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Instant Previews Bring Your Website to the Google Results Page

Google continues to roll out new features to its search results page.  With their latest innovation, dubbed Google Instant Previews [1], Google is supplementing the standard text results with a snapshot image of the particular web page.  Their official video demonstrates how users can view the instant preview pages:

Depending on uptake, this new feature certainly has the potential to alter search behavior.  As others have pointed out, these instant previews end up covering the sponsored results [2] on the right-hand rail, which could  negatively impact click-through rate on these ads.

According to Google’s blog post, early users of Instant Previews were 5% more likely to be “satisfied with the results they click.”  By including previews of the destination site in the search results page, Google hopes that users can “quickly compare results”, “pinpoint relevant content”, and “interact with the results page.”

From the marketer’s perspective, bringing destination content to the search results page provides new opportunities to capture the searcher’s attention and stand out on the page.  But for many existing sites with strong rankings, good on-page content, and a user-friendly design, Instant Previews also has the potential to do more harm than good.

Here are a few examples and key takeaways for marketers:

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As with any new feature, Google is working out the kinks and one has to assume that they will come up with a means to render these rich content sites more accurately.

Google will be rolling out Instant Previews in more than 40 languages over the coming days.  If you don’t see the magnifying glass in your search results, take an early preview [11].

What do you think about Instant Previews?  Will this have a meaningful impact on paid clicks?  Should marketers make immediate changes to their site design or content? Leave a comment and let us know.