Google Launches Instant Previews

​On November 9th, Google began to roll out a new feature called Instant Previews

Beside the titles of organic search results there is a magnifying glass icon. Once a searcher clicks on the icon of any result, a zoomed-out snapshot of the underlying page appears to the right of the organic results.

Orange boxes highlight relevant content on the page, and text call outs show search terms in context. Once a searcher has clicked on the magnifying glass of one result for a specific search, the searcher can mouse over any of the other results and get the same preview without having to click again within that search.

Implications for advertisers & search marketers

According to Google, using Instant Previews makes searchers 5% happier with the result they end up clicking on, which suggests that people might spend more time on these sites they choose.

Users might also spend more time on Google’s results page while previewing sites and deciding which to visit. Instant Previews allows searchers to see a visual representation of the site in addition to the textual summary present in traditional search results. This suggests that advertisers and search marketers need to carefully consider how their pages will appear in the reduced size screenshot that accompanies the Instant Previews. My experience suggests that very busy web pages (as in the example above) do not fare as well as those with less content and a clear organization.

Implications for SEO

Instant Previews adds one more element that site designers need to consider when they are designing and optimizing their site. It’s important for them to make sure that the each page ranks for terms that are displayed clearly on the page, so that a user who is searching for a specific term will see an image of that in the Instant Preview. Site designers also need to consider the organization of the information displayed on the page, since if a searcher doesn’t immediately see how the page is relevant to their query it’s easy for them to preview another page. Since Instant Previews highlights search terms where they are found on the page, it will also be important for copy writers to integrate the terms into the page’s copy in a natural way. All these suggestions point to the fact that site designers must pay very careful attention to the different ways search keywords are integrated textually and visually into their pages.

Implications for PPC

There are more questions than answers about how Instant Previews will impact Google’s paid search listings. The most obvious issue is that the previews themselves cover up the ads on the right side of the page. This means that it will become even more important for advertisers to be in the top 3 positions above the organic results. This could result in increased CPCs as advertisers try to secure a spot in one of these top positions. At the same time, searchers have to activate Instant Previews for each search that they do, so paid search ads will still have a small window of time to grab searchers’ interest. This suggests that people who write paid ad copy should pay more attention to the relevance and impact of the copy and tailor it so that it quickly gets the attention of readers and draws them in.

Looking to the future

Google has not yet announced their plans for Instant Previews, so we’re left wondering if and when it will roll out for all search queries. The scope of its implementation (and the scope of its adoption by searchers) will determine the impact it will have on SEO and PPC. If Google does roll it out to all results it will be interesting to see whether they change the layout of the results page so that Instant Previews do not cover up the paid results. If they don’t change the layout of the page, it will be interesting to see if they announce a new way to measure paid impressions so that data will reveal how long an ad was displayed before it was covered with an instant preview.

If you have any questions please contact 

Vince Coyle - Group Search Director

vincent.coyle@reprisemedia.com

www.reprisemedia.co.uk

About Reprise Media

Reprise Media develops data-driven search and affiliate marketing solutions that help 
brands identify and connect with consumers based on the content that they seek, share 
and create online.About Reprise Media<br /> 
Reprise Media develops data-driven search and affiliate marketing solutions that help 
brands identify and connect with consumers based on the content that they seek, share 
and create online.

Founded in 2003, Reprise Media (now part of the Interpublic Group) is a world-class advertising agency focused on connecting brands with customers that seek them out online. With locations around the globe, we develop custom search and affiliate marketing solutions that help the world’s biggest brands – including Microsoft, MasterCard, Burberry, H&M,  – we drive traffic to their websites, manage their reputation, acquire new customers and generate revenue.Founded in 2003, Reprise Media (now part of the Interpublic Group) is a world-class advertising agency focused on connecting brands with customers that seek them out online.With locations around the globe, we develop custom search and affiliate marketing solutions that help the world’s biggest brands – including Microsoft, MasterCard, Burberry, H&M,  – we drive traffic to their websites, manage their reputation, acquire new customers and generate revenue.

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