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google instant previewsToday 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

Rebecca Lieb

Published 9 November, 2010 by Rebecca Lieb

Rebecca Lieb oversees Econsultancy's North American operations.

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Usama

Google is always bringing change and in a good way so that people can benefit from it. Google instant is very handy and cool.

almost 6 years ago

John Courtney

John Courtney, CEO and Executive Chairman at Pay on Results SEO, Content Marketing, Social Media, Digital PR, PPC & CRO from Strategy Digital

Is it going to revolutionise search? No.  Is it a useful addition to help searchers decide which web site to choose? Yes. Make design more important than content though, so I am surprised Google has gone there...

almost 6 years ago

Jake Brumby

Jake Brumby, Managing Director at Mr Monkey Limited

It also opens the preview if you click anyehere in the search result other than on a link. For example, click the black text and up comes the preview. I've already triggered it accidentally.

Do I find it useful? No. Though I can envisage that on some occassions it might be helpful.

almost 6 years ago

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Mike Tate

It reminds me of walking down a restaurant strip where the waiters are trying to entice you in with free garlic bread or a bottle of wine.  Maybe we are going to see the equivalent on homepages with people being enticed!!???  Hopefully we will see cleaner design and less clutter on pages.  I just checked a site using a product carousel that uses jquery and the carousel came up blank.  Seeing as though the carousel was showcasing all the top products in the site it's not a great look.  Maybe something Google needs to look at if this is a widespread problem.

almost 6 years ago

Jason Buck

Jason Buck, Consultant at The Long Dog Digital

One of the disappointments when searching for information widely available is to find oneself on a poorly designed site, banner farm or forum. I'd hope this might help push some poorly designed sites down the rankings.

However this might also promote designers to design for the preview and less for the page to bump up the visits. Hmmm ... curiouser and curiouser.

almost 6 years ago

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Andy

If I'm searching for something new, and I don't know the subject matter or the type of websites I'm likely to find, then this will have some uses - especially for checking if a site looks as spammy as the snippet might suggest.

I've not found it that useful for normal searching though, which is probably why Google have made it subtle in the design.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Matenaers

Chris Matenaers, Head of Digital Marketing & BI Systems at brightsolid Online Publishing

Yes, quite a nice feature although not really new in the market. There was another search engine that had exactly this, even displaying the website as a thumbnail.

I always liked this and it's good to see that Google has adapted this feature. It makes a whole lot more sense than that stupid 'Instant search'

almost 6 years ago

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Laura Jennings

Hopefully this will mean less click throughs for spam sites and gateway pages. But will people use it? For example, on a big screen it is easy to see the page preview, on a netbook or small screen it won't be as easy. From a copywriting point of view, calls to actions might have to become more obvious so that they are easily viewed in Preview.

almost 6 years ago

Julian Grainger

Julian Grainger, Director of Media Strategy at Unique Digital

This could have a big impact on click-through traffic for websites even if they are not spammy. If the site hasn't been SEO'd the home page will show for many sites. This will not attract a click where more relevant pages are previewed. In addition, websites like Post Office are being penalised in previews. If you look at their over 50 life insurance result, Google has highlighted the fact that the product is provided by someone else.

almost 6 years ago

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arron zhang

I think it might change the website design to make it looks nicer in preview.

Also not to use flash on the first page as that might not show. But you're right it's still to early to say for sure

almost 6 years ago

Tim Aldiss

Tim Aldiss, Consultant/Director at ThinkSearch

It sure marries up SEO and design even further.

I agree with Jason in that it's likely to ensure there's a new aspect ratio to designer for - that of the Google Preview!

almost 6 years ago

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Matt Chandler

It certainly may influence site design, although I think one thing it might also do is to discourage people from visiting slow-loading sites.  If the preview doesn't appear quickly they'll be less inclined to visit.  This is in line with Google Caffeine anyway.

almost 6 years ago

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Stephen Traynor

It seems to me another step in the shifting world of SEO.  We've all been used to optimising websites for words and text structure, but this (in conjunction with the huge changes to the way Google Places is emphasised in the SERPS) gives marketers something to think about.

almost 6 years ago

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Kathy Letts

So many of us  are using iphones etc, the default setting is to Windows Mobile view, so the preview doesn't work there (I tried it myself just now).  As the number of people using smartphones increases, this change has less relevance.

almost 6 years ago

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Adam Allen, Director of US Sales & Marketing at Brodart Co.

Online window shopping...site design take even a further seat up front as shoppers initial confidence often relates to good web design. Are these previews captured every time the spider crawls the site?

almost 6 years ago

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Giorgio Burlini

It does not preview Flash, so if you have a video or a decent animation will be a very good turn off. Thanks Google...always spot on....

almost 6 years ago

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