A Decade in Search – 2000

Dec. 08, 2009 | by Ben Adam

a-decade-in-search

This is the first post in the ‘decade in search’ series. We’ll probbaly  see a whole host of predictions being made for 2010, but before making ours we thought we’d the take time to  review the major events that have shaped the search industry over the last 10 years.

Back in the year 2000 I was coming to the end of my end of college and planning my gap year, although I had used search engines during my A Levels I had absolutely no idea of the search engine optimisation industry out there. I wouldn’t have much of a clue about Search Engine Optimisation for another 6 years.

What happened in search in 2000 and how did it help shape the industry?

  • Matt Cutts joined Google in January as a Software Engineer, since then (some might say despite being head of the webspam team) he’s become a popular figure in the SEO community, acting as a spokesperson for Google offering insights into Google and related SEO issues.
  • New Search Engine Teoma was launched. Teoma used a link popularity algorithm which was more focused on the benefit from contextual links than Google’s PageRank, now referred to as ExpertRank, Teoma still powers Ask.com today.
  • Back in 2000 high quality directories where actually used for searching for websites, Google joined AltaVista, AOL, HotBot, Lycos, and others in integrating Open Directory Project data into search results and using the data for its own directory. Unlike other directories that sorted alphabetically the Google Directory integrated its search technology for ranking of the sites, firstly applying “Importance Ranking” the PageRank algorithm before looking at the sites content using “advanced technology that powers its regular web search to search”.
  • In June Google became Yahoo’s default search engine provider taking over from Inktomi, – seems things haven’t changed too much for Yahoo. The deal gave Google’s Search Engine massive exposure through Yahoo, which at the time was described in a Google Press Release as the most popular navigational guide to the Web. Yahoo would later revert back to Inktomi, buying the company as Google became a major threat to Yahoo’s business.
  • That same day in June Google announced it had the world’s biggest index, the new index comprised of more than 1 billion URLs (the current index size is said to be about 1 trillion). This gave the crawler based engine a massive advantage over other human categorised engines as its technology kept results relevant and the crawler-based results far more comprehensive.
  • Google Launches the Google Toolbar complete with visible PageRank, allowing people to “Automatically determine web page importance for every page browsed, with Google’s award-winning PageRank(TM) technology” and webmasters to obsess about PageRank for years to come. It could be argued that by displaying PageRank data Google may have inadvertently help launch paid links that still blight its search results to this day.
  • 2000 was the year that Google became a successful search engine and it hasn’t looked back. Both popular with the average joe and webmasters alike for its clean, banner ad free look, relevant results and huge index, many of the reasons it’s still a success today.
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    Comment (1)

    • Stan

      Great series.  Predictions for the future are great, but the historical perspective is probably more valuable.Jan 11, 2010 03:36 pm

     
    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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