Google Instant Preview Search Puts An Emphasis On Good Web Design

I saw rumor of it months ago, but Google has announced today that previews are now a part of search results.  Each search result offers a magnifying glass icon that when clicked, displays a preview of the page.

Google preview search

(View full Google Preview search screenshot)

I think this is a fabulous feature for the user and it also plays into the hands of those who create well designed websites and content pages.  Not only does the searcher have a meta title and description tag to factor into what they click, but now a visual of the destination.

In Google’s research so far, they have found that people who use Instant Previews are about 5% more likely to be satisfied with the results they click.

Good Web Design Can Bring Clicks
It’s always been true, but good design and content structure step up a notch in importance with this feature.  Consider these web design techniques to create a page that increases the chances your search result is clicked:

1.First impressions. They’re everything right?  Previewing a page with a clean, professional web design will only help you stand out from the other results.

2. A big and clear page content title. The preview is often big enough that the title of the page will clearly show up. Seeing the keywords in the title will only build trust that your page has the needed information.

3. Good content structure. If your page looks like a giant block of text, you’re likely to get skipped.  The web is a scanable read, so having a preview that shows well organized content, brief paragraphs, bullet pointed content and good uses of headers and sub-headers will let the searcher know your page will be easy to read.

The feature will even block and highlight text from your page it perceives as being the most relevant to the search.

4. The mix of content types like photos, video and graphics. Many users will prefer to access a page with strong visuals as well as text content.  Seeing that your result has a graph, photo or video like the example below to accompany the text will separate you from all of the non-visual results.


5. Flash? Forget it. As you can see from the example below, Google’s preview feature will not display Flash.  For me, just add that to the other 100 reasons not to use Flash as a main design element in your web design.

These are just my first observations and we’ll see the proof as Google rolls search previews out in the coming days.

I’m rarely excited for a change in SERPS, but this one plays right into the recipe that we’ve used for years: Good web design and good content can be created and optimized for great results.

What are your thoughts on Google’s Preview feature?

3 thoughts on “Google Instant Preview Search Puts An Emphasis On Good Web Design”

  1. I could not agree with you more. This places the emphasis on good “above the fold” design and pretty much kills all flash websites. We will see how this affects traffic and click throughs. I am watching results on my sites. Thanks for putting this information together.

  2. I just noticed this new feature today, but I wonder how it’s going to impact Adwords advertisers. The screenshots pop up directly over the Adwords ads! As an adwords advertiser myself, I would much rather someone see my ad than a screenshot of my page. And if no one is going to see my ads, then why should I advertise? I wonder how this change will affect Google’s advertising revenue.

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