They say that if you want to know the measure of a man you count his friends. But in these modern days, you’d probably be better suited counting his search results, instead.
Whether you like to believe it or not, they can actually say a lot. Search results on major search engines like Google, Yahoo, or Bing can give people a quick snapshot into your life, your interests, and at the very least, your social media. It’s hard not to judge a book by its cover when the cover is page one of your search results and no one ever clicks on page two.
Often, our top search results are from groups that we’ve joined or places that we’ve posted. If you’re interested in horseback riding and are active on a forum about the subject, for example, you may find that that forum is near the top of the list for your search results. Be careful when clicking to comment if you don’t want those comments traced – remember, nothing is truly private on the Internet.
If your first couple of search results are social media accounts, that’s not surprising. After all, most people’s search results would yield their Facebook or Twitter account near the top. If you have social accounts associated with your name that you don’t want to be easily discoverable, it’s time to either update that account or start changing the content. Likewise, if you do want to be associated with your social media, update often and with quality.
Search results can tell a researcher or potential employer something about you, too. If you are hoping that search results will yield a positive impression for an employer, search for yourself and make sure that you like what you see.
There’s nothing wrong with having a public profile for your social media accounts, but know that often the things that you think are private may not be as private as you would hope. Search for images and videos to make sure that you are not being associated with any events or photos that you would rather not showcase near the top of your search results. If you are, be sure to replace the photos on your social accounts with some more user-friendlier options, stat.
If you’re wondering what your search results say about you, the best way to find a for sure answer is to do some research on yourself. It may sound counterintuitive or narcissistic, but these days, everybody is a brand. Make sure your brand is sending the right message!