Like a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, many things evolve and are constantly ch-ch-ch-ch-changing! That’s certainly true for Google lately.
There has been a number of changes to the information that you see when you do a Google search. This article gives an overview of the changes, and what they mean for you and your website.
There are three ways that your website can appear on Page One of Google; in the Organic results, from a Google Places listing and via the Google AdWords program. All three ways are mentioned below so if you need more information about them, please check out What you can, and can’t, pay for in Google, and what’s free
1. Google Instant Preview
With this new feature, you can now preview a website straight from the Google search results, without even having to click through to it.
Try doing a Google search and you’ll see a magnifying glass next to the first line of text (the Page Title) in the organic results. Click on the magnifying glass to view the web page in preview mode.
What does Google’s Instant Preview mean for your website?
Because the copy is too small to read, the preview is all about your layout and design. If people don’t find the look of your website appealing in the preview, they might not click through, so your web traffic from search engines could decrease. Alternatively, if your website looks fabulous you might get more click throughs.
Keep an eye on your website traffic via your Google Analytics account so you’ll have an indication of whether or not this change has impacted your website.
Read the Hubspot and Copyblogger articles below to find out how to improve how your website appears in the preview.
Find out more
View the Google Landing Page about Instant Previews and watch a video on how it works.
There is also great info in Copyblogger’s Will your Site Survive the Google Shrink Ray
2. Sponsored Links have a New Name
Previously, paid ads shown in Google as part of the AdWords program were called “Sponsored Links”, but they are now labeled as “Ads”.
What does this change mean for you?
If you are running AdWords, it has been predicted that Click Through Rates will decrease due to the change. I haven’t noticed any significant different in any of the many AdWords accounts that I manage for clients, but I’ll know more when I do my monthly reports at the end of November. Some early comparisons have actually indicated that Click Throughs have increased.
Keep an eye on your Click-Through Rate (CTR) and compare it to previous months so you’ll get an indication of whether or not this change has had an impact on your ads (subject to the other changes that have been made to optimise your AdWords campaigns recently.) Or send me an email if you’d like a complimentary AdWords campaign review.
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3. Google Places results now have more prominence
When you search for a local business, the Google Map with the pointer arrows used to show up on the left hand side, at the top of the organic search results. Now, the map appears at the top of the right hand column, and the Google Places listings have more prominence at the top of the organic listings.
What does this mean for your website?
If you target a local geographic area, it’s now more important than ever to have an optimised Google Places listing. Treat it like a mini version of your website by adding as much content (coupons, photos, reviews etc) as you can and update your listing regularly.
Find out more
All this, and Google Instant has also been rolled out, so that now the search results change as you keep typing your search term. Has this change made it easier or harder to find what you’re looking for?
If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.