History of Digital Marketing

Throughout the centuries there are key events that have shaped our definition of marketing and this unique form of communication between company and consumer.

Although not a new concept, marketing has evolved significantly since the start of the digital age. With the internet boom and the creation of different online mediums, digital marketing has either accompanies or has entirely replaced traditional, offline marketing.

Take a read through our interactive MintTwist Digital Timeline and discover more about these pivotal moments.

Google rolls out “Medic” update    

In early August of this year, Google released an algorithm upgrade which affected the majority of websites in terms of their keyword rankings. The main reason for these changes occurred as there was an underlying question asked by the search engine – will t he viewer benefit from seeing this piece of content?

As it turns out, intent and relevancy for user’s search queries are crucial for Google to determine the quality of the web-page. A huge focus on webmasters to ensure their content is helpful, rather than simply keyword stuffing to try and boost rankings.

Google releases “Possum”    

Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm was quietly released into the stratosphere. “Possum” is the name given to an unconfirmed but documented update which to most significantly impact Google’s local pack and local finder results. The update occurred on 1 September 2016, but since the update was never officially confirmed by Google, local SEOs have been left to hypothesize about the potential update’s purpose and concrete effects. The impacts of “Possum” have led to filtered results based on affiliation and businesses beyond city borders moving up in SEO rankings.

Google Pigeon Is Launched    

Google’s most recent algorithm update changed local search results and modified how location search queries are understood by the search engine, making it easier for users to discover what was “near them.” 

Google Introduces the ‘Disavow Tool’    

Google introduced ‘Disavow Tool’ to assist websites maintain page rankings despite spammy and poor authority inbound links.

Google releases their Hummingbird algorithm    

In August 2013, Google released Hummingbird, its latest algorithm update. The update affected semantic searches.

Penguin 2.0 Rolls Out    

The Penguin 2.0 amend is released to little apparent impact. Digital marketers are unsure what the major changes are, bit it is suggested that the amend occurred at page level.  

Google Penguin Algorithm Is Introduced    

In April 2012, Google launched the Penguin update. This latest algorithm allowed the search engine to better catch sites that resulted in spammy search results, especially sites that used blackhat means to receive inbound links. 

Google Search Result ‘Not Provided’    

Google began to mark searches made on secure Google pages as ‘Not Provided’. This update stops digital marketers from viewing which search query brought relevant traffic to site or app.  

Google’s Latest Algorithm    

Constantly testing and releasing new algorithms to guarantee that searchers receive the most relevant information, Google launched its latest algorithm, Panda. The algorithm requires sites to feature rich content. 

Google Caffeine    

Google tested ‘Caffeine’. The web indexing system allows for faster results for web searches, thus increasing speed for sites crawling, indexing and ranking.

Bing Is The New Yahoo    

To improve its search engine algorithm, Yahoo replaced its ‘Live Search’ with Bing. 

Google Introduces Relevant Search Result    

Google Suggest is launched, offering searchers more appropriate content based on historical keyword data. 

Google Gives BMW The Death Penalty    

BMW was blacklisted by Google for attempting to manipulate its search rankings for the term “used car.” BMW’s page rank was reduced to zero, guaranteeing its search keywords not appearing at the top. 


Google’s New Algorithms    

Google released two new algorithms called ‘Jagger’ and ‘Big Daddy’ to combat link spamming. Along with these algorithms, sites with suspicious inbound links will automatically lose ranking positions. 

Combat Spam    

The NoFollow tag is created to disavow un-trusted inbound links. Webmasters are given greater control to stop spammers from directing useless traffic to their sites’. 

MOZ Is Released    

Rand Fishkin launched SEOMOZ, now known only as ‘Moz’ in 2004. Since its introduction, it has become the SEO industry authority to determine a site’s rankings for search engine optimisation. Although companies were once only concerned with having “good” SEO, now relevant content must also be considered for searchers and site visitors to enhance the user experience.

PageRank Is Introduced    

The first of many Google metrics to be introduced is PageRank, an algorithm used by Google Search to prioritise websites in their search engine results. Named after Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, it works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is.

Ask Jeeves    

Who can forget Jeeves? In April 1997, Ask Jeeves was launched as a “natural language search engine.” It used human editors to try to match search queries and was powered by DirectHit, which aimed to rank results based on their popularity, but that technology proved to easy to spam. In 2006, Ask Jeeves was became Ask. 

AltaVista Is Launched    

Being an early and popular web search engine, AltaVista was the first to allow for natural language queries for its users. However, it declined in popularity due to Google and was purchased by Yahoo! in 2003. 

Welcome Yahoo    

Yahoo! was founded in January 1994 by Jerry Yang and David Filo, who were Electrical Engineering graduate students. They created a website named “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. The Guide was a directory of other websites.  In April 1994, Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web was renamed “Yahoo!”. The yahoo.com domain was created on January 18, 1995.

The First Search Engine Is Created    

The original implementation was written in 1990 by Alan Emtage, then a postgraduate student at McGill University in Montreal, and Bill Heelan, who studied at Concordia University in Montreal and worked at McGill University at the same time. It is a tool for indexing FTP archives, allowing people to find specific files. Due to limited space, only the listings were available and not the contents for each site.

The First Website Is Launched    

On 20 December, 1990 Tim Berners-Lee launched the first website, which was hosted on his NeXT computer. It described the basic features of the web; how to access other people’s documents and how to set up your own server.

Here Comes SEO    

The first recorded use of the term ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ was by John Audettes. The meaning of SEO has evolved and changed over the years to now refer to webmaster-provided information like meta data, keyword density, technical SEO and other on-page factors.