In 1994, WebCrawler was launched, and the world of search got real. It was the first time that users could search for specific words using crawlers and tap the information resources on the world wide web.

Google entered the internet search scene in 1998, processing about 10,000 queries per day. By 2012 that number had increased to 100 billion and Google has been the 800 pound gorilla of search engines for years.

With over 60 trillion individual web pages in its index today, Google is constantly revising its search algorithm in an effort to provide the most relevant search results to users. Search engine optimization experts follow Google’s activities closely in order to keep up with the changes. If your website has any chance at all of performing well (showing up in the top 10 in Google’s search results), it’s critical that you understand what Google is looking for.

Search engine optimization started becoming a serious business in the mid-90’s when webmasters began specializing in understanding what the search engines were looking for and making sure their websites were providing it. At the same time, for every “white hat” SEO specialist, there was a “black hat” specialist figuring out ways to game the system. All that spamming and link-buying and manipulation worked great for a while. And as each sneaky tactic is filtered out and neutralized by Google’s search algorithm, new black hat practices crop up.

SEO has evolved over the years, along with search behavior and search engine algorithms, but it’s still a critical part of your online success. What’s important is to be sure you’re not still doing SEO like it’s 1999.

Check out this comparison of old school SEO vs. new school SEO from MediaVis10n:

Old School SEO vs. New School SEO

Here is their infographic illustrating the evolution of SEO over the past 20 years:

The Evolution of SEO 1994-2014