Origins of the SEO market

Pre-Google, in the time of using Excite and/or Yahoo to search the web, I would conduct a search and go through the first 30 or 40 results to see if there was anything that seemed like it would answer my question. As I was new to search at the time, there were low expectations and I was willing to go beyond the top 10 to find what I was looking for.

When Google came along they provided unquestionably the most relevant results, and I began to find the answer to my queries much faster than with other search engines. As Google got better at determining relevancy and built their brand as THE place to go when looking for something online, I began to expect more from the engine. Instead of searching through the first few pages of results, if Google didn’t return what I was looking for on page 1, I would refine my query instead of looking through results 11-20.

By being the most relevant and well branded search engine, Google was enhancing the value of SEO. By providing the most relevant results and eliminating the need to search beyond page 1, or use competing engines, they created a market for getting listed on the first page, because if you weren’t on page 1 in Google you didn’t exist in my eyes. By consistently delivering the most relevant search results, they eliminated the need to go to page 2. Because they were so well branded and were the authority regarding finding information online, if I didn’t get what I was looking for within the top 10 results for my query, then I thought it was a problem with the way I was searching, and not with the results Google was returning. I was placing the burden of proof on myself to come up with the appropriate query, instead of on Google to understand my intent. The more I learned about search and Google’s goal of indexing the world’s information, the more I learned that ultimately the burden of proof was on them.

Do you think Google knew what the impact of their engine would be and if they had any idea of the value that they were creating within their SERPS that created the SEO market? To what level did they predict the impact and success of their engine branding campaign would have on people?

What do you think?

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