November 18, 2010
Google wasn’t satisfied with just having Instant Search, now it has introduced something called Instant Previews. Searchers and web users can now browse a large instant “preview” of a site’s content by placing the cursor over the small magnifying glass displayed beside each listing. These previews are large and Google sometimes highlights a major paragraph or quote from each displayed site.
Searchers can get a general look at the layout and design of a site, onpage graphics and bold headlines can usually be seen from the preview. However, small print and the general content of the page can’t be read, so searchers will have to click through to your site if they want to read your information. Assuming of course, they don’t find what they’re looking for in the headlines or bold print.
Whether searchers will use this new feature remains to be seen, but these instant previews could have some ramifications on who gets the “click through” to their site. One would also reason that getting the top spot in the rankings have diminished somewhat, if searchers can quickly preview all of the top 10 listings and then make their decision. So they might not click the top listing, but decide one lower down is worth clicking. This could make any listing on the first page more worth having, not just the top one.
This doesn’t really affect any of your SEO strategies and you should be optimizing for the search engines as usual. After all, getting those top rankings for your targeted keywords in the major search engines is what brings in the quality traffic to your site. In this regard, it’s business as usual.
However, Google’s Instant Previews does change the whole nature of SERPs or rather Google’s search results in that webmasters and marketers have another hurdle to get past before they get that final click. Searchers might click your top number one ranking preview and decide your page is not up to standard or it’s not what they’re looking for, and can quickly try out the other listings instead.
From Google’s perspective these previews could improve the “overall” quality of their results because searchers will come away happy, especially if they have not wasted their time clicking on a link, only to find it’s not what they’re looking for. Now they can easily find the right results more quickly and efficiently.
For the webmaster or online marketer, these new Instant Previews can be seen as another chance to get that all important click. They must make sure their page design is up to scratch and featuring a catchy headline which draws visitors to their page or site. Also, highlighting a well worded summary could help attract more of these visitors. So too, would placing your main keyword phrase in bold print so that it can be read from the preview.
Needless to say, webmasters/marketers must always keep their targeted keywords front and center. Highlighting them on your page in the main title is already a given, but now you should make sure they can be read from the preview. This could possibly give you an edge with it comes to getting that click from Google.
On a more general note, these previews also increase the time searchers will spend on Google’s results pages. Google has been steadily focusing on this factor in recent months. Why? One good reason – the longer a searcher stays on your page the more likely they are to click your paid ads. Stands to reason, if the searcher can’t find what they’re looking for in the so-called “free organic listings” (actually, truth be told, for very lucrative keyword phrases these are not free, nor organic) they will look to the paid Adwords listings.
If you check out the average time spent on Google, according to Alexa, in 2009 it was around 7 minutes and now in 2010 that average has jumped to around 14 minutes. And that’s before both Google Instant Search and Google Instant Previews are fully rolled out and implemented. One would expect that number to go much higher. While this is nowhere near Facebook’s average time of 31 minutes, Google has still doubled the time it had only a year ago. No wonder, Google can afford to give their employees that 10% raise, they have probably earned it.
Nor should Google be criticized for doing all of this, they are a business and their goal is to bring in more revenue. Besides, these previews will no doubt improve the effectiveness of Google’s SERPs. Searchers can more quickly find what they’re searching for on Google and come away happy. A satisfied customer is the ultimate goal of any business, why should Google be judged any differently.
However, for the webmaster and online marketer, keeping Instant Previews in mind when creating webpages is a must. Here are some suggestions you can follow:
1. Improve Your Graphics – These can really grab the searcher’s attention in the preview so it’s vital to have eye-popping graphics right next to your important information.
2. Create Great Headlines – Good headlines quickly capture the searcher’s attention and draws him/her to your page; just make them bold enough to be seen in Google’s previews.
3. Write An Informative Summary – Place your important information in a short summary which also captures the viewer’s attention. Entice these viewers to visit your site or page.
4. Take A Multi-Layered Approach – Just don’t aim all your marketing towards free organic search, but try video listings, news listings, image listings… to get other ways onto Google’s first page.
5. Finally, PPC Advertising – This is probably not what you want to hear, but paid listings through Google Adwords is another option. Besides, for extremely lucrative keywords, as more and more major companies throw major funds into SEO and Keyword Link Buying, organic search is not really free or even available to everybody anymore. For the small-time webmaster or marketer, paid listings in Google may be your only option and that option is quickly becoming too costly for many.
Of course, how Instant Search and Instant Previews play out in the near future is still open to wide speculation. Will searchers even use those added features in their daily searches? Or will users opt-out and go back to a more gentle, less hurried Google? One thing that all of us can be sure of, Google will be constantly rolling out new features and innovations just to make all our lives a little more interesting.
Opinions expressed are solely those of the author, a full time search engine marketer who operates numerous niche sites, as well as two sites on Internet Marketing: www.marketingtoolguide.com and www.bizwaremagic.com Titus Hoskins Copyright 2010.