The evolution and history of SEO: 9 interesting facts
By helloDarwin
October 24, 2017

L'évolution et l'histoire du SEO: 9 faits intéressants

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a crucial component of online marketing and presence that has developed in parallel with the history of the Internet. Let's discover together how SEO techniques and the algorithms of search engines such as Google have evolved over the years to meet search criteria and improve the user experience.

1945: The dawn of SEO with Vannevar Bush

Long before the term "SEO" entered our lexicon, Vannevar Bush was conceptualizing a "meta" information storage system. His idea of the Memex prefigured future search engines, enabling the collection and association of data - a fundamental premise of modern SEO.

1990: Archie, the forerunner of search engines

Archie, designed by Alan Emtage, was the first tool to index content on servers, laying the foundations for what would become search engines. Although rudimentary, it was a major innovation for web referencing, enabling information to be organized and searched on the Internet for the first time.

1993: The age of algorithms with Architext (Excite)

The emergence of Excite marked a turning point in search engine optimization, taking content keywords into account when ranking pages. This was a significant advance in the way pages were referenced in searches, highlighting the importance of keywords for SEO and site optimization.

1997: The birth of SEO

It was at this time that the term "Search Engine Optimization" was coined, reflecting a growing awareness of the importance of website indexing and visibility in search engines, particularly for marketing purposes.

The transition to off-site SEO in the 90s

On-site SEO, focused on elements such as keyword density, began to give way to off-site strategies, notably the use of inbound links. However, this era also saw "black hat SEO" techniques such as keyword overuse and the accumulation of low-quality backlinks to rank first, leading to a necessary evolution of search engine algorithms.

1998-2005: Google changes the game

The arrival of Google and its PageRank algorithm revolutionized SEO by introducing criteria that valued the quantity and, eventually, the quality of incoming links. This period also saw the adjustment of algorithms to personalize search results and introduce geolocation, thus improving page positioning and the user experience.

2010: The influence of social networks on SEO

Social networks began to play a role in SEO, with search engine spiders indexing content from platforms like Facebook to refine search results and better target user interests.

2011-2012: Google penalties

To counter abuse, Google introduced Panda and Penguin penalties, aimed at punishing dishonest SEO practices such as low-quality content and link manipulation.

2015 and beyond: User experience at the heart of SEO

Google continues to refine its approach with a focus on user experience, prioritizing mobile-friendly sites and penalizing those that fail to meet user expectations in terms of usability and content relevance.
SEO has evolved from a set of rudimentary techniques to a complex and refined discipline. This evolution reflects not only technological advances but also a commitment to constantly improving the search experience for users, while offering visibility opportunities for content creators.

The evolution of SEO after 2015: Towards advanced optimization

Machine learning and SEO

The introduction of machine learning into Google's algorithms marked a crucial milestone. With RankBrain in 2015, Google began to interpret search intent in a more nuanced way, which had a considerable impact on SEO. Websites now had to focus on quality content that responded in a relevant way to user queries to improve their positioning made by this robot.

Mobile-first indexing

With the rise in mobile internet traffic, Google rolled out mobile-first indexing on its search engine in 2016. This update forced webmasters to optimize their sites for mobile devices, focusing on loading speed, responsive design and mobile user experience.

Voice search and SEO

The growing popularity of voice assistants has given rise to voice search, forcing SEO strategists to optimize content for orally formulated queries. This often meant a greater emphasis on natural questions and direct answers in page content.

Video content and its role in SEO

Video content has become an important element of SEO, with platforms such as YouTube becoming the second largest search engine. Well-optimized videos and keyword-rich descriptions have become essential for engaging users and improving online visibility.

The integration of social networks

Social signals, although not officially recognized as a ranking factor by Google, have begun to play an indirect role in SEO. Sharing content via social networks can increase visibility and generate traffic, contributing to a site's authority and relevance.

Security and SEO

In 2018, Google announced that HTTPS, a security protocol, would be used as a ranking signal. This underscored the importance of website security for site owners and users alike.

The shift to optimizing for search intent

Search algorithms have become increasingly sophisticated in their ability to discern the intent behind a search. This has encouraged SEO specialists to focus on aligning their content with the actual search intent of their target audiences and web users.

Local SEO on the rise

With the introduction of features such as Google My Business and local search results, local SEO has become the order of the day for businesses seeking to attract local customers.

Featured snippets and zero positioning

Featured snippets, or zero positioning, have become a major SEO objective and an essential technique, offering maximum visibility by displaying answers to user queries directly at the top of the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Meta tags and structured data

The use of structured data and relevant meta tags has established itself as a necessary technique to help search engines understand and index content more effectively, thus directly influencing SEO.
SEO continues to evolve, adapting to changing technologies and user habits. The ability to anticipate and integrate these changes into a dynamic, well-informed content strategy remains the key to successful SEO.

Benefits of SEO in the digital age

Increased visibility on Google

SEO is fundamental to improving the visibility of web pages on Google. By optimizing content for search engines and algorithms, sites have a better chance of appearing at the top of results pages, increasing the likelihood of being clicked on by users.

Enhanced credibility and authority

Good SEO helps establish a site's authority on the web. Google favors pages that demonstrate expertise and reliability, essential factors for standing out in a crowded marketplace.

Attracting quality traffic

By targeting relevant keywords and responding to search intent, SEO attracts qualified visitors likely to convert into customers or subscribers, maximizing ROI for website owners.

Optimizing user experience

Google places great importance on user experience. A well-organized, fast and easy-to-navigate website will not only be preferred by users, but also by search engines, which improves SEO.

Competitive edge

Companies that invest in SEO can set themselves apart from their competitors. Appearing before them on Google for similar keywords can capture a larger market share.

Better understanding of customer behavior

SEO tools provide valuable data on search trends and user behavior, enabling companies to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Improved conversion rate

SEO can increase conversion rates by attracting more relevant visitors and effectively guiding them through the conversion tunnel with well-optimized content.

Lower advertising costs

Once a website is ranking well thanks to SEO, there's less need to spend on paid advertising. Unlike PPC, organic traffic costs nothing per click.

Adapting to market changes

SEO is a dynamic field that adapts to technological change and new web practices. A proactive SEO strategy can help companies stay relevant and evolve with the market.

Long-term impact

Unlike short-term advertising campaigns, the benefits of SEO develop over time, offering lasting results and ongoing value for web SEO.
In short, a well-thought-out and well-executed SEO strategy is essential for any company wishing to maximize its online presence and gain a sustainable competitive advantage on Google and other search engines.
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