Start Your Free Marketing Analysis Now Click Here →

The Origins of SEO

The Origins of SEO

The Origins of SEO


You are already familiar with Los Angeles SEO and why it is the key to drive traffic and customers to your website, but how much do you know about its history and development? The truth is, SEO is older than you think it is. In fact, it’s a whole three decades old! So what’s the story behind the magic tool that helps us bring more business? You can count on Drive Traffic Media, your trusty digital marketing agency in Los Angeles, to be your teacher today!


First, we must briefly dive into the history of search engines. If you are old enough to remember the very early days of the Internet, then you may remember Archie, the world’s first search engine created to locate content available in public FTP (file transfer protocol) archives. Archie debuted in 1990 but started as a student project at the McGill University School of Computer Science in Canada in 1987. Despite having no affiliation with Archie Comics, its name inspired other search engines to be named after characters from the comic, notably Jughead and Veronica. These early search engines also had nowhere near as much of a searchability level as modern ones do, as they were created solely to index content. While still online today, Archie stopped updating in the 1990s and now serves as a historical archive for Internet history. 

Launched in 1995, the first search engine to use OPIC (on page important criteria) was the now-defunct Alta Vista. This was a game-changer for the search engine industry because this technology allowed the ability to analyze keywords on indexed web pages. As more advanced search engines began to pop up, such as WebCrawler and Ask Jeeves, the term search engine optimization was coined around 1997. 1997 was also an important year for the Internet because it was the year Google first launched. Google stood above all its predecessors because it was the first engine to use links as ranking signals. 

During the 1990s (commonly referred to as the “wild west” area by SEO specialists), in order to show up on these earlier-era search engines, webmasters would annoyingly plaster the same words all over their website so that it would be more likely to show up on the first page without focusing on the quality and visual appeal of the reader. Another alternative was using invisible text that the reader could not see, but the search engines would still pick up so that their site could have an advantage in organic SEO ranks. These types of websites are commonly referred to as “content farms.” The technique is what we know today as black hat SEO. But of course, as a top-notch digital marketing agency in Los Angeles, we only do white hat SEO because the only way to do things is the right way! 

Fun fact: Google was originally called Backrub! It doesn’t ring well, does it?

Nowadays, keyword stuffing doesn’t work as well. Google got fed up with content farms clogging their search results, so in response, they have implemented a variety of updates to improve their algorithm so that the highest-quality web pages can be delivered to your front-page search. Here are a few of the most important updates Google has launched over the years to improve your web search experience:

  • Google Panda Update (2011): The first major update to weed out low-quality websites and black-hat SEO tactics. It has affected as many as 12% of English-language search results. The update was named after the Google engineer Navneet Panda.
  • Google Penguin Update (2012): This update aimed to penalize the gray-hat SEO technique (a combination of white and black hat techniques). It affected about 3% of searches made in multiple languages, including English, German, Chinese, and Arabic.
  • Google Hummingbird Update (2013): This update puts emphasis on natural and ordinary languages that exist on a webpage.

Although Google was not the first search engine or the first to implement the usage of search engine optimization techniques, it is apparent why they eventually climbed to the top and why our clients prioritize their business, making the top rankings.

Final Words

At Drive Traffic Media, we offer solutions to any problems and confusion you may have about the wild world of search engine optimization. Go ahead and give us a call today (949) 800-6990 or email us at for a free quote for social media and Los Angeles SEO online marketing that is ethical and truly works.