Thanks Nancy Evans for your contribution to Internet Marketing Source! Read on for this weeks guest post and to learn about Google, SEO and Web Site Design from the renowned technology and business writer.
For the average technology user, Google is a company that can do little harm. It offers email, maps, searches, books, images, and more – all free. And with impending upgrades to core programs like Gmail it will soon offer such services as business VoIP, which could certainly make it one of the web’s most accessible VoIP service providers.
But for those of us in the web design or search engine optimization world, Google is an all-powerful force that often makes our lives better but can also sometimes make them more difficult. For those who manage and worry about their website’s PageRank, every minute change in the Google search algorithm can have tremendous reverberations.
Along these lines, recent surveys have highlighted a change in Google’s search that hasn’t drawn much attention, either from SEO people or from web designers. For some time now, Google has offered users the ability to preview web pages when conducting an internet search. By just hovering your mouse over a grey tab that appears to the right of the search results, you can see a preview of the webpage that takes up about one third of your screen. The preview highlights and magnifies important pieces of text (ie text that matches your search terms), which thus allows users to see if the site interests them without even clicking.
The recent surveys show that this feature has had an impact on user behavior. People report that they click on fewer sites than they would otherwise as a result of the preview feature. Since a preview does not count as a page view, this change has the potential to impact traffic and alter a site’s PageRank.
So what does this mean for web designers? On the most fundamental level, this means that your site needs to be vivid and compelling – even when viewed in a shrunk down thumbnail. In the past, designers built sites that attempted to keep the attention of the target audience once they clicked on it. Now, web designers need to convey a purpose and an appeal to that audience before they even click. Large headings, images, and a clean but vivid layout are just a few things to aim for when building your site with the preview in mind.
After all – as we all know – when Google makes a change, a shrewd designer or SEO manager will be quick to adapt.
So what do you think? Increase SERP’s clicks through improved web design OR don’t you think that Google Preview plays much of a role at this point? Comments below…