Google Test Has Major Clickthrough Implications

website Preview with Google
(See large screenshot here. Source: Blogstorm.)

Google has been caught testing a major new layout to their search results – full page previews of the target site and pale blue backgrounds behind the search results when you hover over them.

Patrick Altoft, who first discovered the test at Blogstorm, said “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.”

The obvious implication for a preview feature such as this is will be its impact on clickthrough rates, potentially positively or negatively.

Rather than opening up a site, a visitor can view it in an anonymous viewing pane, decide if its what they want, before deciding whether or not to open it. Whether your site is tracking better or worse over time may well come down to measuring conversions rather than clickthroughs. It also remains to be seen how Google will treat its advertisers if it launches this feature as part of its mainstream search product.

The other implication is design. How your website is designed, whether it’s aesthetically pleasing and how well it guides the visitor quickly and efficiently to where they want to go will all become factors in the decision a visitor makes to open your website.



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