There was once a point in history when we couldn’t bask in the boundless knowledge and super-human ability to immediately uncover the answer to burning questions. A time when the Internet was chaotic, lacking index and without search engines. With their creation, our ability to find, source and collect information has changed drastically.

Take a brief look back at a timeline in search engine history:

1991 – Tim Berners-Lee launches the Internet’s first website, which is currently still live today.

1994 – Jerry Yang and David Filo launch the primary search engine, naming it Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web before settling on the name: Yahoo! shortly after.

1995 – Google begins as a research project by Stanford PhD students: Larry Page and Sergey Brin.


1998 – Page and Brin officially launch Google on September 4th, 1998, in a friend’s garage.

2000 – After previously agreeing to never allow advertisements on Google, Page and Brin decide to sell ads associated with search keywords, based on a combination of price bids and click-through. Google Adwords is born with a mere 350 customers.

2002 – Google application programming interface (API) is released, changing the way Google ranks searches. Online business owners are fed up with Google.

2003 – The heydays of keyword stuffing, tagging abuse and backlinking is put to a halt as Google releases the Florida algorithm, cracking down on spam.

  • Google AdSense launches.
  • After combining the capabilities of various search engines it acquired, Yahoo! Search releases Yahoo! Slurp, its own web crawler based search engine.

2005Google analytics: a program that tracks and reports website traffic, launches as a lottery-type invitation-code.


2006 – Yahoo! begins using smart ads: Digital ads that change in appearance based on interests and location.

2008 – Google releases Suggest Autocomplete: A program designed to offer search result suggestions based on a few words typed into the search engine.

2009 – Microsoft and Yahoo! announce that Bing will now power Yahoo!’s searches.

2010 – Google Instant launched: Instant uses previously searched queries and predicts the most likely result, streaming it in real-time.

2011 – Google launches:

  • Voice on desktop search.
  • Reverse image search: The ability to use a picture as your search to find related images.
  • The first Panda algorithm update: Altering the focus from specific keywords to quality, readable content, preventing low quality sites from achieving high rankings and punishing those who plagiarize content.

2013 – Google Hummingbird updates: An algorithm change designed to improve natural-sounding language ranking on the web.

2014 – Penguin 3.0 & Penguin 4.0: Content marketers acquire inbound link power.

2015 – Mobilepocalyse: Google releases a significant mobile-friendly algorithm ranking system to favour mobile-friendly websites.


Present – Content is still King: Today, quality content is more important to marketing online than in previous years, but that doesn’t mean SEO has died. Website optimization requires the proper keywords in addition to well-written, researched and engaging content.

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