This Week in SEO History

You know those fun birthday booklets you get that recall all the cool things about the year you were born? If not, may I suggest that you immediately demand one from a friend next time it’s your birthday? It makes you feel really “retro.”

Because our little search community has a history of its own, I thought it would be fun to dive into this week in SEO history to see all the crazy things that preoccupied our minds over the years.

I took the dates of this week and traveled back into the BCI blog time capsule to see what I could see. While the news drudged up for this post may have been cutting edge at the time, it gets more of a hey-remember-when-there-wasn’t-call-waiting vibe as the posts get older. But also, you realize we’re still talking about some of the same stuff … years later (spoiler alert: Facebook privacy).

Hang onto your hats, people, let’s travel back in tiiiiiiiiiime.

This Week in SEO History 2011

There’s No Such Thing as “Gray Hat” SEO

The age-old debate of White Hat/Black Hat goes on, no matter what year it is. But in this post by BCI analyst Bob Meinke, he discusses a gray area of SEO – you know those people who aren’t Black Hat, but they aren’t necessarily White Hat either? Bob suggests we ask two questions when looking at any SEO strategy:

  1. Does it follow search engines’ published rules and guidelines?
  2. Is it intended to deceive search engines and/or users?

Does it follow search engines’ published rules and guidelines?



Is it intended to deceive search engines and/or users?


White Hat

“Undereducated” White Hat


Gray Hat

Black Hat


Bruce Clay Europe Publishes Search Marketing Book

This week in 2011 also congratulated Bruce Clay Europe for publishing its first book on search marketing for the European business community. The book, co-authored by Bruce Clay Europe’s managing director, Ale Agostini, is 200 pages of search marketing methodology.

This Week in SEO History 2010

Google Instant Previews: Murder in the SERP

Remember when Google introduced Instant Previews? This post by former BCI analyst Sean James discusses the impact Google’s Instant Previews may have on the results.

“There is a strong possibility that query results will begin to be served in large part from the outcome of the selections made from Google Instant Previews,” predicts Sean. Adding, “Google Instant Previews doesn’t need Meta information to determine the content that is relevant to the queried word or words.”

Coffee Search Results in Google Instant Preview 2011

In this post, Sean also gives tips on how to make a site Instant Previews-ready for better conversions.

Calculating the ROI of SEO

How does one calculate the value of ROI in SEO circa 2011? Des Odell, executive director of Bruce Clay Australasia, gives his tips including:

  • Getting a baseline of current traffic.
  • Estimating potential additional traffic from Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools, ranking monitors and search volume data (you can see the formula inside the post).
  • Identifying the value of the new traffic by applying a conversion rate to the additional traffic generated multiplied by the value of a converted click. Then ID the time period the SEO project will continue providing additional traffic (usually between 12 and 24 months). Value of the additional traffic – cost of SEO = ROI.

This Week in SEO History 2009

Sticks & Stones May Break Your Bones But Ignoring the Online Convo May Crush You

In 2009, talking about the human connection as it relates to our online conversations was a topic of interest – and the same can be said today. In this post by Virginia Nussey, she talks about “Tweckling” – the action of heckling people on Twitter; specifically, heckling conference speakers while they are on stage using Twitter as a weapon. We’ve come a long way, baby … (speaking of retro, remember that Virginia Slims motto? Anyone?)

Quick Hits for Black Friday Marketing Pushes

It’s an annual tradition and patriotic duty: Many a crazy person stay up all night camped out in front of stores across America just to get consumer goods that aren’t marked up 1,000 percent. I’m talking, of course, about Black Friday. This post by Virginia Nussey features some tips for brands to prep for this yearly debacle, including:

  • Sending out holiday-themes emails with deals.
  • Creating Black Friday-themed PPC ads.
  • Connecting the brand to charitable causes while people are in the spirit of giving.
  • Target Cyber Monday shoppers, too.
  • Make shipping dates and deals super clear.

This Week in SEO History 2008

Friday-Monday Recap

The Friday Recap … die-hard BCI blog readers may remember the days when we linked out to every site and their mother to bring you interesting and funny stories from around the Web. Dare I say, we were curating before curation was cool?

We’ve since had to nofollow all those pesky links to those sites, but we can follow the nostalgia this Recap brings, including:

  • BCI databases going down so Friday Recap had to be a Monday Recap.
  • Google releasing its SearchWiki, allowing you to customize your search results. (Before Google’s “bookmarks” — isn’t that cute?)
  • Yahoo released “Glue,” its answer to Google’s Universal search results and a more visually appealing SERP. (Again, amazing news.)
  • SEO veteran Vanessa Fox launching the “Office Hours” podcast on WebmaterRadio.FM (and still going strong today).
  • And – wait for it – an “anticipated release” of the BlackBerry Storm!

All of these gems and so much more in this blast from the past. Here’s a fun video from it:

Why Blogger Outreach Can Fail

In this post, Virginia Nussey takes us back to the days where speaking with your brand’s community and marketing for them not at them was just a twinkle in many company’s eyes.

Virginia discusses Pepsi’s decision (well, Pepsi’s agency’s decision) to draw upon the feedback of influential bloggers and social media elites regarding its new logo. But therein lies the problem, says Virginia. This post discusses why Pepsi should have drawn upon its own community for feedback, not some random community of influentials.

We sure have grown up a lot since then in the world of social media marketing. Sniff.

This Week in SEO History 2007

You Can’t Automate Search Engine Optimization

Ah, the days of the fiery debate. Lisa Barone was blogging for BCI and in this post, she discusses why she thinks Commerce360’s (now ClickEquations) automated optimizer is a horrible idea. Here’s a snippet from the message back then about this offering from Commerce360:

Announcement of Commerce360 About Automated SEO Tools
Image Courtesy of Search Engine Journal

It sure sounds like a Panda disaster waiting to happen …

How to Encourage Clients to Engage in Social Media

In this post, Lisa Barone discusses how to get skeptical businesses to participate in the world of social media. Her tips include:

  • Being able to let go of control and let those negative conversations flow; if they exist, you have more control to address them.
  • Looking for ways to help businesses find their community online even if they don’t think there is a place.
  • Showing that social media is not a “silly” venture. (My favorite one.)

Your Private Facebook Info Isn’t So Private

I included this one for the pure hilarity that we were talking about Facebook Privacy issues back in 2007, and we are still talking about it today. Oh Facebook, you never change.

This Week in SEO History 2006

Search Headlines – All Around the World

Here’s another gem. Search headlines around the world in the year 2006 included:

  • Google topping $500 per share.
  • People voting for their favorite new Search Engine Land logo. Here’s a couple of the logos in the running:
Search Engine Land Logo Options 2006
Image courtesy of Search Engine Land


Will SEW Survive without Danny, Chris and Barry?

This was the debate happening on the blog back in November 2006. Lisa Barone pondered what a Search Engine Watch would be without Danny Sullivan, Chris Sherman and Barry Schwartz:

“Sure, there are other writers at Search Engine Watch, but Danny, Barry and Chris deliver the bulk of content. A quick look at the SEW blog this morning shows 14 blog posts with only 5 of them not written by either Danny, Barry or Chris. Not to say that SEW’s other cast of players like Jennifer Slegg, Greg Sterling, Elisabeth Osmeloski aren’t capable of picking up the slack, but will their authority resonate the way Danny’s did? Can they help the SEW brand maintain the same kind of presence that it had under Danny?”

Of course, the happy ending is that it did survive. And it’s thriving with great contributors and lots o’ content.

This Week in SEO History 2005

Google Freezes Google Analytics

The roll out of Google Analytics was a slightly rocky one, apparently. So much so that new sign ups for Google Analytics was frozen for a period of time due to the high demand. Loren Baker (then with Search Engine Journal as its founder, today with BlueGlass) was quoted as saying at the time:

“… being a free service with in-depth analytics tracking capabilities, in time publishers will probably forget about the initial Analytics problems.”

PageRank Update

The content of this post simply states:


What does this even mean?! Will an OG SEO please enlighten me?

Well I hope you enjoyed taking this trip down memory lane. Have a happy holiday, everyone! See you next Monday.

Jessica Lee is the founder and chief creative for bizbuzzcontent Inc., a marketing boutique that focuses on digital content strategy and professional writing services for businesses.

See Jessica's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (1)
Filed under: SEO
Still on the hunt for actionable tips and insights? Each of these recent SEO posts is better than the last!
Bruce Clay on May 8, 2024
The Always Up-to-Date SEO Checklist
Bruce Clay on April 4, 2024
What Makes an SEO Program Successful?
Bruce Clay on April 3, 2024
How Can I Improve My Website Rankings Through SEO?

One Reply to “This Week in SEO History”

Ah, the good old days. ;) Fun post!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Serving North America based in the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Bruce Clay, Inc. | PO Box 1338 | Moorpark CA, 93020
Voice: 1-805-517-1900 | Toll Free: 1-866-517-1900 | Fax: 1-805-517-1919