As a generation is around 10 years I'd say at least mid to late 90s through late 2002 before the first major update, or in my opinion up till 2003-06 when SEO took a stronghold on Digital Marketing.
It's hard to consider people who just shoved words all over the page/title/description/meta keywords the first-generation SEO. It was more like a get rich quick scheme, akin to the first adopters of Bitcoin circa 2010-2014. Also one must think, there weren't very many sites then of much value to be worth users searching for. Remember, Yahoo started out as a directory, not a search engine, there were a couple before them that did a search engine. It wasn't commercially viable from an SEO standpoint to use a search engine till about 95-96, thus that's when it started.
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