The History of SEO: A Quick Look at Where Search Engine Optimization Started

Most people have daily access to a search engine. It’s hard to imagine what our lives were like before we could “google” something. But, search engines are still pretty new, considering they have only been around for twenty years. 

Have you ever wondered where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) started? Back in the ’90s the first website crawlers were developed, their primary function was to collect data and rank pages accordingly. Since then, spiders have advanced to monitor technical aspects such as page speed, accessibility, and more. It wasn’t until the late 90’s that Google started implementing search rankings. 

Wondering when search engine optimization started? Check out this brief history of #SEO. Click To Tweet

Social Media and Google Search 

In the early 2000s, social media was on the rise. Google took note of this and began using social signals as part of their ranking factors. They launched Google Caffeine to provide more frequent and accurate web page results for users. As social media increased in popularity, Google used Twitter and Facebook to influence search results. 

Quality Content

Shortly after, in 2011, Google launched Panda to analyze the quality of content and ensure low-quality content isn’t ranking first. They also released Penguin to monitor link quality. Poor quality content and links is also referred to as black hat SEO. 

Pro Tip: Google makes it clear to users that they must follow their guidelines or else they could be penalized or even banned. 

SEO Today

Today, millions of people have SEO in their job titles. Search engine marketing is an essential tool for building brand awareness and attracting new leads. Google analytics are at the core of many digital marketing strategies to track where clients are coming from and how they landed on a specific webpage. The Google algorithm has advanced with technology to include a number of ranking factors including outbound and inbound links, content quality, page speed, and how mobile-friendly a site is. Google is continuously updating its algorithm to show users the most relevant results for their search queries. 


The worldwide web is how most people get their information today. SEO is a complex process that involves keyword research, professional content writing, titles, meta descriptions, and much more. If you want to outrank your competitors, it’s critical to invest in an SEO strategy that will reap positive results. Interested in learning more about search engine optimization? Connect with our team of SEO professionals to get the latest scoop. 

Amanda King

Amanda King is a Content & SEO Manager at ITVibes in The Woodlands, TX. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in mass communication and electronic media. She’s always had a passion for writing, but her education at Texas State helped turn that passion into a career. She enjoys photography, fashion and spending cozy evenings with her Teacup Chihuahua.