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The History of the Search Engines and Why it Matters to You

the history of the search engines
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The internet has changed the world as we knew it. Largely in part because of how search engines have made it easier to sort thru all of the information. If you ever wondered how it all started, you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll be discussing the history of the search engines and why it matters to you.

This article is a part of the series “The History of the Internet”.  I think this series can be extremely inspirational to you.  The internet has completely changed the last few decades of humankind, but didn’t start that way. 

As the internet is growing in influence, people want to know where the phenomenon came from, and this series answers that question.  You can read the entire series by going HERE.  Please read to the bottom and get all the AMAZING FREE STUFF at the end!

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the history of the search enginesAccess to information has always been important, but in past times, it hasn’t been nearly as easy as it is today.  Most Baby Boomers would be able to tell you about the advancements in the way we access information because so many changes happened between the 1960s until today.

Just in the last 40 years, accessing information has gone from finding a mode of transportation to travel in search of information, and now to accessing your household computer or smartphone then clicking a few buttons.

The ease of accessing information can cause us to take for granted the immense efforts put into creating the easy access unless you study something like When Was Internet Invented or the History of the Search Engines (like you’re doing now).

In this article, we’ll be going on a journey to understand the history of the search engines, why they were created, how they were created, and their contributions to the world today.

How It All Started…

If you study back to primitive times, the original search engines would be people who passed information thru storytelling and writing on things like papyrus and clay.  Then, the documented information would have been stored: some in caves and some by specific tribes or people groups.  Archaeologists have found scrolls dating back to 5000 B.C that disclose mathematical data, timekeeping, and important information for inhabitants of those times.

If an idea was to be passed from one person or another, there would have to be relationship or some referral that opened the opportunity for outsiders to access the information. When people wanted to know information, they’d have to send for the person or people who may be able to provide the information.

An interesting example of this was in Israel when King Solomon wanted to build a temple.  He sent to many other countries for skilled laborers because the skills were distributed according to where the information was.  In Lebanon, people were good at working with the enormous trees.  In other locations, people were good at dying materials.  There were many skills needed to complete that massive project, and because of the distribution of skills, people who were wealthy had many more learning opportunities.

Now, even if you’re not rich, you can still access enough information to accomplish many goals if you have the work ethic to accomplish them.  Nowadays, we have so many rags to riches stories as a result of the opportunity presented thru the internet and the search engines.

Facts About the Search Engines

the history of the search engines1. The internet did not come with a means to search information

2. Originally, internet users had to scroll from site to site to find the information they were looking for until someone came up with the idea to create an index of internet websites

3. The #1 result in the search engine is not always the best result, but becomes the #1 result based on site authority, keyword usage, previous customer/reader satisfaction (bounce rates), and many other factors

4. The practice of optimizing a website to be ranked in search engines is called SEO

5. Search engine companies like Google, Bing, and Yahoo have created algorithms to measure which data is relevant to satisfy the search engine users’ keyword query

6. Search engine companies make their money by selling advertisements: banner ads on websites, in sidebars, and by allowing business  owners to bid on keywords

7. In search results the top listings that say “Sponsored ads” are those listings that companies have paid for

8. Paid advertising is a very good option for driving relevant traffic to products or services

9. Google holds a 74.54% market share for overall search engine usage, and 90% market share for mobile usage

10. Even with less search users, Bing, Yahoo, and others can still be valuable sources of traffic

11. Submitting sitemaps and information into the search consoles of the various search engines can help get your content indexed by the search engines faster and easier

Search Engine Evolution

  • the history of the search enginesThe first search engine, Archie, was invented in 1990 by Alan Emtage
  • After Archie, several search engines popped up in the 90’s including World Wide Web Virtual Library, Veronica, Jughead, Worldwide Web Wanderer, Primitive Web Search, Infoseek, EINGalaxy, Aliweb, Yahoo, Webcrawler, Lycos, Looksmart, Altavista, Backrub (which became Google), Inktomi, AskJeeves, MSNSearch, Overture, and AlltheWeb.
  • Google was turned down from investors several times, but in the early 2000’s, they were finally able to get someone to invest in the company
  • Search engine companies struggled to determine how to fund their businesses in the 90’s
  • Many companies were manually indexing websites–employing people to observe and update the database when something new popped up
  • The original goal was to make it easier to find information for internet users because searching from site to site for information had become very time-consuming as more and more web pages were being created.
  • Now that Google has mastered web retrieval and indexing of new data, they are now making updates to improve user experience–penalizing people who are buying links, using pop-ups, or overly focused on monetization rather than presenting real value to users.

How Google Rose to Claim a 75% Market Share

Google wasn’t the first “kid on the block”. It was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and they didn’t leverage their family, many people didn’t believe in them, and they were rejected by many investors, so how did they become 75% of the search engine market share?

They faced many of the odds most entrepreneurs have to face.  They didn’t know how they would fund their business.  The market advantage they had was their algorithm which included backlinks to serve relevant search results, but many people didn’t think their algorithm would work.

Said by them:

They were obnoxious

Passionate about links

The scope and how their interests would impact so many people was unknown to them

They continued to use their passions to solve problems for other people

Google advanced one idea and experiment onto another

They found how they each could use their skills and interests to accent one another

You can see their full interview here:

A Playlist on The History of Search Engines

I created this playlist to give further explanations and visuals for my visual and kinesthetic readers.  Hopefully this helps answer additional questions I may not have answered in the text form.  There are short clips and documentaries intermingled, but these were immensely helpful for me to understand the background and appreciate the technology we have access to today.  Hopefully, you find these clips useful:

How is Search Engine History Relevant to You?

They say, “history repeats itself”, so it’s important to understand things about history so you can take advantage of the positives and position yourself for success in the future.  Here are some key takeaways from studying the history of the search engines:

1. Small Beginnings can be Scaled Very Big Fairly Quickly!

The internet and the search engines started as small solutions, but grew by advancement after advancement.  The internet was invented in the 60’s and the search engines were invented in the 90’s, but both have grown to impact trillions of people annually and generate gigantic sums of revenue annually.  Your idea can turn huge if you focus on solving problems for others.

2. “No” does not mean “Never”

Google and Yahoo both struggled to figure out how to fund their businesses in the beginning.  Even after they had gotten their first investments, they still needed to figure out how to give the investors a ROI until they thought of “out of the box” funding solutions.

Pay-per-click advertising was a new funding model that Google used to fund their business.  They received alot of criticism about the idea of having people pay for keyword placement, but they tried it anyway, and it was a HUGE and MASSIVE success that changed their trajectory going forward!

If you are experiencing rejection, keep going.  Not everyone will “get it”.  Even the idea that can change the trajectory of your future may get alot of criticism, but let the market tell you whether it’s a good idea, tweak, and retry until it works.

the history of the search engines3. Do Your Best Everyday and Something Small Can Grow Big

Wake up everyday and focus on maximizing your potential each and every day.  Don’t think about 10 years down the line or 20 years down the line too much.  Scale your milestones down into babysteps and focus on doing your best today.

4. Diligence is a Competitive Advantage

When you look at the Search Engine evolution, you can see many people wanted to dominate in the space, but many of the names are now figments of the past.  The same with every industry.  You may see large businesses or very skilled businesses in your industry, but many of them lack diligence.  Let diligence and long-term commitment be your competitive advantage and you can outpace people who have more funding, larger social circles, and what appears to be significant opportunities to leverage.

5. Don’t Stop at a Financial Milestone or a Career Milestone–Commit to Growing for Life

Nowadays, many people are aspiring for an apex: retirement, financial independence, saving a certain dollar amount, then they will relax at the plateau.  Sergey Brin was asked, “Why do you keep working now that you’ve achieved this level of financial success”.  His response was he enjoys the process of growing.

When you closely examine the world’s most successful people, you’ll find “retirement” or “financial independence” is not a part of their vocabularies.  Once you achieve a certain level of success, you can travel and experience the world, but you’ll find it’s not satisfying to live without creativity and growth.

Commit to a career you will enjoy that can be paired with high market demand and use your career path to challenge your potential and help as many people as you can.  A fulfilling life is one where you’re growing, challenging yourself, and helping others.

Final Words on the History of the Search Engines

The goal of this article was to show the history of the search engines. Hopefully, this article answered the questions you had about search engine history, and left you inspired to go and achieve massive success with your business or idea.  If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you are ready to begin (or advance) leveraging the internet to get your idea or business to solve problems for more people, I’d love to help you out!  You can CREATE A FREE ACCOUNT HERE.  No credit card required, ever.

You’ll get two FREE websites, 10 FREE training lessons on how to set the websites up and get started in your online business, access to millions of entrepreneurs who are leveraging the internet (some are seeing major successes!), and I’ll be available to answer any questions you may have.  CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT HERE, and I’ll meet you there.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

What ideas did you get as you read this article about the history of the search engines?  Did I leave anything out?  Do you have questions, concerns, or feedback?  Leave your comments below.

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