Google is testing a new feature that will show full-page previews on their results pages. You can read more details in this post on the wonderful ReadWriteWeb site. My Twitter feed is full of mentions of this test today. Many SEO experts I follow seem unhappy, but as a website owner you shouldn’t be.
Full page previews = GREAT
My initial instinct tells me this feature can be GREAT for both users and businesses – if implemented properly. The issue with implementation, as the ReadWriteWeb post also mentions, is the snapshot? Is it real-time or a cached version? Cached versions will be less beneficial to both parties.
That being said, I still see this as an improvement over the current situation of blindly clicking links on SERPs. So why are SEO experts so upset? Fear.
Don’t fear the full-page
Most website owners measure the effectiveness of their SEO-spend on the traffic they get to their site. SEO companies know this. They also know that full-page previews on Google may decrease click-throughs, and that this will increase customer dissatisfaction.
But I stick to my guns: If implemented right, this will benefit both users and businesses. How can a drop in click-throughs benefit businesses? First of all, you won’t necessarily see a drop in click-throughs. If you’re website is relevant to the search term used, a visitor is still going to click. In fact, if your site is relevant, but the other sites that come-up are questionable, you may see an increase in click-throughs.
Pass the 1-second test
After I told him about this, one of my colleagues said, “the 5-second test will drop to 1 second.” I like that. What, as a website owner, can you do to pass the 1-second test?
- Optimize honestly: don’t waste time and money on phrases for which your site is not relevant. People will be able to see right-through those ploys with full-page-previews.
- Make your website relevant to HUMANS first: human beings, people, are the ones who hire you, engage in your services, or buy your products – not search engines. If you make your site interesting to people you will get passed their full-page-preview test. As a byproduct, search engines should also see your site as being more relevant.
- Track & Improve: constantly monitor your search ranking for keywords/phrases important to your business. Use Google Analytics or similar tools to monitor traffic. Look at your Bounce Rate for associated with those keywords/phrases, but also look at page views, time on site, and exit pages. When you see problems, fix them. When you have questions, ask a professional.
What do you think?
Am I off base? Would full-page previews kill click-throughs regardless of site relevance? If Google opts to roll this out, is there nothing you can do but suffer through it? Thoughts, ideas, concerns? Spout-off in the comments.