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December 21, 2010

Cindy Penchina, President
blinddate 150x150 resized 600Google’s Instant Preview, released this past November, eliminates the “blind dates” of search results. It’s like the Match.com of Google searches. You get to see what you’re in for ahead of time and then decide whether you want to take the next step and click through. This is a great time saver for those searching the internet, but it means that your web site design plays a role much earlier in the continuum of internet marketing.

Do a Google search and you’ll notice the little magnifying glass icon next to the listings. Holding your mouse over it will display an image preview of the resulting page.  You’ll also see some highlighted text which Google determines is relevant, as well as the highlighted keywords that were used in the search. This handy feature gives users a “sneak peak” at what they will find if they decide to click through. Users can scan through multiple sites without leaving the search results to find the sites that are most closely matched to their search, saving them time and helping them to find the “right” site more quickly.

What does this mean in terms of your web site design? It means that users can decide whether your site is worth a visit, even before they click through to it. The preview image is small, so the overall impression that someone gets will be heavily reliant on the design of the site. Your brand will need to be evident and since the space is so small, designers will need to consider how layout and white space impact the preview.

And it’s not just your home page…any page within your site can be indexed by Google and have its own Instant Preview. Traditionally, web designers think of the Home page as the front door by which users enter your site. Not so, if we factor in users scanning through the Instant Preview images. Each page within your site can play the role of your Home page when it comes to Instant Preview.

Google’s Instant Preview can either work for you, or against you. First impressions are everything when it comes to clicks. What kind of impression does your site make?