“What’s done cannot be undone!” These are the immortal lines spoken by Macbeth. From a human perspective, it does seem quite true. Anyone who’s done anything awful is usually remembered long since, even though the person has done several positives to stack up on the other side of the balance.
The question is, should the Big Daddy of the internet, Google, do the same thing about your online presence? Should it always remind the user of its search engines about the little mistakes that you may have committed long back, probably at a time when you were new to the game and did not really know the rules?
Surveys have brought it out to light that this exactly what Google does: judge you! Just as you would judge a person with some previous comment made at a certain point in history, Google piles up search results by judging your website’s worth taking all of these negative blips into consideration. Those negative content pages, those bad or spammy links, all of them make their way into how Google will rank your site on the SERP.
What it translates into is that it is quite difficult and a lot of hard work to get out of a preconceived notion about your website that Google has. For example, you may be a digital marketer who loves travelling. You have a strong online presence as a digital marketer and later added the travelling bit to your profile. Google will not highlight the travelling bit in the results that come up against your name. It has already judged you as a digital marketer and that is what the results will show!
Larry Page of Google has outlined in the Google About Us that this search engine is all about giving you what you want. However, a search without a context is not searched satisfactorily by Google. A query like “Coke” will throw up more results of Coca Cola, not MTV Coke Studio or charcoal. This is how the ‘Intent’ function of Google actually works.
But this is not the entire part of this process. Suppose you are searching for a restaurant name on your phone, a name that matches with the name of a sportsperson. Google can understand that you want the search results to show the locations of the restaurant, not the sportsperson. It assumes that because you are on the move, you are most likely looking for a place to eat, as opposed to checking for the address of a sportsperson.
Now, coming back to the question on the title, does Google judge your online presence and attune results accordingly? On the surface, it does seem so! But dig deeper and you will know that Google is just a machine, after all. It does respond to queries on the information it can glean through algorithms and search crawlers. The ranks of the search results or what comes up on the SERPs is entirely dictated by the content out there on the internet.
A lot of how Google perceives your website has to do with how you are positioning it online. The content you have and how you promote it or showcase it to Google goes a long way in deciding how your sites come up on the search results. Google is not creating or modifying content. It is only listing what it can find. It is your job to modify or bury content that you do not want the world to see.
With the right kind of content, you can develop the template with which you want to be identified in the house of Google. It will take months, probably years, of work to achieve the results. Anyway we give too much credit to Google for coming up with the information we want! Sometimes it can, a few times it cannot. This does not mean that you are being sidelined or judged unfairly!
If you want to break free of the template, you need to work doubly hard to ensure that parallel columns of content are available for Google. Otherwise, it will continue to pick up content that is readily available, like a low-hanging fruit.