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It may have escaped your attention, but if you now run a Google search for anything, a small magnifying glass appears next to the headline text for every entry. The first time you click on this little icon, you activate Google Instant Preview. By hovering your mouse over the entry, a reduced version of the webpage to which the link will take you appears on the right hand side.
It's a clever idea and saves time clicking backwards and forwards between each entry and your orginal search page in an effort to find the right content. Sure, there are still some fairly major bugs to iron out for the developer brigade - not least in the effect it has on website analytics and Flash - but for the random search jockeys (about 95% of the internet population) it's an invaluable tool.
However, with my professional web content writer's hat on, Google Instant Preview offers some interesting challenges. Clearly, tightly written content and the position of keywords in H1 and H2 text is going to be even more vital; getting key messages across early in the page content more essential; the marriage between content writers and website designers needs to be even stronger, whether they like it or not.
Any good writer, whether for the web or traditional media, always strives to get the the five W's (who. what, when, where, why) into the opening paragraph of any piece of editorial. But Google's new technlogy has given writers an even greater challenge of balancing the five W's with very strong Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) elements. It may, also, force website designers to consult with content providers earlier in the process which, in my opinion, is never a bad thing.
So, Google's latest bit of wizardry appears destined to make my life both easier and more challenging at the same time.
Published 24th November, 2010