A new feature being trialled by search engine giant Google stands to improve the way that online marketing campaigns reach out to potential customers.
The new full page preview feature shows Google users an image of the website in a special pane on the right hand side of the screen when they hover over the search result with their mouse cursor, which becomes highlighted in blue.
The preview pane itself displays not only the website, but the specific text on that site which is relevant to the user’s original Google search. This text may be very different from the meta-description of the site in the list of search results itself.
If this new feature is adopted as a permanent part of Google’s features, it will significantly affect the way in which both online marketing and the subset of search engine optimisation is carried out.
Marketers will have to think about which areas of text are most likely to be highlighted by the preview feature and will also have to ensure that the design of a page lends itself well to a smaller preview image.
If the feature becomes part of Google’s results, it will have an impact on both search engine optimisation and online marketing, to help determine which pieces of text are highlighted and optimising a page for being previewed in a smaller format, respectively.
Whatever the potential advantages to online marketing experts, the chances of the preview feature ever reaching Google users en masse are still in the balance. The feature raises fresh concerns about unacceptable keywords – at present Google cuts out certain words in its new instant search results – and publishers could also protest about “unacceptable” content.
For its part, Google is keeping the online marketing world guessing, insisting that the preview function is just one of between 50 and 200 experimental features operating on the system at any given time.