I Predate Google

I am a long way behind on memes, in some cases a good 3 or 4 weeks, but I have the ones I am interested in bookmarked, and I will come back to them when I have time.

My First #1 Google Ranking

I was building my first serious websites back in 1996/97 though I have been online extensively since 1993, I no longer have $400 per month internet bills.

In those days search engines didn’t matter for me in the slightest, I was looking for coverage from major websites in my niche (computer games), being interviewed on websites many of which no longer exist, having my latest promotional screenshots listed, and gaining mentions on various geeky places such as the OpenGL mailing list.

It actually took 2 or 3 years to capitalise of the media attention I was gaining for various products with an extremely limited budget. Representing a team of inexperienced (but highly talented) programmers and trying to sign publisher deals was certainly an uphill struggle, and the deals we did eventually land were plagued with payment, legal and technical difficulties that certainly didn’t allow the products to be released in the manner we expected.

Some of the titles were initially slated for a 1998 release, so you can imagine the kind of reviews they received in the press in 2000/2001 when they finally received coverage as a budget release – our publisher really didn’t put any effort into promoting them.

It is highly likely that when Google launched their first search engine, that as well as product names the sites I created ranked for things like “S3 Virge OpenGL Driver” or “Matrox OpenGL Driver” because we released a lot of free OpenGL “wrappers” for various graphics cards as a way of promoting our games. It only took 24 hours to build up a mailing list of 5000 gamers, and a press mailing list of over 100 editors.

Some of those wrappers actually allowed us to get some additional paid work with graphics card manufacturers which provided some nice “small change” to feed the development coffers.

In some ways we also were the first to coin the phrase “3D Music” in regards to music mixing software that allowed you to animate the location of instruments in 3D space.

Niche Website ?

Since I started niche marketing, which is probably when I first started taking a notice of search engine rankings, I suppose my first Google #1 was niche website, although I am only #3 currently.

I don’t generally talk about #1 rankings for my niche sites, and most of those I keep under wraps.

As I gradually make improvements to the optimization of this blog, hopefully it will start to rank for a few more competitive terms, though I generally rank extremely well for product reviews for anything I decide to write about.

So what became of my old game company?

Techland went on to finally release Chrome which was well regarded despite being developed on a much lower budget than competing products, and this week they are launching Call of Juarez with Ubisoft for Xbox360 and PC internationally, including in the US. It has previously been released in Europe.

Now if I was really looking to dominate the Google SERPs for this game (which will likely be quite a hit), then what I would do is pick up my video camera, make a 2 minute phone call, and go and quickly do a 30 minute exclusive interview with the development team, including an in-depth look at their development tools which I am sure would be appreciated by a Digg audience.

I don’t have any niche websites in computer games though, mainly because I made a concious decision to move in other directions.

I wonder how much such a video would be worth as linkbait?

(I stuck an advert in for the game as I decided I needed at least one picture)

I can’t compare to Lyndon going on holiday due to Ally McBeal and he really knows his stuff about linkbait (a very good read with great examples)

I would like to thank Kevin for tagging me on this Google #1 Ranking meme

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  1. says

    My knitting blog predates google. I learned the term SEO when someone posted a comment at my site suggesting she could help me reorganize my blog to gain SEO. I had to look it up, read a bit, and realized my blog probably already had the best darn SEO for actual search terms of any knitting blog.

    How did I get the great SEO: I had been writing very specific “how to knit” entries.

    I no longer have the best SEO on knitting terms because since that time, about.com others started to do the same thing. Ah well…. No big loss because knitting isn’t a huge revenue market.

  2. says

    I’m jealous of people who have been online so long.

    When I started out I changed my sleeping patterns as there was a service that offered free online sufing and I’m a cheap git. So from 6pm to 7am I was online.

    Actually the only thing stopping me being online until the early hours is a family life.

    How old is your oldest domain Andy? Mine is 1998.

    • says

      I was mainly using the Cix service, fairly lightly in 1992, and then I moved to Poland in 1993 and I was still “blinking” for email correspondence, which was increasing heavily. I blinked every hour for about 1 minute of connection time.

      Cix wasn’t really Internet, though they did have a Lynx browser gateway.

      In 1994 I started using it very heavily in compiling a CD-ROM for the Amiga.


      From what I can remember, we published that CD at the end of 1994 / beginning of 1995.

      Archive.org doesn’t go back far enough for my first real website, but from my hazy memory it would have had to have been live in the middle of 1996 because I was already helping Techland a little in 1995 and throughout 1996, though mainly with acquisitions (e.g. we distributed Quake in Poland in 1996 – that was a coup)

      Archive.org for Techlandsoft Domain

  3. says

    I *do* not predate Google. I’ve made my first site when Google wasn’t a #1 (or #2) search engine yet, in 1999, but it *was* there, it already existed.

  4. says

    My first #1 for a main targeted keyword (instead of some long string that I’m sure I might have been getting traffic for once in a lifetime) was for “social media blog.” I definitely don’t predate google! I was lucky enough to get on the z-list meme shortly after I launched the blog and rode that wave and in 30 days, boom #1. Thanks so much to the guy that added me, ha ha.

  5. says

    Hi Andy,
    I’m impressed as I’ve never read a blogger whose had a presence on the net for so long.

    I’ve been creating sites on off for around 4 years, mainly off. A few years ago I was making some money with affiliate sites but the traffic eventually fell away. I guess for every succesful site there’s thousands that don’t make it.

    I’m now tring my hand at blogging which I’m hoping is the recipe for success. I’m genuinely enjoying the experience even though I get little traffic and it seems like an uphill battle (especially when I see spam sites ranking in google.)

    I’m determined to stick with it and sites like this show me what is possible (I’m assuming you gets lots of visitors judging by the number of comments)

    Keep up the good work,