RT Cunningham

Search Engine Optimization Since 2002 with Brett Tabke

Brett Tabke is kind of like the godfather of search engine optimization. I knew him when he was writing software for the Commodore 128, but only in passing.

I bought one piece of software from him (PHD Software Systems) and I can’t tell you when, other than it was in the 1990s. It was called “Spraypaint 128” and took advantage of Commodore graphics on the Commodore 128 and 128D computers. Most Commodore-based bulletin boards used Commodore graphics for door games and splash screens.

Search Engine Optimization in 2002

I don’t know when Brett Tabke founded WebmasterWorld.com. I only know he sold it in October of 2012 and then reacquired it just this month.

Brett wrote an article titled “Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone: 26 Steps to 15k a Day – A Modern Guide to Content Marketing” in 2002. A lot of what he wrote still makes sense today. In a 2012 interview with SEO Book, he admitted:

If I had to rewrite it, I would drop the references to specific timings and numbers. Those numbers have been washed away with progress over the years.

When Brett wrote it, most web pages weren’t compressed at the web server. 56K modems did indeed rule the day in most areas of the world. I don’t think I had a broadband connection in 2002 and I lived in a big city.


Search Engine Optimization in 2017

It was indeed easy to rank for keywords in 2002. It isn’t easy today. In fact, if you’re not careful, you can get penalized by any number of Google algorithms.

Brett’s article told us how to make money with Google only (Google AdSense, naturally). While you can still make money that way, especially in certain niches, it’s not as easy.

I read a recent article (and I don’t remember where) about traffic statistics. Google properties and social sites take up around two-thirds of all the web traffic today. Back in 2002, that was less than a third.

Older, well-established websites are going to do better than anything you and I can put together this year or next. If you’re patient and practice modern search engine optimization techniques, you’ll probably do well eventually. I don’t think one year is doable anymore.

Search Engine Optimization and Me

The website I shuttered before working on this one did a lot better than this one. Still, this one has tanked in the last year or so. It’s like I can’t do anything right with it. I’m the cause, of course.

I won’t beg anyone to link to this website and I won’t drop a link somewhere just because I can.

I know just about everything I need to know about search engine optimization and I use some of it all the time, without even thinking about it.

The biggest problem is my non-niche website. I’ve never chased a niche because nothing (that people will potentially search for) can hold my interest long enough. There are things I’m passionate about that, according to my own experience, no one else cares about.

If I give up with this website or websites in general, it will be my own damn fault.

Photo Attribution: Rama [CeCILL or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr], via Wikimedia Commons


November 17, 2017
Web Development

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