Who Invented SEO and How It All Started

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of website traffic obtained through organic search engine results. It is a process of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic to a website or web page from search engines. SEO focuses on unpaid traffic, also known as natural or organic results, rather than direct or paid traffic.

The history of SEO dates back to 1997 when search engines started to become more sophisticated and allowed webmasters to perform actions that would affect the ranking of their site through relevance, keywords, and backlinks. According to some anecdotes, Bob Heyman and Leland Harden invented the term SEO around 1995-1997. However, experts are still unsure how much of this story is fact or fiction.

The concept of SEO was first conceptualized in 1945 by Vannevar Bush, director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development in the United States. He proposed a directory or database for world data. It wasn't until 1990 that Alan Emtage invented the first search engine, Archie.

Tim Berners-Lee shared his invention of the first browser, the World Wide Web, more often known as the “Web”. This was a major milestone in the development of SEO as it allowed webmasters to create websites that could be indexed by search engines.

Today, SEO revolves a lot around Google, co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Rand Fishkin, founder and former CEO of Moz, defines SEO as “the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic obtained through organic search engine results”.