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Google Instant Preview trouble?

Msg#: 4386756 posted 3:34 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi guys,

I hope this has been posted in the right place. I've Googled every web forum I could find and this one seems to be the only alive looking one I can find. You see, I have a problem. Who'd have thought it? Anyway, I've posted this same question 4 times on the Google forums and on another well known forum but no help.

The problem:
Whenever I search for my site in Google the previews are completely and utterly wrong and it's like that for most of my pages. It does have JavaScript in it and I thought that may be the cause, however Google is displaying a few of my pages absolutely fine and they contain the same JavaScript and coding as the others.

Because it is a site that sells things, it's hugely important that everything looks good and I'm afraid the the site preview is preventing people from entering our site. Our hits have dropped quite a bit and I'm pretty sure it's because of the preview making our site look bad.

I've tried the preview tool in Webmasters and it returns it perfectly, as it should look like and the cached versions of the sites are also fine. Why is Google having so much trouble to get the previews right?

I've also validated my entire site and cleared up all of the important errors and still nothing. It's been like this for more than a month and I'm close to pulling out all of my hair.

Where have I gone wrong and what can I do to sort it?
If someone can spot the problem then I will so freaking happy! Argh.

I apologize if this is in the wrong place, I'm just so tired of trying find the solution now. :/

[edited by: tedster at 4:24 pm (utc) on Nov 14, 2011]



WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4386756 posted 6:12 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hello That_Girl, and welcome to the forums.

Why is Google having so much trouble to get the previews right?

In what way are the Previews "wrong"? Is the content completely incorrect, or is it correct but formatted incorrectly, or is it just out of date?


WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Msg#: 4386756 posted 6:24 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

The issue *might* be previews.. but if your traffic has dropped significantly recently, then don't rule out other factors too.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4386756 posted 6:47 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

In what way are they "wrong"?

Is it a layout issue because Google is failing to retrieve the stylesheet, or is it completely the wrong content or the content missing?


Msg#: 4386756 posted 7:05 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google uses the Android platform to generate the previews, so if you want to know what your site will look like in the preview, look at it on an Android smartphone. If you use the window size in your javascript anywhere, on an Android browser it can be bigger than the actual screen which can muck things up rather.

There are some other things it does too. I inadvertently had hidden text in my header on one site, because I set a dark image as the background, with white text positioned over the top. The rest of the page was white. I couldn't work out why the preview showed my page without any header, until I realised it was ignoring it because without the image loaded, all the header consisted of was white text on white background. A simple background-color:black addition to the header CSS style fixed that.


Msg#: 4386756 posted 7:25 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh another thing to bear in mind is that Googlebot only fetches your CSS file periodically, so if you change the CSS, it could be a few weeks before the preview reflects that change. You can force it to generate a new preview by changing the name of your CSS file, then Googlebot will grab it the next time it crawls your page.


Msg#: 4386756 posted 9:55 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have the same problem right now and the agent_x is right about the CSS file update.


Msg#: 4386756 posted 9:51 am on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Firstly, to open up my e-mail and read that I've actually got replies made me silently squeal for joy. That's how sad my life currently is, ha.

Thank you everyone for responding!

The problem with it is that it's showing the old header image and nothing is where it should be. For example, I have a sidebar on the left and the Google preview has decided it would look better in the top right corner, next to the header. Everything has been repositioned and isn't where it should be, which is weird.

Oh, I never thought of doing that, agent_x! Thank you, I'll go and try it now.

Thank you everyone!


Msg#: 4386756 posted 4:26 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

Oh my goodness. I could fall off my chair from shock right now.

So as I was about to check when Google last crawled my main page the most amazing thing ever happened: The preview showed absolutely perfectly! I changed the CSS file just after lunch and well, Google has decided it's liked that change and is now being nice to me! Thank you SO much Agent, I owe you so much. I can now go to work every day without banging my head against my desk in utter frustration. Thank you thank you thank you!

And thank you to everyone else who has got involved also.

It's done. Finally. Breatheeee.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member g1smd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 4386756 posted 4:42 pm on Nov 15, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is very likely that you'll see the preview image revert back to the old one for a while, then show the new one, then revert to the old one, many times for at least the next few weeks.

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