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Virtually every good thing comes to an end. Strategies that were once standard in search engine optimization (SEO) ultimately came to an end when individuals with less scruples than a box of corn flakes manipulated the system to their advantage.
Some of the earliest optimization methods were a simple alphabetical list much like a phone directory, but by 1996 web site programmers tried their luck at placing specific keywords in parts of the programming and they began to learn they're manipulations had some influence in site rankings.
A variety of algorithms were utilized in 1997 that allowed programmers to crack the SEO code at Excite. These programmers were able to produce # 1 results for their clients at will.
What began as client-based assistance ultimately led to nefarious systems that sought a corner on site rankings to the exclusion of any competitor.
It wasn't long before most search engines began using Yahoo as a means of checking site rankings. Most programmers learned that by 1997 their clients needed to be included in Yahoo - and they needed to perform well in that arena if they wanted similar results elsewhere.
By late 1997 Infoseek offered anyone the opportunity to optimize a website and made the role of programmers less prominent. Angry programmers strike back by essentially creating a mirror site of top ranked sites and diminishing the effectiveness of the rankings.
In the next two years search engines develop complex, multi-level algorithms that were difficult to decode and made little sense. However, these systems would serve as a foundation for filtering spam and punishing offenders with banned sites.
By the late 1990's algorithm decoding essentially ceased. It was getting too hard to try to fool the new systems that were developing and many of the original ideas for SEO assistance were now considered Black Hat SEO.
As the Y2K doom reports fade into memory a fresh realization hits programmers. The roller coaster ride that had been SEO now fell to one search engine for acceptance. If you could not make it with this search engine you would find little acceptance elsewhere.
Today Google is the gold standard for SEO. This search engine provides details on acceptable ways to promote your site through optimization.
Now that a comprehensive standard has developed programmers are back in the fray seeking to serve customers by attempting to gain respectable rankings.
Interestingly there are some SEO firms that must remember the old days of SEO because they continue to insist on using methods that could ultimately cause a site to be banned from search engines.
Learn what you can about SEO strategies. With this knowledge you can begin to personally implement strategies that help your site rankings in the long run.
Above all keep up to date on SEO strategies because this is an area that has a long history of being refined.