Google Launches ‘Instant Previews’

Google has taken its search platform to the next level… Again!

The search engine giant has unveiled a new feature called Instant Previews. Not to be confused with Google Instant, Instant Previews allows viewers to fully preview a website before visiting it.

To utilise this feature, all a user needs to do is simply click on the small magnifying glass next to a search result in order to see a snapshot of the website in question. Clicking on the preview will take the user directly to the website.

Google explain that their new preview engine  “matches a user’s query with an index of the entire web, identifies the relevant parts of each webpage, stitches them together and serves the resulting preview; completely customised to the user’s search and  all under one-tenth of a second.”

Google have also incorporated ‘call-outs’, which highlight a user’s search terms within the website preview. Further to this, some previews will also utilise ‘tears’; a feature that highlights which parts of the website are most relevant to the user’s search whilst still providing a snapshot of the website in its complete form.

So what does this mean for SEO?

These new features has some large implications for Search Engine Optimisation as search engine users no longer need to click through to a website to decide if it is where they want to be. This seemingly small change on the Google results page has the ability to monumentally change the way in which people search online.

Google Instant Previews has one obvious implication – the more enticing your website, the more likely a searcher will visit it!

Don’t worry, I won’t leave you empty handed. Here is some advice from Google detailing how you can make Google Instant Preview work for you:

  1. Keep your web pages simple with fewer distractions.
  2. Keep interfering content to a minimum. Ad Pop-ups and other elements may come up in your page preview, making it less appealing.
  3. Google Instant Previews has not changed Google’s algorithm, rankings or how clicks are tracked.
  4. If you add the nosnippet meta tag to your pages, they won’t show a text snippet in Google’s results. Pages with the nosnippet tag also won’t show previews. Google advises against this because their studies showed that sites with previews were four times more likely to be clicked on. URLs that have been disallowed in the robots.txt file also won’t show Instant Previews.
  5. Some videos and flash in previews are appearing as a ‘puzzle piece’ or a black square. Google is working on fixing this.

Google Instant preview for Organic Results makes you question ‘Will there be Instant Ad Previews?’ It’s still unclear but we’ll keep you updated.

Google Instant Demo Preview:

Llew Jury

Founder, Executive Director

Llew Jury is the founder and Managing Director of Reload Media. He is an experienced digital entrepreneur, having previously co-founded and sold Alfresco Design, Queensland's largest web design company. At Reload, Llew oversees the strategic expansion of the business worldwide and works with leading brands on all aspects of their digital strategies. This includes search engine optimisation, social media, search engine marketing, website usability and more. Llew is the Lord Mayor's Young Business Person of the Year, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management and has been a finalist and winner for many management and export awards.