All you had to do was load up the page with the keywords you wanted to rank high for, make sure your meta tags were stuffed with those same keywords, submit the page and within a few days or weeks you've captured a top 20 or even top 10 result.
The major search engines were pretty easy to figure out. Some focused on the first 90 characters on a page, others gave more weight to the title tag in your HTML, another paid more attention to the overall content and finally some used a combination of factors to determine a page's rank.
If you were an SEO expert, you knew what each search engine looked for and it was pretty easy to optimize your site for a top 10 rank.
Back then, you didn't get penalized much for keyword stuffing, hidden text, and some of the other tactics that can get you into trouble in today's world.
The bottom line is search engine optimization for the average webmaster was almost like a cakewalk years ago.
That was then. This is now.
Times have certainly changed! Those same methods described above will not only hurt your rank, they can even get your banned from the engine permanently.
There are no shortcuts to search engine success anymore. You have to work it. All those lazy webmasters who steal other people's content or use the tricks mentioned above are now discovering that the search engines mean business.
Confidential Google Report Disclosed
In early 2006, a Google employee broke a non-disclosure agreement and revealed a report that shouldn't have gotten out to the public. Actually the information wasn't surprising by any means.
In a nutshell, all we learned was that Google is cracking down on spam and sites that offer little content - a.k.a. "thin affiliates".
A thin affiliate is one that offers very little information and the main purpose of their site is to send visitors to the affiliated merchant's site in order to collect a commission.
Often times these sites have more external links than they do actual content. They also may contain several doorway pages (more on those later) that do nothing but link to the merchant's website.
The report even revealed examples of live sites that Google considers "suspect." Trust is NOT a place you'd want to see your site appear. You can bet these sites won't be getting much traffic from Google anytime soon.
This report seemed to indicate that Google has hired humans to evaluate the accuracy of Google's search results. Can you blame them?
Google has always said their main focus is to provide relevant results. The main reason the engine has been so successful is because it gives searchers what they want.
If you've noticed, you don't see lots of ads, banners and other distracting revenue-sucking techniques on their pages. They want their customer, Joe Surfer, to find what he is looking for.
They don't want their index to be turned into a hodge-podge of doorway pages made by those thin affiliates. They want unique quality content that offers valuable information to their customer - the web surfer.
Search engine spiders are not humans. They are programs. They can only do so much when it comes to weeding out the good and bad sites. It only makes sense to me that Google would help protect its reputation by hiring real people to ensure their results are as clean as possible.
Without going into detail over the report (I wouldn't want Google to penalize me!), I've just outlined a few of the topics that were touched upon. You probably won't be shocked by what you read.
In fact, none of this may be new to you. But if you are performing any of these techniques, stop now!