how users behave on the site affects its display in search engines. If people spend a lot of time on the site, go to different pages, return to the resource later, this is good for promotion.

Important: you should understand that all sites cannot be in the TOP. And even once on the top lines, the page cannot stay there forever. We can talk about the daily competition of sites for a high line in the search for a particular query. In order not to lose positions, you need to regularly engage in SEO promotion and work on the site.

This is interesting: 10 best services for SEO website promotion

PS Speaking of SEO, it is worth mentioning that this term does not only apply to websites. For example, there is SEO optimization for YouTube videos . That is, this applies to any content that can be promoted through search, including search within the platform with this content.

When and how did the term SEO originate?

There was no SEO from 1991 to 1993. Then you had to manually enter the site address in the search box to open it and find the necessary information.

Several simple search engines were created between 1993 and 1996: Yahoo, JumpStation, WebCrawler, Lycos, Altavista, Excite, AskJeeves, Inktomi, Magellan. We can say that in those years SEO was just in its infancy, but the search principle was still primitive. For example, JumpStation used a crawler and contained a form for entering queries, but searched pages only by titles. WebCrawler, in addition to headings, was able to β€œpull out” words from pages.

Accordingly, site owners needed to design headings and text, taking into account how information would be searched in the search. But still, it was too early to talk about full-fledged SEO optimization.

Yandex appeared in 1993, but then it was a program that searched for files on a computer. The developers have created a separate dictionary of keywords in Russian (one might say, a prototype of Yandex.Wordstat ). But then Yandex did not work on the web yet.

As a search engine, Yandex was announced in 1997, at the same time the BackRub search engine (appeared in 1996) was renamed Google. That is, the 2 most popular search engines today fully (for that time) earned in 1997. The same year can be considered the beginning of the emergence of the SEO promotion that we know.

It is believed that the founder of the term SEO was an American journalist, technologist and entrepreneur Danny Sullivan. He noticed patterns in the work of search engines and in 1996 (before the announcement of Yandex and Google) published a study called "Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines". In 1997, Sullivan started Search Engine Watch, a website with tips for webmasters on how to get good search results.

The History of Search Engine Optimization

Why do you need to know how the principles of SEO promotion have changed? Everything is simple - so as not to make mistakes. Some site owners and even "specialists" use outdated techniques. This not only does not help the site, but can also harm.

Timeline of SEO development:

1997 The first time after the official launch of Yandex and Google, when ranking sites, they relied on 3 key points:

  • Title - the title of the page.
  • Description - description of the page (the search engine understood what it was about)
  • Keywords - the search engine counted how many times the keywords occur in the text to understand that the content of the text matches the query.

At about the same time, "black hat SEO" appeared - primitive technologies, the essence of which was to rank high in the search without taking into account the interests of users. They brought sites to high positions, but were useless for readers.

As a result, phenomena such as:

1. Spam. Texts in which they stuffed as many keywords as possible. It was impossible to read them, the sites did not solve the problems of users, but they were well recognized by search engines.

In order not to shock users with a large number of keywords, some webmasters wrote them in white text on a white background so that the keys would still be recognized by search engines.

2. Doorways. Resources created to automatically redirect visitors to other sites.

3. Cloaking. The actual content of the page differs from the information received by the search engine.

Important: now these methods of promotion do not work, and their use can send your site under search engine filters.

From that moment on, the search engines struggled with black hat SEO methods for many years. Search engines improved and improved their ranking algorithms, which changed the approach to SEO.

1998 Google launches the PageRank algorithm. Now he evaluates not only the relevance of the query to the content of the text, but also links to this site on other resources (the number of external links).

This led to the other extreme - webmasters began to massively buy links. And link spam was added to keyword spam.

Until 2000, the algorithms changed a little, but keys and external links still remained in priority. The requirement for the density of keywords, donor sites and text volume has changed.

In 2003, Google came up with the Cassandra algorithm, which began to pessimize (downgrade) sites with hidden keywords. In the same year, the Florida algorithm appeared, which pessimized sites with non-unique content and spammy links.

In 2004, the Austin algorithm appeared, which even more severely punished overspam and hidden content.

That is, in 2003-2004, SEO specialists had to reconsider optimization methods - keywords began to be used more carefully, hidden keywords were completely removed, copywriters began to write more unique texts.

In 2004, Google launches the Brandy algorithm, which learns to understand synonyms, and in 2006 launches a change based on the Orion algorithm (the search engine begins to understand related queries and offer them as a result of the issue).

This did not greatly affect the optimization efforts, but these algorithms became the prerequisites for the emergence of LSI .

2008 Yandex relied on the number of keywords and external links longer than Google. But in 2008, the Magadan algorithm appeared, which began to take into account transliteration, translation of words and abbreviations. The second version of Magadan made the uniqueness of the text one of the key ranking factors.

SEO specialists began to emphasize the uniqueness of the text. Keywords also played an important role.

After "Magadan", the Yandex algorithm "Nakhodka" appeared, which began to distinguish between requests in the plural and singular, and also to understand the difference between continuous and separate spelling of words.

In terms of SEO, this affected a more accurate selection of keywords when compiling the semantic core.

Another problem remained - copywriters wrote very long texts so that there were a lot of keywords, but at the same time the text was written more for people, not search engines.

Since 2010, Yandex has been lowering pages with too long texts in the search results.

For SEO, this meant moving from footcloths with 20-30 keywords to less voluminous, but more structured texts.

In 2011, Google launched the Panda algorithm, which began to evaluate sites not only by text content and keywords, but also by user interaction with the site (by behavioral factors). He began to determine the degree of involvement, the time of the visit, the depth of viewing, the percentage of bounces, the percentage of returns to the site. In the same year, Yandex launched the β€œYou are spam” algorithm, which lowered sites with a large number of keywords and the strong tag in the search results.

For SEO and copywriting, this was the beginning of creating useful informative content instead of texts, the only value of which was a correctly distributed number of keywords.

In 2012, Google launched the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) algorithm, which further pessimized sites with stolen content.

I must say that black hat SEO has been winning for several years - back in 2008-2010, the number of keywords and external links was more important than the quality of the text.

The results in search engines have become better somewhere since 2015-2016. In 2015, Yandex introduced the Minusinsk algorithm. He began to more rigorously track keyword overoptimized texts, low-quality inbound links, and link buying abuse.

This affected SEO in terms of creating better texts and more thorough link promotion. Now it was necessary to look for high-quality donor sites (and not to be placed anywhere), build up the link mass gradually, the emphasis was on natural links (that is, the quality of the text with the link, the theme of the site, the number of links in the text, near-link text began to matter).

In 2016, Google connected the RankBrain system to its algorithm, which was able to understand the meaning of the entire content, not individual words, and could self-learn. Yandex launched a similar Palekh algorithm.

The issuance began to more subtly correspond to the user's requests based on the content of the page, and not just the keywords. This made SEO and copywriting even more focused on the quality of the information presented in the texts.

In 2017, Yandex launched the Baden-Baden algorithm. He was even more pessimistic about sites for spamming and unnatural speech patterns. In the same year, Yandex released the Korolev algorithm, which formed the issue by analyzing all the content of the page and images.

The copywriters breathed a sigh of relief. Now it was possible to write more β€œhuman” texts and gradually move away from the exact occurrence of verbose keywords like β€œBy going to the β€œShoes” section, you can buy inexpensive men's shoes in the Podkova online store with delivery in Yekaterinburg.”

SEO Today

Search engines do not disclose all the nuances of their algorithms (especially since they are constantly changing). We can say that as of 2021-2022, search engines take into account the following factors when ranking:

commercial factors - factors that influence the visitor's decision to make a purchase on the site. It concerns sites that sell goods and services and are promoted by commercial requests (mainly online stores). There are several dozen factors that can be classified as commercial, for example, website design, information about the company, a working β€œBuy” button in the product card, and the presence of reviews. The site and the company itself must inspire trust among users. It is also important that all elements of the online store function properly. For example, if a customer puts a product in the cart, but cannot place and pay for the order due to a technical error, this is a minus for promotion.
For more information, see the Commercial Site Ranking Factors article .

ymyl and E‑AT. The term YMYL (from the English "Your Money or Your Life" - "Your money or your life") in Google refers to sites whose information directly affects the life, health, finances, social life of a person. Examples are medical sites, news portals, legal resources, government sites. Search engines have increased requirements for content on such resources. To evaluate their content, the algorithms take into account EAT factors.
What does this mean, in a nutshell:

E - Expertise (expertise, competence) - how expert the information presented and its author;

A - Authoritativeness (authority) - the authority of the author and the site is assessed;

T - Trustworthiness (reliability) - whether the site and the author can be considered a reliable source of information.

  • citation index - external links (at the same time, it was already written above that the number of links, their gradual increase, the quality of donor sites and the quality of texts with links are important);
  • Behavioral factors (internal and external) are how users interact within the site or when clicking from external links, as well as search. For example, if a person enters a query, lands on your page, and after reading the article does not search for other sites for the same query, this is good. This means that he received a response to his request on your site;
  • site quality index (XI for Yandex) - how the search engine considers your site to be of high quality for users;
  • site loading speed - for mobile and PC users, checked by Google PageSpeed ;

Related: Top 10 Factors Affecting SEO

Is it possible to promote websites on your own?

If you have the time and desire, then yes. But you need to learn a little. You can take courses on SEO , we also recommend reading the SEO section on Postium. In the courses, you can master the optimization of sites for a period of 2.5 to 11 months, depending on the chosen program.

Conclusion

Understanding what SEO is helps to promote a website in search engines. Understanding SEO is not as difficult as it seems at first glance. But keep in mind that search engine algorithms are constantly changing, and with them the approach to promotion is changing. This can be seen in the history of SEO development. Having learned the intricacies of optimization, you will be able to promote your sites and customer sites.

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