The early days of SEO/SEM were a much simpler time. In the beginning, meta tags ruled, and changing those metas at the right time could mean #1 rankings. As search engine algorithms evolved, SEO first became a game of content optimization, where we all learned how to go beyond the meta tag by making use of header tags, bold tags, keyword stuffing, hidden text, no frame stuffing, and many more such tactics. Some were legit, while others were search engine spam. The search engines caught on and punished those who used spammy tactics, rewarding those who used legitimate ones.
In time, it became a game of “whoever has the most links or the highest PageRank wins.” Again, the search engines made adjustments, deprecating the value of PR and thousands of low-quality or in-network links, and SEOs began to understand that both on-page optimization and off-page optimization needed to work in tandem in order to please the almighty algos. This, I believe, was the very beginning of what I call MAD SEO. MAD stands not for the emotion we may feel as we watch our rankings disappear, but for “Moderation And Diversity.”