Every wonder exactly where search engine optimization started, where exactly did the idea of optimizing specific elements of a site and following search engine algo’s come from? Well hopefully Minnesota SEO Company can answer all of these and more with our History of SEO.

The First Search Engines

While search engines are still somewhat primitive they initially were nothing more than non discriminate file name matchers. Soon they began to use meta data and then full page copy to rank pages. Along the way “spammers” pushed the envelope trying to shove irrelevant crap into search index to redirect traffic to their revenue generating sites.

Higher rankings went from the right filename to keyword stuffed meta tags to overly optimized page copy in the matter of a few years. Now competitive SEO is far beyond page copy analysis.

Doorway Pages Appear

Initially the search spiders were not effective enough and so many people created pages just to get them to link to others. These pages were called doorway pages. They allowed the creator to gain traffic without messing up the site architecture that is already in place.

The First SEO Company

Iprospects was the first major SEO firm. Back in the early 90’s Eric Ward was the first linking strategist. At one of the Search Engine Strategies conferences he said he still remembered asking Dave Filo (of Yahoo!) to create a website promotion category. In 1997 Overture was created (as GoTo) soon to unleashed the idea of pay per click search engine by auctioning off listing results.

Pages for Specific Search Engines

There were about a dozen major search engines which were important before Inktomi became a powerhouse and was supplanted by Google. Each had its own challenges, algorithms, rules and whatnot. People began to create different pages for the different search engines and escalated “spam” techniques at a rate faster than the web was growing. It became important to know the skills required for each engine.


Google was released in 1998 and within 5 years of it’s release was controlling about 75% of the search market. If you were to be an SEO you needed to understand how Google graded pages.

The primary driving force in competitive SEO on the Google search engine is link popularity. If you can get other people to link to your site with your keywords in the link then you can make a strong showing in the search results.

In late 2003 Google began to integrate many semantic or other higher level algorithmic features into its search products. It is also believed they also have began re ranking results based on local inter connectivity (which is how Teoma works.) These changes made it much harder to manipulate Google search results.


Yahoo! was merely a portal and directory until it began to gobble up search companies in late 2002 early 2003. They agreed to acquire Inktomi at the end of 2002, and later bought Overture in 2003. Overture purchased AllTheWeb and AltaVista prior to it’s acquisition by Yahoo!. In early 2004 Yahoo! dumped Google search results in favor of it’s own in house search technology.

Yahoo! pieced together the best parts of these engines and laid it’s own email spam filter technology over the top. Yahoo! then announced their content acquisition program which meant that paid inclusion wound now have incremental cost per click fees.

To make more money from their paid inclusion program Yahoo! intentionally made their algorithm heavily focus on “on the page” criteria. Yahoo! also uses tons of editors to actively edit out aggressive affiliate marketing and other “spam” websites from their search index.


MSN Search beta began to power a large % of their search volume on January 20, 2005. They also announced that February 1st would be the official switch.

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