How it all began
Since the first website was launch in 1991, the number of pages in the Net grew up rapidly. It became clear very soon, that this huge amount of information needed to be structured. The next stage of Web development were the search engines.
There are very few people who can remember the most popular search engines in the nineties like Infoseek or Altavista. The history of SEO began with these dinosaurs of Internet industry. Every search engine had its own ranking based on keywords, tags and links. In order to deliver information to the wide range of consumers, developers sought the ways to optimize their websites for the search engines. And that was the beginning of the SEO.
Danny Sullivan was a newspaper reporter in the early nineties. He noticed very soon the great opportunity of the young Internet industry and started developing websites. Once he was asked by a client, how to boost the ranking of the page for the search engine. He couldn't answer, since there was no information about search engine optimization. Danny started to study bits and pieces of the existing knowledge. He found out the basic rules: how to optimize the content, how to choose the best tags etc.
The first engines back at that time were far less sophisticated than Google or Bing. Basically you could push your page up by frequently using the relevant keywords. If your website was about donuts, you could simply put something like “our donuts are the best donuts of all the donuts in the whole donut world” on your home page and then advertise it in several forums to get high ranking by Altavista.
The later search engines giants like Yahoo! and Google developed more sophisticated algorithms using many different ranking levels in order to stop the misuse of the keywords. The SEO specialists, like Eric Ward, were now more interested in building the links that could perfectly match to the content.
How SEO was born
Multi-Media Marketing Group (MMG), founded by John Audette in 1995, started with the creation of websites and Power Point presentation for the clients. Audette understood very soon that the website with no visitors is something like a private art collection. MMG added the registration of web pages to its services. Yahoo! provided Audette with a code that allowed his company to get its websites immediately into the search results.
In 1997, Audette asked Danny Sullivan to teach his staff all the approaches regarding the search engines. In the course of their collaboration the actual term Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was born.
The number of SEO specialist grew rapidly in the late 90s. In 1999 Sullivan organized the first search engines conference which had more than 200 participants. Among the speakers was Bruce Clay. He remembers that he knew many of the other speakers and participants merely from the forums. Bruce was the first SEO specialist who started his own SEO consulting business. In the beginning there were only 8 employees. Now the Bruce Clay inc. is an international company with the offices in four different countries.
How to become a SEO hero
There are people with different background and education level among the SEO specialist. Greg Boser didn't intend to become a SEO hero. He was a sales representative of a firm in Boulder selling protective foam tools.
As Greg created his website to sell the products of the company, he noticed that page had no visitors. This was his turning point. He read Sullivan's paper “Webmaster's Guide to Search Engines” and subscribed to his web page. After Boser learned a big deal about traffic increasing, he became passionate with the SEO. He experimented a lot with the ranking of the search engines and he shared the gained information with his colleagues.
Wizard of MoZ
MoZ is one of the most important SEO consulting companies. It is known by TAGFEE, the powerful SEO tool, developed by Rand Fishkin and his colleagues.
A short list of some SEO heroes:
Rand Fishkin was in the 90s, like many other SEO specialists, a web developer who built websites for several firms. In 2002 the search marketing became his main research interest. After two years of learning Fishkin started posting tools and reports on his own page.
Eventually he and his mother founded SEOMoz. Firstly Fishkin tried just to analyze different ranking factors. In 2007 he developed PRO, a useful set of SEO tools. After launching Mozscape in 2008, he completed in 2009 the first release of TAGFEE, one of the most popular SEO tools among the search marketers. Since 2014 SEOMoz was shortened to just MoZ and Rand Fishkin calls himself now proudly the Wizard of MoZ.