Google added a new feature – magnifying glass in the search results which will show small preview of the website. I tried this and it really helps to chose site in the search results and saves a lot of time by helping to stay away from irrelevant and spam sites. Together with Google crusade after the spam sites which are not delivering any content, but bring you a bunch of links, this will make our search experience better.
Of course it brings some questions for the web developers and marketers. Will users open your site after they saw small screenshot of the page? They won’t if your page doesn’t look like what they expect to see. And bad news to Flash websites, right now it looks like flash is not really supported and coming up as an empty box. That probably will be fixed eventually, but it may take some time.
So, search your site in the Google, use “site:yourdomain.com” as a search query and look at the previews. Are those making sense? Can people see from that preview what kind of content your site provides? Notice that most text is not readable in the preview, but site title and other big headers are, so make sure that they give visitors answer to one simple question – what the site is about.
By the way, while thinking about the preview version of the site, it’s good to keep in mind that “back” button is most used button of the web browser, so, even if user opened website, it doesn’t mean they won’t leave next moment. And they will if they don’t see what they were looking for. There is a great tool which is called Five Second Test. It’s simple yet powerful – you upload your site screenshot and users are given 5 seconds to look at your site, then they are asked to remember what they saw, so it’s very easy to get an idea what elements of the website attract visitors attention. So, if you are selling cars and users reporting that all they can remember is picture of the house or baby koala on the site, then something is wrong there.