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Today Google launched Instant Previews, a form of visual search that enables searches to preview a page before clicking through from the SERP. Once enabled, a magnifying glass icon appears next to the search result. Click it with your mouse and a preview of the relevant page appears on the right side of the SERP. You can give it a shot by clicking through via this page.
Google Instant Previews is yet another cool and useful feature for searchers, to be sure. What will its impact be for marketers, web designers, e-commerce providers and others who rely on SEO for traffic and revenue?
Bottom line: it's probably too early to say. Google hasn't yet widely rolled out this feature to casual searchers, and once it does there's just no telling what percentage of searchers are going to take the hint and actually click on that magnifying glass icon. Clearly some will, but again - it's early days. Will the previewers be shoppers? Browsers? In research or buying mode? All or none of the above?
The one thing that is certain at this point is there will be no shortage of research and analysis on how searchers are using Google Instant Previews (Google is saying early users are 5% more satisfied with their search results). While it's all being rolled out - and sorted out - there are potential considerations to bear in mind now while we're waiting to see how all this unfolds.
- Orange text call-outs will sometimes highlight where the actual search terms appear on the page so users can evaluate if it’s what they're looking for. This means further tightening the bond between keyword research and page design
- Design matters. Not that it didn't before, but with Instant Previews you'll be visually side-by-side with competitors. Think supermarket shelf display. Clean, uncluttered design that pops even at a reduced size may matter - a lot.
- Optimize images and videos. Of course, you're doing this already, but a visual page preview makes images, logos and graphics