Search engine optimization for small and very small businesses.

A Brief History of SEO

In the early days of search engine optimization (SEO), things were simple. Meta tags ruled the scene and changing your meta tags could mean top rankings. Some webmasters still seem to think that in order to get good rankings, you merely need to stick enough keywords into your meta tags. Sadly for them, that hasn’t worked since the mid-1990s.

Later, as search engines made their ranking algorithms more sophisticated, SEO became a game of content optimization, where it was necessary to worry about header tags, bold tags, keyword stuffing, hidden text, sticking keywords in to “noframe” sections of the code, and many more such techniques. Some of those tactics were legitimate and some were considered search engine spam. The search engines got wise and punished web sites employing spammy techniques and rewarded sites using only legitimate (or “ethical”) ones.

After awhile, it became a rush for the highest link popularity or Google PageRank. And again, the search engines adjusted their ranking algorithms to reduce the value of thousands of low quality links from link farms and unrelated web sites.

Now, SEO has become a complex discipline and those who practice it have had to diversify their tactics and skill sets. To be successful now, an SEO consultant needs to have skills in many more areas than in the past: creativity with technology, marketing skills, writing skills, and more. As the search engine’s become increasingly sophisticated, over-reliance on any single tactic hinders a web site from achieving the rankings that are earned by a well rounded approach to SEO. With the introduction of latent semantic indexing, it’s not as critical as it used to be to meet artificial keyword density levels, and related terms are assuming increased importance in the copy on a web page.

Now, diversity of skills and moderation in the use of individual techniques seem to hold the best potential for achieving top rankings.

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