Search Engines have gone from being a quick way to find information on the internet to playing a vital role in promoting businesses. It is quite difficult to imagine a time when search engines didn’t play such a major role in our lives. In fact until the 1990s only computer nerds and scientists really benefited from using the internet. Twenty years later search engines are taken for granted and can be accessed on mobile phones. To understand how quickly the internet has evolved we must first look at its origins.
Search Engines For Scientists
In the 1960’s computer scientists explored the concept of being able to communicate over a network using bytes of data rather than through a phone call. This was known as Kleinrock’s packet switching theory. Messages could now be sent across computer networks enabling scientists and educational researchers to communicate online. The internet was initially made up of universities who joined the network. There were no home computers at this time so only a chosen few had access to it.
User Friendly Interface
It wasn’t until 1991 that a user-friendly way to access the internet was devised, this also coincided with the government no longer funding the internet allowing everyone to join and add their own websites. The first web pages were very plain with links to other pages; these were called hyperlinks. As more people installed personal computers in their homes, the popularity of the internet grew and Microsoft dominated the face of the internet with its programme, Internet Explorer.
So Many Search Engines
In the 90’s all search engines seemed to have an equal footing on the internet and Altavista, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, Info Speak and Hotbot were names we were familiar with. All of them used different methods of seeking information and listing sites but little did we know that a project initially called Backrub was going to take the World Wide Web by storm.
An Algorithm Called Backrub
In 1995 two students, Larry Page and Sergey Brinn, explored how search engines worked as part of a research project for their PHD at Stanford university. Their findings not only changed the way in which web content is devised, it also made them extremely rich. Page developed an algorithm he called, ‘Backrub’, that searched the web for back-links to pages and ranked them according to the number of back-links that it could find.
From Research Project To Worldwide Domination
This of course introduced the concept of page ranking and the need to use SEO to provide back-links to websites. Their research product turned into a business venture and now their search engine, Google, dominates the World Wide Web and plays a crucial role in promoting businesses. Google Analytics allows us to see how well a site is performing, while Adwords and Adsense make it possible to improve rankings by placing listings on the first page of a search result.
In less than twenty years Google has become the most important search engine we use today. Therefore it is fundamentally important that websites can be found by planning an effective SEO strategy.