Yet here we are—in the same room with the same clients, trying to do largely the same thing. There are differences, but there is also a lot of crossover because of the evolution of the Google algorithm.
Google has always tried to deliver search results that place the most relevant site at the top. The clever thing it did was to give the most weight to the most relevant sites, and the secret to its success was using backlinks as a ranking factor.
If a site had a lot a relevant and powerful backlinks from other sites then it ranked high, the theory being that if other sites chose to link to this site—and send their readers there—they were providing votes of confidence.
The Google two-step
Over the years there emerged a dance that began with unscrupulous SEO companies finding ways to falsely generate backlinks that looked powerful to Google’s robots but did not provide the voting weight that Google was looking for.
Google got better, and the SEOs got smarter; Google got better still, and SEOs got even smarter, and so on.