03 Feb 2006

Old School SEO vs. New School SEO – What’s your Alma Mater?

Gray Wolf over at Wolf Howl has a nice post which starts with:

Wake up and smell the coffee sunny Jim it’s no longer hip or trendy to debate whether your rule breaker or not. The hottest thing now is debating if you’re a new school or old school SEO.

He then throws in a test to see if you’re old school SEO,
and another test to see if you’re New School SEO

I heavily favored the Old School side, and I started early 1999, but I know there was schools before me.

At the end Gray Wolf tugs on the linkbait, reeling us in with:

One things for sure though old timers are going to complain about the youngin’s showin’ no respect and new folks are going to complain about the old geezers thinkin’ they know-it-all. Either way the trend shows no sign of fading, and it looks like we’re in for some prime time entertainment, so grab the a bucket of popcorn and pull up a seat …

I may have scored as an Old School, but at times I still feel I’m battling the Old-Old school. There’s a school behind me (I started SEO in early 1999…but wasn’t known until late 2002…I’m up against the guys from the late 90’s who are with the biggest SEO companies.  There’s been times I’ve bitched to myself about trying to get better speaking gigs on Search Engine Strategies conferences…..I could tell  you stories…I should….Jim goes into rant…. Just because someone has been in a speaking seat since 1999, and has given the same powerpoint presentation 25 times in a row, does not make that person the most qualified to be in that seat. Hum…am I joining the SEO Fight Club, not that I’m  ragging on the older generation?…. I do respect many of the old school…hey their ways were really good in 1999 ๐Ÿ˜‰ … oh what’s happening…it’s a fight! I’ve been sucked in. There’s just no respect around here.

A few months ago I did a bit longer post on the years called SEO, Then, Now, and Tomorrow. but perhaps I can get it down to 1 liners per year from where I saw it.

  • 1998 – INFOSEEK? Banners?
  • 1999 – Altavista, Excite, Lycos, Etc – optimization on page – doorways
  • 2000 – YAHOO Directory, 20 major engines 
  • 2001 – Directories: DMOZ (served several engines), MSN’s Looksmart top results, Yahoo  plus – 1 cent PPC
  • 2002 Google – link text
  • 2003 Google Pagerank
  • 2004 Florida aftermath followed by Sandbox
  • 2005 TrustRank
  • 2006 Neighborhoods? Trustrank?… still to be written.

What year did you start in SEO? What methods were you using that year? What’s your Alma Mater?


  1. Old School vs New School SEO -- Macalua.com February 3, 2006 at 4:39 AM

    […] Jim Boykin : I may have scored as an Old School, but at times I still feel Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm battling the Old-Old school. […]

  2. Dan Kramer February 3, 2006 at 12:39 PM

    > What year did you start in SEO?

    1997. It was all “on-page”. Doorways worked like a charm. Ahhh, the good old days.

  3. IrishWonder February 3, 2006 at 1:32 PM

    Heck I still have those Bruce Clay Search Engines Relationships schemes printouts from a few years back…. they look so funny nowadays…

  4. Chris Boggs February 3, 2006 at 3:42 PM

    My intro to SEO was Web Position Gold in 2000…remember the “manual?” how far we have come. :p

  5. Jim February 3, 2006 at 4:15 PM

    I also still have several Bruce Clay search charts too..some with tons on new lines on them where I crossed them out and made new lines as things constantly changed.

    I used to have another chart like it on the wall beside bruce’s…it was something like this one http://www.submitcorner.com/Guide/SE/comparison.shtml, only with more info.

    And yea, Chris, the WBG Manual was huge, but it was also packed with great info. Their newsletter was really good as well. Believe it or not, I’ve got an autographed Bruce clay chart, as well as an autographed Brett Winters (of webpostionGold) flyer framed somewhere here in my office.

    These were some of my early SEO Hero’s.

    Who were your first SEO people that you looked up to?

  6. Chris Boggs February 4, 2006 at 4:06 PM

    Believe it or not, I lived in a cave for my first 4 years of seo-ing. Never read forums or blogs (I Guess most people didn’t back then)…felt i was making it up as I went based on the WBP manual and my personal experiences working with a variety of websites in San Diego and CA.

    The first “known commodity” that I really looked up to in San Diego was Lee Mills, actually, and he was primarily focused on paid search. I was also buddies with the Urchin guys and really liked what they were doing. Jim you are probably one of the first five people that I really respected in the industry (having met them), most of which I met at SES San Jose 2004 – my first exposure to people that think like and about what I do! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Scott February 4, 2006 at 9:24 PM

    97 here too – When Doorway Pages and Meta Keywords meant results, and Alta Vista didn’t even own AltaVista.com.

  8. Paul February 6, 2006 at 1:47 PM

    1996 – white text on white background
    1997 – white text on white background image on dark background ๐Ÿ˜‰

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