One of the features Google rolled out last year, along with its much talked-about Instant Search, was the preview feature which allowed users a quick snapshot of web pages before actually clicking on them. The upshot of this was simple – it allowed users to avoid irrelevant and unhelpful pages and forced webmasters to look more closely at the layout and appearance of their pages. It is important to note, however, that as pretty as it may be, Flash elements are not spidered by Google and thus not visible in Google previews.
Many webmasters have ignored the Instant Preview feature, considering a unnecessary gimmick with a limited lifetime. However, Google’s recent announcement that the Instant Preview feature will now appear on paid ads as well as organic results suggests otherwise. Indeed, it looks like the Instant Preview feature not only set to stay, but is becoming an important element that can influence click-through rates for both paid and organic search results.
What Effect Will Instant Preview For Ads Have?
From the point of view of users, the Instant Preview feature is great because it allows them to see the landing pages of advertisements prior to making a decision whether to click on the link or not. Prior to this, users had to make this decision based on the ad copy alone, but now they can make a more informed decision without having to click through to the page.
In the announcement on their AdWords blog, Google confirmed a click on the Preview icon will not be charged. This means that, as long as you put some care and attention into making your landing pages attractive, relevant and useful (which you should be doing anyway), then the Instant Preview feature can only be a good thing as it reduces the number of click-throughs that bounce straight away because your page isn’t what they’re after. In essence then, Instant Previews help users find more useful content, and help advertisers target interested users.
How To Make Sure My Landing Page Is Optimised For Instant Preview
Optimising your landing page effectively is, obviously, of the utmost importance, however the ways in which you do this really depend very much on the type of products and services you are offering. In general terms, some tactics that might be used by any business include not relying too heavily on Flash (as this is not spidered by search engines) and ensuring your page clearly communicates a purpose and message that is visible even on Instant Preview. If you employ a Google AdWords agency, then you should discuss this with them.
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.