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SEO Trends Evolution in the Past Decade

The past decade has seen immense strides, twists, and turns in the SEO field. SEO has evolved a lot through this period and any webmaster needs to learn what’s happened in these years because if you don’t know the past trends of SEO, you don’t know what’s wrong and what’s right.

It all started about 25 years ago when Tim Berners-Lee created the first website (you can still see it). Then came the age when people employed unethical practices to bump their websites up in search engine rankings. However, starting 2006 things changed.

So let’s dive into it. Here’s the evolution of SEO trends in the past decade, 2006 to 2016:

A brief timeline of the beginning

  • Google acquires DoubleClick in 2007. With this, Google stepped into digital advertising with a powerful weapon.
  • Aardvark social search engine launches in 2008.
  • Google’s Universal Search aims to connect multiple sources and feeds to give more complete results.
  • Google Suggest, launched in 2008, was the feature that enabled Google to predict and give search suggestions as strings of words.
  • MSN re-branded as Bing.

Panda hits (2011)Panda is the single biggest change in SEO ever seen. Panda launched affecting 12% of search results. Further, 9 versions of Panda from February 2011 through December made the mammoths of the internet bend their knees if they were ranking high with crappy content.

  • Google’s Panda update aimed to de-rank websites with low-quality content.
  • Poor quality websites climbed up in search engine result pages (SERPs) using certain black hat or unethical practices for a long time and finally, algorithms were made to curb such bad practices.
  • Now the focus shifted from “only keywords matter” to “if the site isn’t human-readable, keywords don’t matter at all.” This was one of the biggest shifts in SEO trends in the past decade.
  • Marketers had to look for real, native English-speaking writers who authored original, non-plagiarized content because now, duplication meant death.
  • Panda made internet marketers lose tons of money and traffic, largely in the USA and Europe – within the first couple months of launch.
  • SEO experts shifted from spammy content and keyword stuffing to hiring writers for good content.

Knowledge Graph and Penguin (2012-2013)
Google launches Knowledge Graph – the feature to directly know answers, facts, and people without opening links from the SERP's.

With the Graph, websites were encouraged to make their content clearer if they wanted to be clicked-through. If you cloak shady content using tricky headlines or snippets, then you had lesser chances of succeeding in your malpractice. Give the searchers something they feel compelled to click on.

Penguin 1.0 launched in 2012 affecting near to 1% of all search rankings. A year later, Penguin 2.0 launched. In essence, socializing and writing meaningful content abiding Google’s Webmaster Guidelines was given priority through the two Penguin updates to the Google search algorithm.

New web: Hummingbird and Mobile geddon (2013-2015)
As the year 2013 closed to an end, SEO had evolved much farther than what black hat internet marketers could imagine. The evolution of SEO trends in the past decade had its center point here. A couple more updates to Google from 2013 to 2015 that you need to know about:

  • Hummingbird made sure relevance was a big thumbs up for content. Page load times were also taken into consideration. SEO trends changed and writers had to emphasize precision over quantity.
  • Mobile Geddon initiated Google’s drive for mobile-friendliness. Now it was a big thing. If your website is responsive for mobile screens, you have an upper hand in SERP's. Check it using Google's developer tool.

Now and future Internet is becoming more personalized yet respecting privacy. Content is king. Highly targeted and engaging content is the highest-ranking content.

Infographics will play a crucial role in the years to come. And rest all is a conundrum: Google tweaks its algorithm 400-500 times per year and it’s never easy to guess which tweak will turn your world upside down if you’re on the wrong side of internet marketing. Also, see our Internet Marketing Strategies for 2016 article, you’ll love it.

So, stay white hat and write engagingly.

Authored by Lily Ben- an SEO expert who believes in modern SEO practices like organic link building, leveraging the power of analytics, and healthy social bookmarking. Using her great techniques, he’s delivered high, long-term ranks to websites that were fresh or budding. 

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