A Look Back on Google Algorithms and their Impact on SEO

Do you remember how Google search was back in the late 90s?

If you don't, it isn't really that surprising. Google has come a long way since then, especially in terms of its search algorithms.

In the beginning, getting your website to rank highly in a Google search comprised of a simple two steps:

  1. Saturate your pages with as many keywords and trigger phrases as possible
  2. Accumulate inbound links - The more, the better.

As you probably already know, the Google search algorithm has evolved quite a long way from its primitive beginning.  Keywords and links are no longer the full name of the game - value, on the other hand is.  "Hacking the system" (i.e. keyword saturated content that has little to no actual value to readers) has been effectively avoided as Google's algorithm has improved.

Google has endeavored over the years to find new, more effective ways to deliver high-value, high-quality search engine results. Starting in 2003 with "Boston", Google users started seeing these algorithm changes labeled with names. In recent memory, you may recollect mention of "Panda", "Penguin", and most recently, with "Hummingbird".  Google has recently endeavored to have their searches pull up high-quality content that effectively serves as an answer to a question.


What are the subtleties of the Google algorithm shifts over the years?  Hubspot and Moz recently teamed up to offer a pretty neat infographic on the subject that we thought you might enjoy:

All in all, Google's algorithms have traversed a winding path with the constant effort to make their searches yield content that web users will actually find useful. 

Where do small businesses fare in this grand scheme?

Ultimately, it is important to release consistent, frequent content that is both informative and high quality.  This thinking alone is a great driving force which will help enable your effectiveness on social media websites, and boost your SEO on all search engines, including Google.

How is your company fairing with SEO? Want to have better search engine ranking in Hummingbird, but unsure where to start? Don't hesitate to send us an email or give us a call!


Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).