The Corporate Playbook

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Google Previews – Exciting New Developments

Rumors about this new feature have been slowly spreading around the web ever since the release of the Google Instant feature. And it’s finally here.
Google Previews is essentially the next evolutionary step of Google Instant search, and I will go as far as to say that this feature is quite impressive in both usability and performance terms.

What is Google Previews?

This exciting new feature incorporates the latest advancements we’ve seen in Google Image search into their SERP presentation. What this means in practice is that query results are not only instantaneous, but they are combine with a page preview. Now these snapshots are pretty impressive in their own right, especially given the spotless performance of this new feature (at least at the moment), but there is more to it – the image based snapshot of the relevant page includes highlighted sections. These show the user exactly where the desired query is located on the page, making the process of sifting the chaff from the wheat faster, improving user experience and satisfaction with the results. Imagine you’re looking for a graph, a chart or an infographic. What if you need to find some obscure website you remember visiting but didn’t bother to bookmark? Google Previews makes it faster and easier than ever before.

Here’s a little YouTube video to show you what it does.

What does this have to do with SEO/SEM?

If this sounds (reads?) like I’m really excited about this feature, well – that’s because I am. In my opinion, Google Previews (unlike the Instant Search feature I’ve already discussed in the past) will leave a mark in more ways that one. Not only is this a great improvement in terms of usability and UI for the search engine user, the feature carries immense significance to SEO and SEM. One possible (or even probable) effect has to do with traffic, of course. The overall number of visitors will probably drop a little, because users don’t really have to visit the site in order to assess its relevance anymore. That said, the bounce rate should drop accordingly since most unique visitors will have previewed the page on the SERP prior to clicking through.

Moreover, the significance of the title and meta-description will undoubtedly be affected. This is especially true for the description, because it is a longer piece of text which takes time and effort to read. If there is another way of verifying the relevance of a given result to whatever it is the user is looking for, a way which is practically instantaneous when compared to reading the description, my bet is on the quicker, easier to use method.

Now, the following is a caveat involving some educated guesswork, and it should be treated as such.

Paid search results do not have a preview option at this time, which is somewhat of a kick in the groin of the bigger fish in the sea of search engine promotion. If this does not change, the effect of not having a preview available would be tremendous, especially after the feature is widely adopted by users. The SERP as we know it is rapidly changing and I believe that the introduction of this instant preview feature may change search behavior as well. Previewless results might as well be considered as Class B links, so to speak, not really worth the user’s time.

The bottom line is – this is definitely not a feature that will go unnoticed and I promise to follow-up on the developments around it.

Read about Hot Keywords too.

Keyword Research Service – Best Served Hot

The SEO/SEM world is a dynamic field of occupation – that’s a fact. I would even compare it to a living organism. Sometimes it’s all calm and mellow in a routine progression of research, testing, optimization and tweaking. At other times it’s a hectic, turbulent mass of speculations, premature conclusions and general uncertainty.

That’s the way it has always been, and that’s how we like it – never a bore.

This lack of stability characterizes the Internet Marketing niche across all verticals, and keyword research services are not an exception.

When is keyword research required?

Keyword research is practically always relevant, and in most cases it serves as an eye opener. Whether you’re looking into domain registration, on-page or off-page optimization, content writing or competition research, an adequate keyword research tool is a must. This is especially so when you are in the midst of one of those hectic periods right after another search algorithm update or a revolutionary feature launch. Keyword research services are invaluable in trying to assess the affects of these shifts in the industry on actual search behavior. If the traffic flow for a given keyword you rank highly for is changing, be that in your favor or against you, I’m sure you would want to know about it as soon as possible. And I don’t mean a change which is relevant to your site only. There are ups and downs which we are all aware of. I mean a wide scale shift in query input, click through rates etc.

It’s no big news that keyword research service providers experience peaks in revenue around major search algorithm updates or feature introductions. Webmasters and SEO/SEM professionals flock to their keyword research tools in an attempt to make sense of what’s going on and to try and predict the possible ways the wind may blow. That is why research into keywords has always been about trends – when something’s hot, everyone tries to tap into that buzz. It doesn’t have to be search algorithm related. Most of the time, it isn’t. That which is hot is thoroughly researched as a part of an ongoing optimization effort that should tap into that controversial issue everyone seems interested in at the moment. That’s what I mean when I claim that keyword research is always relevant – there is always something new that seems to be generating excitement online. Because this excitement is largely translated into massive volumes of traffic directed by search engines, publishing well optimized content or tweaking you PPC campaign accordingly is the way to go. And the best guide along that way is KeywordShack – the advanced keyword research tool that gives you more.