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Be in the Know.

Google Unveils Instant Previews Feature

Google recently announced it will unveil a new search engine feature called Instant Previews, which will allow search engine users to preview a Web site with Google’s search results prior to visiting it.

Search engine users will be able to click on a magnifying glass located next to the search result and pull up a full preview of the search result’s Web site in the right sidebar. Users can then click on the preview to be taken directly to the Web site.

Instant Previews is likely to have major implications for Phoenix SEO, and marketers now must place a greater emphasis on supplying searchers with exactly what they are searching for on Web sites or searchers will likely move on.

According to Google Instant Previews will “match your query with an index of the entire web, identify the relevant parts of each webpage, stitch them together and serve the resulting preview completely customized to your search–usually in under one-tenth of a second. Once you click the magnifying glass, we load previews for the other results in the background so you can flip through them without waiting.”

Google also said that searchers using Instant Previews were up to 5 percent more likely to be satisfied with the search results they clicked due to the fact that they were able to preview and evaluate the site before visiting.

Not only does this affect Phoenix SEO practitioners but it will also affect Web designers. Instant Previews places an emphasis on build a Web site that will entice users, which may cause issues. Google advice:

  • Keep your pages clearly laid out and structured, with a minimum of distractions or extraneous content.
  • Try to avoid interstitial pages, ad pop-ups, or other elements that interfere with your content. These elements could be picked up in your page preview, making the screenshots less attractive.
  • Many page previews are generated as part of Google’s regular crawl process. Occasionally, Google generates screenshots on the fly when a user needs it, so in these instances Google will retrieve information from web pages using a new “Google Web Preview” user-agent.
  • Instant Previews doesn’t change Google’s search algorithm, rankings, or how clicks are tracked. If a user clicks on the title of a result and visits your site, it will count as a normal click, regardless of whether the result was previewed. Previewing a result doesn’t count as a click.
  • 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.
  • Some videos or Flash content in previews are appearing as a “puzzle piece” (as you can see above in the third screenshot above) icon or a black square. Google is working on rendering these accurately.

For more information about Phoenix SEO, contact KEO Marketing.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.