Google has announced a new feature that lets searchers catch a glimpse of results pages before they decide where to click. For marketers, Instant Previews means site content must be planned to catch consumers' interest at a glance.
Brafton reported that Google was testing page previews back in October, and now the search engine has officially launched the feature. Google says consumers who use Instant Previews are 5 percent more likely to be satisfied with results they click.
When searchers land on results pages, they simply click a magnifying glass next to each result to see an image of the page. The tool works fast – pages load in less than one-tenth of a second. Once a single result is clicked, Google automatically begins loading others so users can scroll through page previews quickly.
The tool offers searchers the chance to instantly compare results and find the one that's right for them. Marketers must consider the overall layout of their pages and the inclusion of graphics and images consumers may like. Moreover, page previews include highlighted search terms so consumers can see the context of their queries on a site. Relevant content will be key to catching clicks.
Instant Preview should encourage brands to focus on content marketing in 2011. The value of quality content to a site was discussed at the recent ad:tech New York conference, where some experts said "good content is the heart of any site."