Quick history: the evolution of SEO

Written on 13 August, 2018 by Julia Hammond
Categories Search Engine Optimisation

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) has grown to be one of the leading marketing techniques in the digital age. With Google adding to and editing their algorithm daily, SEO techniques and writing styles can change in the blink of an eye – that’s just the nature of the industry we’re in. We’ve become accustomed to changing our playbook, and now we’re pros at going with the flow.

What worked five years ago won’t have the same impact today. Strategy has come a long way from keyword stuffing, and has evolved to the point where quality, honest content is king (or queen!). It’s an exciting time to see where SEO is heading but, while we look forward to the future, it’s useful to take a look at the past to see how far we’ve come.

It all started with keyword stuffing…

We’re all guilty of having done this in the past, but to be fair we didn’t know any better back then. Going back about five years ago, it was the thing to do. Yes, I’m talking about keyword stuffing. Back then, Google’s algorithm wasn’t as fine-tuned as it is now, and this was widely regarded as the ONLY technique.

Searches were, quite literally, matched with websites that answered the query word for word.

The result: the chosen keyword appearing as many times as possible.

When you visit our restaurant which is the best restaurant in Melbourne you’ll soon realise why we’re the best restaurant in Melbourne. At our best restaurant in Melbourne you’ll find the biggest range of imported beers and local wines, and the freshest menu. Book now and enjoy your dinner at the best restaurant in Melbourne.

Pretty hard to read, isn’t it?

Google soon took note of these practices, updated their algorithm accordingly and handed out penalties for those still using these techniques.

Then we shifted to a focus on quality content…

Once Google’s algorithm became more sophisticated, there was a new catchphrase on everyone’s lips: “Quality Content is King”. To put a stop to spamming, strict guidelines were set and there were announcements made that the way to earn rankings was through relevant content.

Strategies became more long term; quality content began ranking and new techniques were implemented. The rise of blogging and user resource content began and, to this day, quality and creative content is one of the best SEO tactics that a brand can employ.

Have you noticed that basically any website, whether it an eCommerce site, painting business or even a dental practice, has a blog? If these blogs provide your audience with relevant and informative information, then they are acting as a magnet to incoming traffic and search ranking.


With each article on your blog, you’re building up trust and a sense of authority not only to your visitors but to Google itself. You’re branding yourself as an expert in your field – a brand that wants to inform its audience, not just sell to it.

Now, we’re using everything we’ve learned in the past…

These days, SEO strategies are about the long-term results, combining everything that we know thus far.

Remember keywords?

We’re still using them, but we’ve left the stuffing out. Today, keywords all come with a good serving of research – otherwise known as keyword optimisation.

At Webcentral, our technical team conduct research about your business, your industry and analyse what will work best for you – no matter how niche your market is – and they then select the best keywords to target.

Sound simple? Trust us, it’s not. Keywords are the core of SEO and choosing the right or wrong one can have lasting effects.

So, what’s involved in a good SEO strategy in 2018?

Well-researched keywords, a large volume of quality content, a social media presence, genuine backlinks and a long-term goal.

And we expect more changes to come in the future!

The most exciting aspect in terms of SEO changes, is the rise of voice search. With in-home assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Bixby are becoming part of the household, the question is whether they are able to understand simple SEO.

This could mean new strategies are in order for those in eCommerce, as younger shoppers sway towards searching for products through their digital assistants.

We’ll just have to adapt, adding another strategy to our playbook (which is already bursting at the seams). The most important things to remember for SEO success are to be informative and useful, be relevant and don’t be afraid to be creative.

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