Google Testing Full Page Previews

google previewsSearch result page previews – sound a little Bing-like? Bing has offered the search result web page snippet feature for quite some time now which has helped marketers with optimizing for Bing. Well, move over Bing, Google is now testing full page previews of web pages as a part of search results. Google, always bigger and better. The page previews are welcomed as the search results with Google Instant while supposed to speed up searches, it many times slows them down as you are scrolling to see if the results match what you were really looking for. The full page preview, will give you a chance to view the page and determine if your search has ended or you need to continue.

Google Search Result Full Page Previews

Full page previews are a big help to searchers as a simple mouse over brings up the page for some quick scanning. Google lends a bit of hand with highlighting the search result in blue when you mouse over it and the preview appears. Also when the preview appears, parts of the page are highlighted in orange to draw attention to them. According to Mike Melanson at Read Write Web,

SEO Consultant Patrick Altoft first noticed the feature, saying that they appear to be full-page previews with some interesting highlighting by Google.

One of the fascinating things about this is that they are highlighting certain sections of the page in orange and expanding the text to provide a snippet of information. This shows that they have the technology to know exactly where a piece of text is on every single web page. The snippets highlighted are not always the same as the snippet in the search results.

google testing full page previews

Great Content Always Prevails

Great content, we hear it over and over to the point of where we have tuned it out. Well, as Patrick Altoft has point out, Google has the technology to know where text is on very page. We pretty much always knew this but here we are seeing it in action. The highlighted snippets not being the same as the search results brings big opportunity for brands to take a look at their web pages and ensure that their content matches search queries and also is very clear and precise.

Full Page Preview Effect on Views & Impressions

How this will affect page views and impressions is yet to be determined. It is still being tested so we will have to wait and see.  What about bounce rates? This could actually help a bit with matching search queries with the content as if the page is previewed and clicked off, it may need some work. Will previews become a part of analytics or be counted as views? What will count as an impression? With Google Instant, there is the 3 second rule as if a result appears for 3 seconds (without any typing) it is an impression. There are not previews for paid ads so these will not be affected. However for those with ads on their site, these may be affected as traffic counts could be down as people are able to preview without having to click on the site.

For now, the full page preview has only seems to be available in the UK but we are keeping a close watch on this to see when it starts popping up in the U.S.

Would this be a feature you would use or just another nuisance that distracts your search?

photo credits: keso and blogstorm.com

  • Wow. I just stopped 1 minute thinking about all the possible implications of this. In my view, this is another step into what Schmidt said last week, “Google will search before you even ask”. It makes searching for the *right* information even easier and faster. From a “user” point of view, I think I will use this extensively. From the SEO point of view, the chance of taking an even deeper look into what Google index and how, that sure is a tasty morsel.
    Too bad it’s not available in Italy yet, can’t wait.

    • Gabriele

      It is a very tasty morsel for the SEO folks. I like this feature and would use it as I constantly am clicking on a page that I click off of, looking for a better search result.

      It will take some time I am sure to get into Italy and also here in the US. Google Instant was not such a great hit but this can help. They prob should have done this first and then google instant but that is just my thought.

      • Just as curiosity, the full page preview appears when you hover the mouse on the result or when you click on something?

        • it seems to be when you hover over. It seems to be like bing in that there will be arrow prompt to the right of the results.