29 Oct 2010, 1 min read.
Google is testing website previews in the search results. For some users, when hovering over a search results, the background becomes a blue gradient. If you click on the magnifying glass, you can see a preview of the website. Once you click on the magnifying glass once, you can move your mouse on top of the other search results to scroll between previews.
Website previews have been available for some time through Firefox plugins, but this is the first time we have seen the functionality from Google itself. Moving forward, websites will need to focus on making all pages look clean and appealing to users. Websites that feature large images on their homepage with images will resonate with users, and pages that preview well may get more clicks and start climbing the rankings.
Update 11/09/2010: Google officially announced this feature today. It is called “instant previews”. If you don’t want your website to appear in the instant previews, you will have to use a no-snippet meta tag on each page. Google says this “new search feature that helps people find information faster by showing a visual preview of each result”. An additional feature is that the instant previews will highlight relevant parts of the page that match the user’s query and predicted search intent.