Moz, creator of popular SEO tools like Open Site Explorer (tracks links pointing to websites) and MozBar (ranks websites’ authority), does more than create amazing tools that make the lives of website owners and online marketers easy. Moz also hosts an amazing resource that helps you understand every important Google update and algorithm change made since the year 2000.

If you already know Moz, you may already be familiar with the resource I’m about to spill. But if you don’t know Moz, or just use it for its awesome (partially-free) SEO tools, you’re going to love me for sharing this with you:

Moz Logo

Moz’s Google Algorithm Change History

With the Change History tool, Moz provides a history of Google updates and algorithm changes from 2000 to present, offering brief descriptions and one or two links to highly informative articles on the subject. These articles are by trusted sources like the Google Press Blog, Search Engine Land and Moz contributors themselves.

Read through this entire list and I guarantee you you’ll become more Google savvy than 90% of people who own and operate websites. Do a little each night or breeze through it all in one sitting. Trust me, the investment of time is worth it if you’re serious about getting found on Google and understanding the search engine landscape better.

And rest assured, this isn’t a boring list. Google, as a company that’s passionate about delivering the best search results, has quite a number of updates that will amuse you and, at the same time, make you feel good about relying on it so heavily.

One update I came across that made me especially proud to be a Google freak was the “Payday Loan” Update. This update targeted the Internet’s “spammiest” queries – those related to payday loans and pornography. According to an article by Search Engine Land, “this update impacted roughly 0.3% of the U.S. queries, but went as high as 4% for Turkish queries where Web spam is typically higher.”

And with an average of 5-plus billion searches per day, that 0.3% accounts for about 150 million daily searches.

Right now, you may be asking “Rob, why didn’t you just share this Change History via Twitter, Facebook and Google+? The link to the Moz page would have sufficed.”

Well, for one, I love talking to you; and two, I also wanted to share this handy Google Search Timeline with you.

Google Search Timeline Image

In my opinion, if you’re interested in learning the most you can about Google in as little time as possible, this chart and the Moz Change History are the only things you need to study.

Learn more about Google and, in turn, rule the web more effectively. Remember, Google is how you get found. So it’s worth investigating how you get found (repeated phrase intended).

While it’s important to hire an SEO company that’s committed to working for you, since the release of Google’s new algorithm, Penguin, it’s crucial more than ever that you select an SEO company that is following organic SEO practices.

Since the webspam algorithm launched, businesses should be cautious that the SEO company they choose doesn’t perform black hat techniques as this will result in a penalty from Google. Sites that are penalized will be removed from Google’s index, thus becoming invisible to search engines.

No business wants to invest money, time and trust into an SEO company only for their business to be ruined. Receiving a penalty from Google not only results in your site being removed from Google’s index but will significantly hurt your business’s reputation.

The best way to avoid receiving a penalty from Google is to hire a quality SEO company that isn’t going to cheat the search system. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when searching for an SEO company that’s committed towards working for you and won’t leave your business damaged:

Company background
You can start by researching the background of the company. Learn about when the company started, their mission and philosophy, how many clients they’ve worked for, the types of campaigns they perform, their achievements and awards, and the management team. You can do this by checking out the company website and researching the company on search engines. This will help you get a feel for SEO the company.

What do you want to achieve?
When you turn to an SEO company to work for you, of course they will jump at the opportunity to gain a new client. But, don’t let their words alone lure you in. You should determine ahead of time what you want to achieve. Think about your objectives and what you want to gain from the SEO company. Whether you’re looking to increase traffic to your site or want your website appear higher in the SERPs, you should have an objective.

What’s their take on what you’re looking for?
After you discuss your objective, let the SEO company impress you with their knowledge of SEO and what measures or tactics they believe should or shouldn’t be used to help you reach your results. A company that’s truly dedicated towards helping you won’t just give you what you want, but what you need. They will explain to you the best practices and best approach to help you achieve what you’re aiming to reach.

What strategies do they follow?
While the SEO company may not be able to give you a nail on the head explanation of how they would approach your campaign, you can ask them about their common strategies and tactics. You should ask about the keyword selection process, how they measure competition, how content is created onsite and offsite, how backlinks are formed, and every strategy they’d follow in an SEO campaign.

Also, this is the perfect opportunity to discuss the Penguin update. Ask them what they know of the Penguin update and how their company avoided being affected by the new algorithm. The more knowledge they have of the Penguin update and of Google’s algorithms is clearly a good sign.

Do they know the latest in SEO and have an obsession for analytical data?
The SEO company you choose should know the latest tactics in SEO and what work must be performed in order to help a site rank well. They should understand your target market, know how to reach your market, have a creative side to attract online audiences and know how to switch up an SEO strategy quickly if the current strategy isn’t yielding the results you’re looking for.

Also, the company should be literally obsessed with analytic data and measuring your campaign progress. You should be able to turn to them whenever and ask them of your progress and current rankings. Staying up-to-date with the latest in SEO should essentially be a lifestyle for an SEO company.

Do they communicate regularly?
You want a company that communicates with you regularly and informs you of your campaign progress.  While the company may be working to service you, this is your company’s reputation on the line. Also, don’t be hesitant to question the steps they take or ask them to explain something. SEO companies understand that business owners aren’t SEO experts.

So, while you’re on the search for an SEO company to work for you, keep these guidelines in mind and help your business succeed.