Google Instant Preview is a bit of a milestone. Knowing they cannot always keep the lower quality sites from being found in a top search position, Google has added a feature that allows users to preview what a page looks like before committing to a click. This feature could be a game-changer – if it catches on.
It’s a pretty simple in concept. Anytime you see the small magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner of the search result, you can click on it or any white space within that search result area and an instant preview will appear to the right.
Here is how Google describes the benefits of this new feature:
Quickly Compare Results
A visual comparison of search results helps you pick which result is right for you.
Pinpoint Relevant Content
Text call outs highlight where your search term appears on the web page so you can evaluate if it’s what you’re looking for.
Interact with the Results Page
Page previews let you see the layout of a web page before clicking the search result.
After reading the benefits of Google Instant Preview and actually seeing it for yourself, you can likely understand how this could change the way people choose to visit web pages. Now, they can just preview each page and see what it looks like.
And, if you are thinking “who cares?” I’ve got bad news for you: people really do judge a book by its cover and they most certainly judge a website by appearance – within two seconds of a screen-shot scan!
By the way, if Google Instant Preview sounds familiar it’s because Bing did something very similar more than a year ago. Go to Bing.com and check it out. It’s still in place today.
You can think of Google Instant Preview as a 2.0 version of the technology. It eliminates the need to “commit to the click.”
For you this simply means your preview needs to impress searchers as much as your keywords impress search engines.
New Rule #9 Take The 2 Second Test
Now that people no longer need to visit your website to see if they like it, you need to look at it in a whole new way – with fresh eyes, and for no longer than 2 seconds. That’s how much time the average person will spend looking at it before they commit to the click. So print out some color screenshots of your home-page and a few of your top online competitors and honestly choose which is best – with just 2 seconds to decide.