November 15, 2010
Google just released Instant Preview, which shows a thumbnail view of the search result page next to the search result. What does this mean for SEO and website owners? Well for starters, the visual design of your website means more now than ever!
Google Instant Preview in action:
4 Tips to Take Advantage of Google Instant Preview
Web Design Matters
We all know that the visual design of a web page is important. You have 3 seconds to convince a visitor that your site is what they’re looking for and that your web site is reputable. But now you may not have those 3 seconds if they see a preview of your web page from within Google search results. Your web pages must have a professional design that is thought out carefully.
Carefully consider the use of pre-designed web templates for your website. Now people will be exposed to more website designs than ever before, and they’ll start spotting common design templates. Make sure your template is customized enough to stand out from the crowd.
Get Rid of Flash
It is already known that Flash is bad for SEO because it can’t be crawled by the search engines. But now the Flash portions of your website don’t render in the Google Instant Preview, making the pages look awkward, ugly, and/or distorted. If you have Flash on your web site that doesn’t serve any real purpose, consider removing it. In most cases there are alternatives to Flash, such as jQuery and HTML5.
Fine Tune the Meta Description
Even with Google Instant Preview the searcher still needs to find you in search results in order to see a preview of your site. Clicking the preview button is less of a commitment than clicking on a link, but you still need to convince the searcher that it’s worth their time to preview your website. Having an interesting and well defined value proposition that fits within the allotted 150 characters is going to give you the best shot at having someone preview your site, and that’s half the battle.
Don’t Forget That Alt Text
All the experts agree that now looks matter. Because of this it’s likely that we are going to see a lot more web pages with sharp graphics, pretty charts, and other visual design aids used to grab a searcher’s attention. This makes it even more important than ever that your images are showing up for keywords they are relevant for, and that means making sure filenames and alt text are descriptive and accurate.