Google Instant Previews – Implications for SEO and Marketing

SEO Mastering Search Engine Optimisation

Google wasn’t satisfied with just having Instant Search, now it has introduced something called Instant Previews. Searchers and web users can now browse a large instant “preview” of a site’s content by placing the cursor over the small magnifying glass displayed beside each listing. These previews are large and Google sometimes highlights a major paragraph or quote from each displayed site.

Searchers can get a general look at the layout and design of a site, on page graphics and bold headlines can usually be seen from the preview. However, small print and the general content of the page can’t be read, so searchers will have to click through to your site if they want to read your information. Assuming of course, they don’t find what they’re looking for in the headlines or bold print.

Whether searchers will use this new feature remains to be seen, but these instant previews could have some ramifications on who gets the “click through” to their site. One would also reason that getting the top spot in the rankings have diminished somewhat, if searchers can quickly preview all of the top 10 listings and then make their decision. So they might not click the top listing, but decide one lower down is worth clicking. This could make any listing on the first page more worth having, not just the top one.

This doesn’t really affect any of your SEO strategies and you should be optimizing for the search engines as usual. After all, getting those top rankings for your targeted keywords in the major search engines is what brings in the quality traffic to your site. In this regard, it’s business as usual.

Google Mountain ViewHowever, Google’s Instant Previews does change the whole nature of SERPs or rather Google’s search results in that webmasters and marketers have another hurdle to get past before they get that final click. Searchers might click your top number one ranking preview and decide your page is not up to standard or it’s not what they’re looking for, and can quickly try out the other listings instead.

From Google’s perspective these previews could improve the “overall” quality of their results because searchers will come away happy, especially if they have not wasted their time clicking on a link, only to find it’s not what they’re looking for. Now they can easily find the right results more quickly and efficiently.

For the webmaster or online marketer, these new Instant Previews can be seen as another chance to get that all important click. They must make sure their page design is up to scratch and featuring a catchy headline which draws visitors to their page or site. Also, highlighting a well worded summary could help attract more of these visitors. So too, would placing your main keyword phrase in bold print so that it can be read from the preview.

Needless to say, webmasters/marketers must always keep their targeted keywords front and center. Highlighting them on your page in the main title is already a given, but now you should make sure they can be read from the preview. This could possibly give you an edge with it comes to getting that click from Google.

On a more general note, these previews also add to the time searchers will spend on Google’s results pages. Google has been steadily focusing on this factor in recent months. Why? One good reason – the longer a searcher stays on your page the more likely they are to click your paid ads. Stands to reason, if the searcher can’t find what they’re looking for in the so-called “free organic listings” (actually, truth be told, for very lucrative keyword phrases these are not free, nor organic) they will look to the paid AdWords listings.

Google Instant Previews and SEO

If you check out the average time spent on Google, according to Alexa, in 2009 it was around 7 minutes and now in 2010 that average has jumped to around 14 minutes. And that’s before both Google Instant Search and Google Instant Previews are fully rolled out and implemented. One would expect that number to go much higher. While this is nowhere near Facebook’s average time of 31 minutes, Google has still doubled the time it had only a year ago. No wonder, Google can afford to give their employees that 10% raise, they have probably earned it.

Nor should Google be criticized for doing all of this, they are a business and their goal is to bring in more revenue. Besides, these previews will no doubt improve the effectiveness of Google’s SERPs. Searchers can more quickly find what they’re searching for on Google and come away happy. A satisfied customer is the ultimate goal of any business, why should Google be judged any differently.

However, for the webmaster and online marketer, keeping Instant Previews in mind when creating web pages is a must. Here are some suggestions you can follow:

1. Improve Your Graphics

These can really grab the searcher’s attention in the preview so it’s vital to have eye-popping graphics right next to your important information.

2. Create Great Headlines

Good headlines quickly capture the searcher’s attention and draws him/her to your page; just make them bold enough to be seen in Google’s previews.

3. Write An Informative Summary

Place your important information in a short summary which also captures the viewer’s attention. Entice these viewers to visit your site or page.

4. Take A Multi-Layered Approach

Just don’t aim all your marketing towards free organic search, but try video listings, news listings, image listings… to get other ways onto Google’s first page.

5. Finally, PPC Advertising

This is probably not what you want to hear, but paid listings through Google Adwords is another option. Besides, for extremely lucrative keywords, as more and more major companies throw major funds into SEO and Keyword Link Buying, organic search is not really free or even available to everybody anymore. For the small-time webmaster or marketer, paid listings in Google may be your only option and that option is quickly becoming too costly for many.

Of course, how Instant Search and Instant Previews play out in the near future is still open to wide speculation. Will searchers even use those added features in their daily searches? Or will users opt–out and go back to a more gentle, less hurried Google? One thing that all of us can be sure of, Google will be constantly rolling out new features and innovations just to make all our lives a little more interesting.

Essential Infographics & Data Visualisation Blogs

How to make great infographics
If the adage “A picture’s worth a thousand words” is true, inforgraphics are a powerful tool for communication. Learn the art of making infographics and data visualization in this list of twenty essential blogs.

info-graphics

How to make great infographics

If the adage “A picture’s worth a thousand words” is true, inforgraphics are a powerful tool for communication. Learn the art of making infographics and data visualization in this list of twenty essential blogs.

Optimise Photos or Images for the Website.

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Creating graphics and posting images for your site is one fun thing to do in web development. Nothing makes your site stand out better than some great images.

Graphics and images can be used for entertainment, professionalism or a visual queue. A graphic designed properly can change your visitor’s outlook and/or decision for your site. It is important to you have images ready and optimized for your website.

Optimize Your Images

One thing to remember when creating graphics and images for your site is to optimize. What do you mean by optimization?

Optimization is a way to compress data to make your file size smaller. One way optimization works is that it will read through all the color of the image and use other color combinations to make similar colors. This will then discard some colors that will not be needed for the particular image. But there is a downside with optimization. You will lose quality in your graphic and/or images.

Quality vs. Size

When optimizing your images watch the quality compared to size. You want the smallest size possible for your site, making your site load faster. This will make it easier for your visitors and search engine bots.

If you image or graphic becomes too distorted, raise your file size. You don’t want a pixelated image on your site. You want your images to look good and professional. You just need to find a balance between having a clean professional picture and having a decent small file size.

Image Optimization Tools

Adobe Photoshop has put this into consideration in some of their new application versions. You can now do a File > Save for the Web Options and Adobe Photoshop has a pre-built optimizing process that is very good. You can choose what file type to save in and how much to compression and optimization. Adobe Photoshop is an expensive commercial program, another option is using Dynamic Drive’s Image Optimization.

Types of Image Files

Last thing to touch on is JPEG, GIF and PNG. There are so many file types, but these are highly recommended for web development.

JPEG

JPEG is a compressed file that has very good quality standards. Because of its compression, colors and data are squeezed out of it to create smaller file sizes. This can cause some blur with images with sharp edges, which is great for photos. If you look at a photo there are no straight lines or edges. Everything is blended together, which why JPEG is great for photos. You can get great optimization out of a JPEG file.

GIF

GIF is used more for vector based graphics. A vector based graphic is when a graphic is made of lines and shapes. Vector graphic have sharp corners, edges or text. When dealing with graphics like described, it is better to use a GIF rather than a JPEG. A JPEG could case distortion on your sharp lines. GIF can also be use for animation. Frame by frame animation saved as a .gif will animate on your page. Transparency is another feature that GIF can support. You can save your images with a transparent background.

PNG

PNG is one of the newest web graphic technologies. PNG is great for quality and file size. You have the best of both worlds in a PNG. PNG can also support transparent backgrounds. The only downside to a PNG file is that some old web browsers don’t support PNG. This problem is becoming less and less a concern. But keep that in mind.

Quickest Time for Web

Optimizing images and graphics is almost a must in web development. Having big file sizes could cause some of your visitors to leave your site. If your site is too slow to load, you need to optimize immediately. Rumour is that you have 3 seconds to pull a surfer in. If you site doesn’t load in that amount of time, then you might lose them. Time your page in your browser and see how long it takes. If you are under a couple of seconds, you’re doing a great job.

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