Home > Blog > Happy 20th Birthday Google!

September 27, 2018

Happy 20th Birthday Google!

While it can seem like Google has been around for as long as many of us can remember, this leading search engine has actually only been around for two decades. Today marks Google’s 20th birthday and here at Absolute Digital Media, we’re celebrating this momentous milestone with a look back at just how far it’s come!

Humble Beginnings

The exact ‘birthday’ of Google is unknown, but one thing that is universally acknowledged is that September 27th 1998 has been listed by the company themselves as the day they were officially listed. The idea for Google was first formed by Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin after they met while studying and quickly formed a partnership. They went on to work together to come up with a search engine initially by the name of Backrub but thankfully renamed Google relatively early on. This search engine was designed to be a list that would pull together all of the pages on the internet and rank them in order of importance – sound familiar?

A Rising Star

Google initially gained funding for $100,000 to launch them into becoming the incorporated business they are today. Their office was small – in fact, it was a garage! This garage was owned by Susan Wojcicki, current CEO of YouTube and despite looking like nothing more than a messy IT office with a conveniently placed ping pong table, it was the humble beginning that Google needed.

The company expanded rapidly from there. Despite having initially been nothing more than the two of them and later, their dog Yoshka, they went on to hire an entire sales team, groups of engineers and more until they were ready to expand to The Googleplex currently located in Mountain View, California. Nowdays, there are over 60,000 employees across the globe and thousands of marketers all eagerly changing their SEO methods to appease the ever-changing algorithm.

The Major Algorithm Updates

As digital marketers, algorithm changes are what keep us on our toes and over the years, there have been some incredibly influential updates we’ve had to cater to. They are:

  • Panda – February 2011 saw the introduction of the Panda update, which went on to produce a quality score for a website. This would be passed on plagiarised, spam-like or keyword-stuffed content and required countless websites to have to streamline their content production. Regular content checks were also required, and the bulking-out of thin content was also highly advised.
  • Penguin – The Penguin update came the following year and this time, links were the focus. Irrelevant backlinks or those that appeared spammy or paid would lead to penalties in the form of lower rankings.
  • Hummingbird – August 2013 was the introduction of the Hummingbird update, which saw Google better learn and interpret search queries. Searcher intent would be the main focus, and content writers no longer needed to account for exact-match keywords. Instead, keyword research had to be expanded and longer-tail forms and concepts in general became the main focus.
  • Mobile-First – The mobile-first update is the most recent addition to Google’s way of working and sees the bots crawl the mobile version of a site first. For this reason, webmasters and marketers alike have had to craft a mobile-friendly website that is fully user-friendly and compatible with mobile intent.
  • RankBrain – RankBrain is one update that changed how we search completely. This update is a machine-learning system that has helped searchers gain access to more accurate results through learning the intent and meaning behind searches as opposed to exact-match terms. Relevance and high-quality content became a key practice for writers and marketers, and the need for researching relevant terms and concepts has become a much-deserved focus.

Google has come on leaps and bounds since its creation; through algorithm updates and innovative changes, we’ve seen the world of search change drastically and we’re keen to see what the next 20 years will bring.

If you’re looking for an innovative and reactive approach to SEO for your website, get in touch with our expert team today for more information.



Ben Austin

With a solid background in the sales and finance industry, Ben was inspired by the possibilities of SEO after propelling his own website to search engine success. With a natural flair for digital marketing and a strong work ethic, his entrepreneurial streak soon took over, leading to the birth of Absolute Digital Media.

Naturally ambitious by nature, Ben didn’t stop here, instead pushing the business to new heights, offering a wider range of services to more and more clients. He is now proud to employ a number of SEO, PPC, web design, social media, copywriting and marketing professionals and is driven by all things digital marketing. His passion and persistence have led the company to multiple awards and accolades, such as the company being awarded the prestigious ‘Best Use Of Search – Finance’ award at the UK Search Awards 2018 and announced as Digital Agency Of The Year at the 2018 Southern Business Awards. When he’s not busy leading the company on new ventures, Ben enjoys spending time with his wife and children.

Email b.austin@absolute.digital

Request Sector Report