1997 – 1999 were the early years of search engine era. Internet Marketing and more specifically search engine marketing primarily understood of submitting your sites to the search engines. These "voices from the past" are still heard today when this or that search engine optimization company and / or automatic submitting software will claim to do search engine promotion for you by submitting your site to hundreds and thousands of engines and directories. The search engines' indexing programs, called "robots" or "spiders", looked through all of the HTML code of a page and used some page ranking algorithms that they kept in secret.
Those days were spammers' Heaven: it was rather easy to get your site ranked high. You could just use your keywords lots of times on the page, in the META tags, HTML comments etc. and hide it from the human visitors by making the text tiny or completely invisible with the help of HTML tricks. The search engines did not have any sophisticated technique to recognize this kind of spam, and such sites usually got high rankings very easily. Today, you still can find some samples of this primitive optimization (even though you will have to give it a hard try, because nowdays most of such web projects have been banned by the search engines for excessive keyword usage).
The only exception was Yahoo which has always been indexed by humans who could in most cases identify and ban spamming pages.
Gradually, search engines started recognizing spam and applying corresponding penalties to Web pages using spam methods. However, search engine optimizers were always one step behind the search engines in finding new ways of cheating the indexing algorithms. Here each search engine is committed to delivering only relevant results to its visitors, the engines needed to take control away from the spammers and auto-submitters. Many began to try different ways of indexing.
The Rise of Google
If someone is asked today about the first search engine to remember, the answer will be Google in 100% cases. Google has started its way to be the King of search engines in 2000 and in 2002 its right for this title has been firmly established, with around 70% of searches done on the Internet. While other search engines were focusing on transforming to universal portals, Google kept a simple and – which has become its distinct feature – fast interface that strictly targeted delivering relevant search results.
Google also developed advanced features such as indexing and searching PDF (portable document format) and SWF (shockwave flash) files. Additionally, Google's sophisticated techniques to use the "off-the-page" factors made it extremely spam-resistant. Google's dominance has become steady in 2000 with Yahoo having switched from Inktomi to Google as secondary search result provider. Now, Yahoo uses the combination of Overture's and own search software and index repository, thus being completely independent on Google, however, without any slightest impact on the dominance of the latter.
By 2001, the results of all major engines …