I held a meetup last Thursday on the HMS President. We had two speakers:
Martin McDonald from seoforums.org
Matt Owen from Econsultancy
Martin McDonald kicked off the event with:
A brief history of search
Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up Backrub.com – yes that was the name before they changed it to Google. They were both students at Stanford University at the time. There were two search boxes. There was the option users to search Stanford University and also the web. In order to be seen within the search engine, you had to have keywords in the code of your site telling the engine what your site was about. This is now referred to as “Keyword Stuffing” and it did help many sites rank for 7 or 8 years.
What is PageRank?
PageRank is what Google uses to determine the importance of a web page. It’s one of many factors used to determine which pages appear in search results. It was designed by Page and Sergey. The more links a site had to it, the higher the PageRank it could achieve. Therefore people started buying and selling links, trying to boost their own PageRank. This is not what Google intended and this is where social signals comes in.