Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine's unpaid results—often referred to as "natural", "organic", or "earned" results. In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently a site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive from the search engine's users; these visitors can then be converted into customers. SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search, and industry-specific vertical search engines.

As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience. Optimizing a website may involve editing its content, HTML, and associated coding to both increase its relevance to specific keywords and to remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines. Promoting a site to increase the number of backlinks, or inbound links, is another SEO tactic. By May 2015, mobile search had surpassed desktop search.Google is developing and pushing mobile search as the future in all of its products. In response, many brands are beginning to take a different approach to their internet strategies.

Those that understand the power of good SEO know that if it’s worth doing then it’s worth doing well. But how much do you know about it? Do you know how it works? Who coined the phrase ‘Search Engine Optimization’ and where it all began?

The beginning of SEO is as good a place as any to start, so let’s go through the details of how SEO came to be and why it is now the most powerful tool you can have at your own disposal.

SEO is and always will be about influencing the search engines to display website higher in the results (preferably somewhere on the top half of the 1st page), thus getting you more traffic and more lead / sales / readers / sign-ups. The face of SEO changes almost daily as new algorithms and rules come into play.

In the late 80's and early 90's, is when the internet saw some of the first modern day search engines come online. Yahoo was being one of the big players along with long forgotten names like Infoseek and Aliweb. SEO at this time was based alphabetically, so basically if you had a webpage by the name of 234 or ABCD then you were guaranteed to be displayed on the very first page. Chronological order also came into play, so as you can imagine these rudimentary tactics didn’t last long.

Into the early nineties, we began to see new search engines come on board that used more complicated formulae to calculate the rankings. Search engies like AOL and AltaVista. This is when we started to hear the terms ‘keyword density’ and ‘metatags’. SEO enthusiasts everywhere took to stuffing as many keywords as they could into webpages and sites, effectively tricking the search engines into putting their sites at the top of the results page.

In 1998, the mother of all Search Engines was born – Google. PC Magazine reported in December of that year that Google “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results”. But it wasn’t until the year 2000 that we really started to see why Google’s results were as good as they were. Google were able to filter out the unpopular pages that were appearing on competitors search engines by simply monitoring links. And so a new challenge was born. Link building became big business along with web content optimisation and pagerank sculpting. SEO since then has grown in leaps and bounds and every so often, Google throws another spanner in the works by adding a new rule or algorithm.

So where did the term ‘Search Engine Optimization’ come from? I wish I could answer this question definitively for you, but I’m afraid there’s no one out there who knows for sure. I’m guessing whoever threw that phrase out there the first time is kicking himself now. I’m sure it must have been worth something! All we know is that the phrase was first coined in early 1997 on an SEO forum (obviously not called SEO at the time) by an unknown contributor.

Now in 2011, we see SEO as being an established and well respected business, that if practiced in an ethical manner can see Companies grow from strength to strength.

Large multinational organisations and global conglomerates now employ full time in-house SEO experts to keep their brands and business names in the public view.

Let’s put it in more practical terms – a search for ‘SEO’ in Google today brings up 519,000,000 results I think that tells it’s own story!

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