Search Engine Book - Chapter One
 by Ian Cook

Chapter One -
Search Engine Strategies - A Brief History

Everyone knows a Search Engine is the vehicle people use to find things on the Internet. But many are oblivious to the hyper-competitive behind-the-scene strategies used to secure the highly coveted top-ranking positions.

Back in 1996, when the first version of this book was originally written over 200 updates ago, the leading search engines included the all-but-forgotten likes of WebCrawler, AltaVista, Infoseek, Excite, Open Text, Lycos, Inktomi, and the directory site, Yahoo.

Those engines all responded to search queries with results based solely on matching keywords on web pages to keywords (aka, search words) being used in the search queries. Search engine strategy was very simple back in those days. The top search results consisted of whichever pages contained the most keywords that matched the search query. Due to this fact, online marketers began "stuffing" extraordinary numbers of targeted keywords into web pages for the sole purpose of manipulating the search rankings. They went so far as to design entire web pages specifically to rank well for each of their targeted keywords. In many cases this meant flooding the search engine indexes with hundreds, or even thousands, of superfluous web pages in order to dominate the rankings. And that is how the arms race to 'Winning The Search Engine Wars' began.

In those early days, whoever knew how to "stuff" the right mix of keywords into a web page literally gained an unfair advantage! And, frankly, it was pretty easy to quickly score a whole bunch of top ranking pages on most any search engine under any topic. You see, back then the search engine formulas, or algorithms, for responding to a search query were pretty basic. And the data compiler programs — aka, robots, bots, spiders, and crawlers — that "crawled" the web simply indexed whatever they saw wherever they found it. Neither the bots ...

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