There was once a time when you could type out a bunch of keywords, make them the same color as your background and voila! The search engines would see the words, think you were relevant and send people to your website. Then came meta tags and meta information. Then came writing sentences that made no sense or adding links to your website and other websites on dead pages. There are a lot of tricks to artificially bloat your ranking for a search engine.
Those days are gone.
In 2014 it is estimated Google spent $5-$10 BILLION dollars on running and improving their search engine algorithms. You cannot fight, trick, or get around a company that spends that much time and that many people every day, all year round, working on getting past the changing false ways to get high search engine rankings. To give you an idea of just how intense Google is about its search engine results, here is a list of the updates according to Moz (http://moz.com/google-algorithm-change) that the Google search engine made just in 2014:
February 6: Page Layout #3
Google now penalizes page layouts who have too many ads “above the fold” (meaning too many ads on the top of the website before you scroll down.)
March 24: Unnamed Update
Major algorithm flux trackers and webmaster chatter spiked around this time and some speculated a new “softer” Panda update had arrived.
May 16: Payday Loan 2.0
Just prior to Panda 4.0, Google updated this algorithm to target especially spammy quearies.
May 19: Panda 4.0
Update that effected 7.5% of English-language queries, along with a data refresh
June 12: Payday Loan 3.0
Another major anti-spam update.
June 28: Authorship Photo Drop
Removed all authorship photos from SERPs after heavily promoting authorship as a connection to Google+.
July 24: Pigeon
Dramatically altered some local results and modified how the handle and interpret location cues.
August 6: HTTPS/SSL
Now gives preference to secure sites and that adding encryption would provide a “lightweight” rankings boost.
August 28: Authorship Removed
Also removed authorship markups and bylines from websites and pages connected with Google+.
September 23: Panda 4.1
Another significant algorithmic update estimated to affect 3-5% of all queries.
October 1: “In the News” Box
A display change in the News-box results and an expansion of links to a much larger set of potential sites.
October 17: Penguin 3.0
A data-only refresh of this other algorithm.
October 21: Pirate 2.0
Another wave to combat software and digital media piracy. Highly targets, causing dramatic drops in ranking to a very small group of sites.
That’s right: in one year all those edits were happening. Some, like Penguin 3.0, kept adjusting, rolling out and then reverting for the better part of the next three months! What’s the point? I want to make it clear that when you’re hiring someone to help you with SEO, you need to know what they’re doing and you need to know that it’s not these old-school tricks that don’t work anymore.
In fact, if Google catches you doing too many of the old cheating ways of ‘getting around the algorithm’ they can blacklist your website, making it unsearchable AT ALL via Google.
There are other search engines out there, and each has its own program/algorithm for looking across the internet for information. However with Google presently one of the biggest and most commonly used search engines, this should give you an idea of what the other search engines are up to as well.