What Is SEO and How It’s Changed Over the Years

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SEO, You’ve probably heard of it. But what is it really? Why does it matter so much in digital marketing? Let’s take a closer look at our latest post by our SEO Guru, Lisa!

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search engine optimization, which is the practice of optimizing your website to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), thereby driving more organic (non-paid) traffic.

Let us go over what it entails:


Keywords are the foundation of SEO. They’re the words and phrases that people search for online and what can be found by search engines such as Google or Bing. By understanding and targeting relevant keywords, you can ensure that your website appears in the organic search results when users are looking for information related to your business. So, learning and doing keyword research properly is essential, especially using tools such as Ahrefs or Semrush.

On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO refers to optimizations made directly on your website. This includes elements like title tags, meta descriptions, header tags, and content quality. You want to make your site more search engine-friendly and relevant to your target audience by optimizing these items correctly as you add more content/products.

Off-Page SEO

Off-Page SEO involves techniques or the work that occurs outside your website. It’s mainly about building a strong backlink profile, which helps search engines see your website as trustworthy and authoritative. Social media marketing, guest blogging, and influencer outreach are all examples of off-page SEO strategies that we use at Internet Marketing Geeks!

Technical SEO

Technical SEO deals with the technical aspects of your website that impact its visibility in search engines. This includes factors like site speed, mobile-friendliness, and crawlability. Ensuring your site is technically sound is critical for SEO success as Google has been penalizing those who have either slow site speed or constant technical issues.

Importance of SEO in Digital Marketing

In the vast digital marketplace, SEO is what helps you stand out. It’s about being visible to potential customers. Without SEO, your website could be lost in the depths of the internet, unseen by the people who matter most to your business.

But here’s the thing: SEO isn’t static. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing field. And that’s what makes it so exciting. So strap in, keep learning, and get ready to navigate the exciting world of SEO.

The Evolution of SEO

SEO has seen a dramatic evolution over the years, with search engines continually refining their algorithms to deliver more relevant and user-friendly results. Let’s look at the journey.

SEO in the Early Days

Keyword Stuffing and Meta Keywords

In the infancy of SEO, the focus was heavily on keywords. Tactics like keyword stuffing and overuse of meta keywords were common. The goal was to “stuff” keywords through the page and even with invisible fonts trying to appear higher on the search engine results page. But these tactics often led to poor user experience and irrelevant web pages.

Importance of Backlinks

Backlinks also gained prominence early on. The logic was simple: more backlinks signaled higher website authority to search engines. However, this led to the rise of link farms and other manipulative tactics.

Google’s Game-Changing Algorithms

Google, more than other search engines, has shaped the SEO landscape with its algorithm updates. Launched in 2011, Google Panda targeted low-quality content. It was a wake-up call for businesses to focus on creating valuable content for users, not just search engines. Long gone were the days when you just put out a website and assumed you would get visitors/rank!

A year later, Google Penguin rolled out to tackle spammy backlink practices. Quality over quantity became the mantra for link-building. Then, in 2013, Google Hummingbird marked a shift toward understanding user intent. Rather than matching exact keywords, search engines started interpreting queries to deliver more accurate results. They do this regularly to ensure we put out high-quality content to actually HELP the user find what they are looking for or answer the question they are asking.

Modern SEO

Importance of Quality Content

Quality content is paramount in this day and age- especially with the last few Google Core Algorithm updates such as the one just done in March of 2023. It’s about providing valuable, relevant information that meets user intent. This means answering the who/what/when/where/why about the product or service. Google Search Console and other tools can help you understand what content resonates with your audience.

Mobile Optimization

As mobile usage has skyrocketed, search engines have adapted. Mobile optimization is now a must, with Google implementing mobile-first indexing and keep in mind that a large chunk of customers now will be using their mobile to access your website so it’s always good to keep an eye on the UX!

User Experience (UX) and Core Web Vitals

User experience has always been important, but with Google’s recent Core Web Vitals update, it’s now a direct ranking factor. Site speed, interactivity, and visual stability are all crucial for a good user experience. This makes perfect sense as you have little time to grab the users attention and keep it!

SEO has come a long way. From a focus on keywords and backlinks to a user-centered approach, the evolution of SEO reflects how search engines work to continually improve the way search engines discover, understand, and organize web pages. It’s a fascinating journey, and one that’s sure to continue as technology and user behavior evolve.

AI’s Role in SEO

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already making its mark on SEO. Google’s RankBrain uses machine learning to understand and interpret search queries, while BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) focuses on interpreting the nuances of language and user intent. As AI continues to evolve, we can expect more personalized and accurate search results.

Voice Search Optimization

As voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa become more prevalent, optimizing for voice search is key. This includes targeting long-tail keywords and writing in a more conversational tone.


The world of SEO is constantly evolving, driven by advances in technology and changing user behavior. From the early days of keyword stuffing to the rise of AI and voice search, SEO has come a long way.

As we look to the future, one thing is clear: the key to SEO success lies in staying adaptable, focusing on the user, and keeping up with the latest trends. So, whether you’re just starting out or you’re an experienced pro, never stop learning about SEO. Feel free to contact us to learn how we can help you today!

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