Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. This cliché applies to search engine optimization for plumbers as much as anything else. To understand how to execute SEO properly, you must understand its origin and its evolution.
Brief SEO History Timeline
1994: Yahoo launches
1996: Backrub launches (becomes Google in 1998)
1998: Paid search emerges along with goto.com
2005: Google Local Places/Maps launches
2011: Panda update
2012: Penguin update
2013: Hummingbird update
2014: Google Places becomes Google My Business
2015: Mobilegeddon + RankBrain
2016: Possum update
2018: Medic update
2019: BERT launches
2021: Page Experience update
While each update helped Google become the search engine powerhouse today, you can break the history of SEO down into two primary periods.
B.P., if you will, was a period before 2012 where SEO was the wild west in digital form. The best way to rank #1 during this period was to manipulate the search algorithm by sending as many inbound links as possible to your website. Anything from blog comments from offshore websites to barely readable computer-generated articles on irrelevant and spammy domains provided strong links for plumbers. The quality nor the relevance of the links mattered at all. The only things that mattered were as follows:
- Link Quantity: The number of inbound links pointing to your domain
- Anchor Text: The linked term or phrase on the external site
On April 24, 2012, everything in the SEO world changed. Google’s Penguin update dropped the hammer on spam links and severely penalized websites engaged in malicious link building. It was a big wake-up call for SEO’s, who’d become conditioned to violate guidelines in exchange for high rankings. And what worked in the past no longer did. After Penguin, blatant link schemes not only didn’t work, but they also hurt websites severely. As we once knew it, SEO had become nefarious, and everyone would have to learn to adapt. Here’s what Penguin changed:
- Link Quality: Grade the quality of the inbound links rather than just quality
- Link Relevance: Decipher the relevance of links as they related to their destination domain
Google’s Continued Evolution
Google makes regular algorithm changes to improve user experience for its consumers. While several SEO experts disagree with the frequency and intent behind many of the latest updates, an SEO’s job is to keep its clients in the best positions. At Plumbing Webmasters, we adapt to search engines requirements to keep our clients generating leads into 2022. Attempting to perform SEO as a one-time task ignores the essential principle of the discipline, which is adaptation.