Along with its much publicised Instant Search roll-out late last year, Google also introduced the nifty Instant Preview feature which allows searchers to take a sneak-peek at a web page before deciding whether to visit or not. This has helped searchers weed out some of the less than useful sites appearing in the search results and added a new dimension to optimising web pages – forcing webmasters to think more about the layout and formatting of their page (notice how Flash elements don’t even show up on the preview).
A lot of webmasters have not taken any heed of the effects of Instant Previews, consoling themselves with the belief that the feature is nothing more than a gimmick. But with Google’s announcement yesterday of their intention to provide the Instant Preview icon to ads, it seems this will soon become a very real issue that has the potential to heavily impact click-through-rates both on natural search results and pay-per-click ads.
What Effect Will Instant Preview For Ads Have?
From a consumer point of view, the Instant Preview feature will allow them to view an adverts landing page before deciding whether to visit the page or not. Previously, all they had to go on was your ad copy – but now they can see if the site is relevant to what they are looking for without having to click through.
In the announcement on their Adwords blog, Google confirmed a click on the Preview icon will not be charged, so from an advertisers perspective the Instant Preview feature could help filter out those wasted clicks and ensure the clicks you pay for provide more targeted traffic (the thinking being that if someone clicks through after previewing your site they must be interested in what you’re offering).
How To Make Sure My Landing Page Is Optimised For Instant Preview
This all depends on your particular market and the products/services you are offering. Some universal tactics include not relying too heavily on Flash (as this is not spidered by search engines) and making sure the purpose of the page and your message is easily visible.
If your landing page is a product page, it would be wise to make sure the product image is big enough to be visible on the Preview pane, as well as ensuring the price and any offers you have are also prominent, as these could help your page stand out and encourage that all important targeted traffic.
Posted by Luke Glassford