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How Has SEO Evolved Over The Years?

Google is continuing to evolve as ranking factors, spam techniques, mobile friendly sites, and more are always changing. How has the role of SEO changed over the years?

On-page optimization:

  • Then: SEO’s used to choose 2-5 keywords per website. They would take these and optimize the site through various elements including title, meta descriptions, H tags, content and so on.
  • Now: Websites are now able to rank on Google for keywords that they may not optimize for. Due to machine learning and semantic search, Google has been able to provide better results rather than just pages with keyword filled content.


  • Then: SEO’s only had to optimize their website for desktops because it was the primary device to search the web.
  • Now: Mobile devices have become the leading platform that people make online searches from. While desktops are still highly relevant, a non-mobile friendly website will hurt the user’s experience and it will hurt your rankings on search engines.


  • Then: Local search results have changed so much over the years. It used to be easy to spam this section as well, as Google had 10 and then 7 business listings shown here.
  • Now: Now, with the 3-pack, local search results are much more competitive. It’s all about getting good reviews, and more of the traditional rankings factors such as content and page relevance.


  • Then: In the world before Facebook and Twitter, much of social sharing was through instant messaging and email.
  • Now: Social Media and SEO now go hand-in-hand. Online marketers must use social media promote their content and to do their best with maximizing exposure.


  • Then: Links have always been a major part of SEO. The only problem is that websites used to be able to spam the internet with low-quality links with the hope of boosting their rankings.
  • Now: When getting links to your site, it’s all about getting high-quality links. Getting links from high-quality and authoritative sources will give you more of a boost than a thousand links from a spammy website.

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