The latest addition to Google’s SERPs is their new Instant Preview feature. This allows searchers to “preview” a website or landing page prior to clicking through to it. Searchers can preview any listing in the organic results by either clicking the description, or the small magnifying glass icon to the left of every listing. The overview is displayed in a pop up window which shows a snapshot of the destination page, highlighting where the relevant search term appears on that page.
Through the preview pop up screen, searchers can get a feel for the site on the other side of the link; images, headlines, colour and general layout all have a major impact. With relatively small size of the pop up window, prominent design features are more likely to catch a searchers eye as small text is difficult to read. This will make the first impression, or snapshot of your site, vital to traffic generation much like an advert in a magazine. You will only have 2-3 seconds to grab the searchers attention.
Some factors to consider when designing for instant preview:
The prominence of images which are product or service specific will become even more important in your web design. Larger images allowing a clearer view of your offerings should be used to communicate instantly the thrust of your site. Smaller images or cluttered images will have less impact than a clear, large image in the new preview window. Pages containing long, text heavy content will look very dull and uninviting, whereas an image will allow you to make best use of the 2-3 second exposure.
With small text so difficult to read in the preview window, anything in a larger font or bold will stand out as a headline. The searchers eye will be drawn to these sentences first, so make good use of them. Ensure your keywords are present and that the message you are trying to convey is clear and legible within your headlines.
Page load time
Page load times are an important factor in SEO as well as web design, but speed will be even more important with instant preview. If your images fail to render in the short space of time a searcher is hovering over your listing they will very, very quickly move onto the next. Combine this with the need to have bold images on your site, and a balance will need to be struck between image size, quality and load time.
As usual, Google has a problem with Flash, and Instant Preview is no exception. Flash sites or page elements are failing to display in the preview, making sites look broken or incomplete. This will deter searchers from clicking through to your site, especially if that flash element was critical to your product/service offering. This will result in fewer clicks, which will in turn lead to lower rankings and fewer sales.
A good website designer will avoid introduction pages altogether, but there are still a great deal of sites out there using intro pages. Again, we have seen issues with these pages failing to display in previews, making your site appear broken and unattractive. This will have a serious impact on your click through rate and your rankings in the search engines.
So overall, instant preview presents new challenges as well as opportunities for web designers, both in design and SEO terms. Greater consideration will need to be given to what is legible and effective within the smaller preview window as well as on the site itself.
Here at Designer-Websites.co.uk we can ensure you have the edge over your competition with website design which takes advantage of Google’s new instant preview feature.