Chapter 10. Understanding the SEO Industry


  • Learning who to know

  • Learning who to avoid

  • Finding out who is shaping the industry

  • Seeing SEO with a large lens

Like many niches within the technology sector, SEO developed from humble roots. This chapter describes these roots and discusses the current-day status of the SEO industry. It is a brief overview of a very complex industry but provides all of the basic information you should know while discussing the industry with fellow SEOs.


To understand the current state of the SEO industry, it is important to know how it developed.

In the Beginning

SEO has always been about influencing the search results of search engines. Before the creation of modern search engines, there were a variety of search engines that helped organize the information on the Web.

Some of the earliest search engines made their debut in the early 1990s. These included the first versions of Yahoo! (which at the time was more like a directory than what people now think of as a search engine), ALIWEB, and Infoseek. Like Yellow Page influencers, early SEOs took advantage of alphabetical order to get to the top of rankings. This included listed pages with names like "AAA," "1ForU," and similar titles. In addition to this rudimentary tactic, early SEOs took advantage of chronological order by submitting websites at certain times (midnight), thus attaining the first result for the given query.

As the years progressed, new search engines debuted ...

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