I love it when you have the old geezers (in the SEO world, that means 10 years old), take a look in the past at how the industry has evolved. Danny Sullivan has done it and so have others. I personally have only been covering search for over six years, but I have been involved in the web development since I was 16, which was in 1996 (yea, I turn 30 this year).
In any event, Jill Whalen posted her A Decade of 21st Century SEO. She goes through each year, starting in 2000, and pulls out her notes of SEO thoughts and best quotes for that year. I cannot summarize them all, and although it is 10 years long, it is a quick and fun read. So make sure to check it out.
There is a Sphinn thread on the topic as well. Danny Sullivan let the cat out of the bag that his decade in search post will be out over the weekend. He is currently up to 2007.
I'll just end this post with a quote from her ending remarks:
It's important to note that my ideal of SEO even before the year 2000 has always assumed that search engines will someday be perfect. Through the years, Google has given credence to my mantra during the times when they haven't allowed the crap-hat SEO stuff to work. By the same token, they have also made me look silly at the times when it does still work. My hope is that Google (or any other search engine) never gives up trying to find the best, most relevant results for their users – the searchers – because my SEO methods are based on that ideal.
There are only a few in this industry who have stood up, given themselves to the community for as long as she has. I won't name them all, but Jill deserves huge credit for not just practicing SEO for over 10 years, but for being involved in the industry, actively, every day, for the past 10 years plus. You can't say that about many people in the industry.
Thank you Jill.
Forum discussion at Sphinn.