Google has added another feature to its search engine results pages (SERPS) that is aimed at helping users (searchers) make decisions quicker. This time they have added Google Instant Preview to the results. And you may have seen some of this in action without even meaning to do so.
So what is Google Instant Preview? It’s a feature that shows a screen capture of the web page being referenced in the results. Over the past month you may have seen a little magnifying glass next to the blue text on SERPs. That’s the Instant Preview icon. When you click on one you’ll get an image that shows the page where you would land if you clicked on the link. This is supposed to the searcher a better idea of whether or not the page relates to what they are actually searching for.
What does it mean for searchers?
- If you are looking to get back to a site but don’t know the name of it, you don’t have to go clicking all the links. By just hovering over the magnifying glass you should be able to tell if one of the results is the site you are looking for.
- Although not all text is readable, you may be able to tell by the screen capture if the result is a site that pertains to what you are looking for.
What does it mean for website owners?
- It is even more important now to have a website that looks good at a glance. If someone hovers over the Instant Preview and doesn’t like what they see they can quickly go to the next result (a lot easier than clicking on your results to have a peek and then clicking back). Check out how your pages look in the preview and see if the image would entice you to click. If not, it may be time for a website redesign.
- Although not all text is readable, you may want to have important info and headers in a large, clear font that can quickly get the message to people taking a look at the Instant Preview.
- Flash doesn’t seem to show up in the Instant Previews at this point. Google is looking into alternatives, but for the time being it could deter traffic if all they see is a big blank spot on the preview or a plug in icon. If you have seen traffic drop recently you may want to look into alternatives to you Flash for now until Google addresses this.
Have you used Google Instant Preview in your searches, and has it influenced your click throughs? Or have you seen traffic patterns to your website change recently and think it may be Google Instant Preview? Share with us.