Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

SEO: Link Building in Depth
Illustration by Richard Downs

How the search engine killed the web directory


From:

SEO: Link Building in Depth

with Peter Kent

Video: How the search engine killed the web directory

In order to understand why links are so important, it may help to understand the problem that search engines use links to solve. It's hard now for many of us to imagine the world without a World Wide Web, but by the end of 1993 there were only around 600 websites and most of those 600 sites were pretty thin; a handful of pages each. In August of that year, when there were just a couple of hundred websites, a well-known computer book publisher O'Reilly and Associates launched what was probably the first commercial directory of the Internet, GNN, the Global Network Navigator.

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
SEO: Link Building in Depth
2h 27m Intermediate Oct 26, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

There are two sides to search engine optimization (SEO): on-page and off-page optimization. Off-page means getting links from other websites to point back to your site, which strengthens your site's position in search engine results. In this course, author Peter Kent dissects the anatomy of a link, explains how links affect page ranking, and reveals the properties that make an excellent inbound link. The course also evaluates reciprocal linking; link building via press releases, blogs, and articles; and the importance of using quality links that are search-engine friendly.

Topics include:
  • Understanding Google PageRank results
  • Analyzing links
  • Building local and directory links
  • Working with article syndication services
  • Creating link bait
  • Distributing links of social networks
  • Buying links: the pros and cons
Subjects:
SEO Marketing
Author:
Peter Kent

How the search engine killed the web directory

In order to understand why links are so important, it may help to understand the problem that search engines use links to solve. It's hard now for many of us to imagine the world without a World Wide Web, but by the end of 1993 there were only around 600 websites and most of those 600 sites were pretty thin; a handful of pages each. In August of that year, when there were just a couple of hundred websites, a well-known computer book publisher O'Reilly and Associates launched what was probably the first commercial directory of the Internet, GNN, the Global Network Navigator.

Much of the directory was based on the whole Internet catalog. In effect, it was like a paper directory of websites posted on the web. In September, another directory appeared on the scene, W3 Catalog. And in January of 1994, when there were around 600 websites, David and Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web launched. You'll know that directory better by its later name Yahoo! Yahoo! eventually became the world's top search directory and the world's most popular site. These were all web directories.

In other words, they were list of websites with a little information explaining what each list of site contained. That was fine in the early days when the web simply didn't contain much information. But as the web grew, they became unwieldy. If you're trying to find a particular Shakespeare sonnet, a directory will tell you which sites might contain the information, but they don't let you see what's in each site. They simply tell you what each site is about and it's up to you to go to the site to see if it contains what you're looking for.

So the next step was the search engine, a system that created an index of pages within sites. There were various simple search engines early on, but perhaps the first true web search engine, a system that would allow use of the search through the text contained in web pages within index websites, was WebCrawler launched in April 1994. A directory provides minimal information about a site. A search engine, though, lets user search pages within sites, a far more useful service.

During 1995 and over the next few years, all sorts of other search engines appeared on the scene; Magellan, Excite, Infoseek, HotBot, Northern Light, and of course AltaVista which became hugely popular when it launched late in 1995. Finally, in 1998, Google appeared on the scene. By the end of the decade, the writing was on the wall, search engines were the future and over time search engines would more or less kill off the directories. Even Yahoo! had to switch.

In the year 2000, Yahoo! began using Google's index to provide search results to Yahoo! searches, then gradually pushed the directory further down the page until they removed it from their homepage entirely. Yahoo! Directory still exists today of course, though most users have no idea where. But the search engines have problems of their own. As the web grew to around two to three million websites and hundreds of millions of web pages by the time Google appeared on the scene, the problem of sorting through the starry amount of data was becoming overwhelming.

Google was based on a revolutionary idea that you could figure out what a web page was about and whether it was a good match for someone's search query, not just by looking at the page itself but also by looking at links pointing to that page. Those links could be inside the website within which the page was found, but could even be pointing to the page from other websites; sites that the owner of the reference web page might not even know existed. And that's what we'll look at in the next video.

There are currently no FAQs about SEO: Link Building in Depth.

 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed SEO: Link Building in Depth.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.