Website Preview Screenshots in Google SERPS
It seems that Google have introduced the option to see a snapshot of a web page by clicking on a small magnifying glass icon next to the title of any SERP result, or just hovering over the SERP.
I saw this on a limited basis the other day but it seems to be a general rollout now, certainly on google.co.uk anyway. Click on the magnifying glass and hover over the SERP and you get a full image of the webpage before having to click on the SERP link itself.
What Does This Mean For Online Marketing?
Apart from being a nice gimmick, it largely depends on the click through data as to whether it will make a difference to how users approach search results pages. Will people ignore it, or choose to click on prettier looking websites even if they are lower down the SERPs.
Objectively it can have some practical uses. If you’re searching in a bad neighbourhood it could be quite useful to get a quick visual summary of what you are about to click on before doing so.
Will it mean an emphasis on prettier web designs getting a higher click through rate? Among less savvy web users that could be the case. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out. Are Google trying to give the nod to webmasters that take design seriously and try to oust the ugly scraper sites that get thrown up with no consideration for design or quality? Using site images in SERPs is a nice way to try to introduce a weighting factor in terms of site design into the ranking algorithm based on using traditional historical click through data based on SERP position versus click through data based on search position using the new sites images feature. Interesting…
It seems that Wikipedia not only get a snapshot of their page, they also get a definition thrown in. Nice.