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At the risk of sounding nostalgic and seeing that it is increasingly difficult not to repeat SEO topics on the blog, I am going to write about the history and evolution of SEO , until we get to SEO as we know it today.

SEO of the past

SEO has changed a lot in recent years, that’s nothing new. That of requesting in a totally manual way, the inclusion of a website in the index of the search engine itself through a link that was in it, is now behind . 

Also left behind what worked before, as the onpage sobreoptimización through keyword stuffing and campaigns linkbuilding through backlinks with accurate anchortext, came from wherever … also worked the exact copy of contents and translate them automatically into other languages (this if done right it still seems to work).

 Everything was worth, yes gentlemen, and there was no mobile first index , or anything like that At that time, mobiles were only used to call and send SMS.

SEO as such, we could say that it was born back in 1993-1995, almost with the appearance of the first websites and search engines, although in its current sense, it began to be used in 1997, not yet established as a profession . 

An interesting fact: in 1990, Tim Berners-Lee and his team created “a registry” to record the websites and servers that were popping up. 

The first Spanish node on this list was the machine installed at the Jaume I University of Castellón, which created the first website in Spain.

 A few years passed and in 1995, as a top search engine practically all of us used Yahoo! which started as a directory and Altavista (Google did not exist yet, it was born in 1998). 

It didn’t take long for companies to detect perfectly that a search engine was the place where users spent a lot of time a day and it was a tool that was going to be used more and more , so having visibility in them was almost necessary for any offline business . 

Yes, I say offline because online businesses appeared later. It was no longer valid to include the web page in the business card to attract traffic.

When link building was synonymous with SEO

Starting in 2001, link building became a business and proliferated so much that buying and selling and exchanging links became fashionable . 

SEO was almost synonymous with link building at that time and this perception lasted a few years, until 2012 links were practically the most important thing to position, but over time, elements appeared that gave movement to SEO, such as indexing of the pages in Flash, the nofollow links, the canonical tag and the next and prev tags for the paginations. International SEO was not done yet and hreflang tags did not exist.

Important changes in Google and SEO

From 2010 to 2012 there were many websites that lived off SEO and had to park their businesses . 

Google put the batteries and with its eagerness to show relevant and quality results to the user in the SERPs, it began to improve its algorithm by bringing updates like Caffeine and hitting the table. 

The rules of the game were beginning to change and either you adapted, or you were out of their equation.

Caffeine was followed by Panda and Penguin in 2011 and 2012 respectively. If Caffeine did damage to the sector, it is said that Panda left between 12% and 15% of websites touched . 

While Panda was looking for quality content, pursuing duplicity and poor content, Penguin focused on spam and low-quality link building. 

There were many updates of both and in two years many websites fell along the way, which did not follow the guidelines set by Google. 

In addition, before, to get out of any of these penalties, you had to wait for the next Google update, which made it more difficult to float.

On December 16, 2014, Google News closed in Spain, just before La Lotería de Navidad .

At that time I was working at RTVE and for me it was a huge challenge to mark a historic milestone in that event. 

I still remember when I went in at dawn to prepare everything together with Nacho Delgado and yes, in the face of all adversities, that year we managed to break a historical record

There came a time when link building was no longer worth at any price and Google began to reward quality links, which came from sites of the same subject and with authority.

 It was no longer worth using the command “link: web” and “linkdomain: web” to monitor the offpage part of a web and Google learned that what was good for the user, would also be good for its search engine and therefore, it would prevail the quality of the content and the user experience ( UX ), although we should not forget about link building, especially in sites just out of the oven, with little authority or sites that do not work on their own brand, which by the way is each time a bigger mistake.

At one point, I don’t know exactly when, Local SEO also appeared, although like everything else, it has evolved and is now much more sophisticated .

 Before, it was worth mentioning the keyword in the name of the business, the exact location and little else.

Google’s algorithm update called Pigeon , in summer 2014, gave a considerable turn to Local SEO, once again changing the rules of the game and making signals such as positive reviews and opinions of one company prevail, instead of focusing on more traditional.

And social networks came into action more than ever, yes! It is always said that social signals do not affect the positioning of a website, but at least from personal experience, I have to say that the more viral “something” is, at least in a media outlet, it is easier to put a news item in News.

 I do not want to position myself on whether they affect or not, but even indirectly, the more visibility a website has, the more likely it is that certain signals will be generated and also that they will link you naturally. And this is still an SEO factor, so I leave it there.

The SEO of the present and the future

2016 and 2017 we can say that they have been the years of the mobile . The mobile-first has become essential with the arrival of AMP , voice searches , etc.

Loading times today are measured more than ever and we all seek to appear in a zero position snippet . 

A website is code and if content is king, strategy and technical SEO will always be king, let’s not forget it!

And with this summary of the evolution of SEO (quite brief, by the way), we can draw the conclusion that we have learned that the Internet is a place where things do not stop happening, where what used to work, we know it can stop, that we are in an ecosystem in constant movement, and therefore, we must never stop learning.

 Companies are realizing the value of digital marketing and increasingly see it as a leg of their business and not as a simple help, they no longer buy links or bulk content and they know that.

And what has been the best thing about SEO evolving so much? Well, what has given me to link a lot of posts with exact anchor text, because as you know, in the internal crosslinking it is worth.

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