Googlebot Persona: The Evolution of Googlebot from Robot to Person

Over the years, as we all know, SEO has evolved. With that evolution of SEO, I think it’s also time to think of Googlebot in a new light. The fundamental concern with Googlebot being a robot is it assumes at a core level that if you put the same thing in, you will always get the same thing out; much like a machine. Where as this might have been true at some point, Google has become smarter at analyzing many factors (latest count is over 200) including utilizing social data (which is more about the psychology of human persona) in their evaluation of a website or webpage.

What are Personas?

In marketing and user-centered design, personas are characters created to represent the different user types within a targeted demographic, attitude and/or behavior set that might use a site, brand or product.

As designers, marketers and SEO’s we need to include the Googlebot persona into the mix, as I would argue it is a user type if a site wants to embark down the SEO web design path. The Googlebot persona has specific needs and behaviors that need to be addressed.

Who is the Googlebot Persona?

Googleboy Persona
Persona’s Mentality

  • Enjoys finding and organizing content
  • Likes when others tell it what’s best or relevant
  • Person pleaser
  • Needy

Persona’s Goals

  • Match a websites target personas with the information they are searching for.

Persona’s Needs

  • Needs a focused path to follow to find new content
  • Needs people telling it what’s relevant through constant feedback
  • Needs high value keyword focused content
  • Needs users to find value in what it tells them

Persona’s Issues
Has difficulty finding, understanding, and presenting content that is located in places it can’t access.
If a link is present it will crawl it, (unless told not to) which often sends the persona into places of low value where it gets lost.

How It Plays With Other Channels:

  • Enjoys finding other personas writing about a website.
  • Enjoys finding other websites giving it paths to find new content.
  • Enjoys hearing other personas socially bragging about a website.

Googlebot Persona

16 Years Old | Experienced Information Gatherer | Mountain View, CA

  • Googleblot is a passionate information gatherer.
  • Over 3 billion people come to it each day to get answers to their questions.
  • It loves when users that are not associated with a website give it paths to new content, and tells it what that content is about.
  • When determining what a website is about the Googlebot Persona has evolved from using what a website says about itself, to using what other personas say in their social channels or on their websites.
  • It has become very good at determining what users will find valuable based on what users have told it or how they have used the Googlebot Persona over the years.
  • If a website gives it a lot of bad information or information that is not valuable it will start to ignore the website and not use the information when a user asks for it.
  • It however, has it’s weaknesses, it can only gather and present the information if it can access the information on a website.

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