Last week, Google introduced Instant Previews, “a new search feature that helps people find information faster by showing a visual preview of each result.”
Now, every page of your website that gets returned in Google search page results (SERPS) will have a preview displayed as you see above. The display appears when the searcher clicks on the magnifying glass. Once the magnifying glass has been clicked, scrolling up or down through the listings will trigger the display for each listing. In other words, some or possibly many visitors will be making decisions based on appearance rather than solely on the text “snippet” displayed.
What does this mean to you? Well, the importance of a visually appealing web page just got ratcheted up another notch. Nearly everyone knows that a poor website design and layout will not retain visitors. You have very little time in which to present your case. Now, website design is a factor in the decision to click on a Google search result listing. A bad first impression may keep potential visitors (read: customers, clients, members) from ever getting to your website.
You will certainly want to look at your list of most important keywords, or search terms (You have determined what they are, haven’t you?), and do some searches to see how your web pages are displayed. Check out how your most important pages look. You will likely be surprised. On some pages, possibly all, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Others, may not look so hot, either visually, or from a search term (keyword) perspective.
Most people will likely think only of the visual depiction of the web page. With a closer look, you’ll notice Google will use orange highlights to indicate highly relevant content on the page, and text call outs show search terms in context.
As always, you need to have pages that are visually appealing, and have compelling, search-engine-friendly content. Please remember, the keywords searchers use will be displayed in a call out. Of course, if you don’t have well-written content containing keywords your potential visitors are using in their search, you won’t show up at all.
Here is what Google says about Google Instant Previews.