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Google Testing SERPs Where Only PPC Ads Have Instant Previews

 4:33 pm on Mar 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today I noticed a little drop-down arrow in my Google results right next to the URL. The options on the URL are "cached", "share", and sometimes "similar." More interestingly, in the results where I see this test, instant previews have been removed for organic results and are only available to the PPC advertisers. Makes sense to Google I'm sure, why allow users to cover up the right side ppc ads with an instant preview? I don't like that they've left the instant preview option in place for PPC ads. That's just one more paid "feature" to reduce the impact of organic.


Robert Charlton

 8:04 pm on Mar 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

That's just one more paid "feature" to reduce the impact of organic.

I haven't seen this in serps yet, so I currently have no reactions to it. It may or may not stick.

Worth noting, though, that when Instant Previews for organic results were first announced, some members felt that Instant Previews for organic would be hurting organic, and some felt they would be obscuring PPC. See discussion from Nov 2010...

Beyond Instant Results: Instant Previews - officially announced
http://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4228491.htm [webmasterworld.com]


 8:17 pm on Mar 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today I noticed a little drop-down arrow in my Google results right next to the URL. The options on the URL are "cached", "share", and sometimes "similar."

Wow that sounds quite a bit like Bing, again.

Where do these incredible new ideas Google has come from I wonder? You know, the ones like when they tried to force a background picture on people and switching to 8 results per page in some cases and the look and feel of their image search and lol

I do find it slightly humorous they made such a huge stink about Bing "copying their results" when they have obviously followed the lead of Bing on so many occasions. How long ago did Bing go totally away from previews?

Robert Charlton

 10:03 pm on Mar 29, 2013 (gmt 0)

OK, now I see them. I'd describe the setup slightly differently, in that the Instant Previews are available only for the AdWords ads above the organic results.

When these previews display, all side AdWords ads vanish... ie, the right column isn't partially covered up if the ads extend below the preview. The ads in the right hand column disappear while the preview is displayed. Also, to note again... the AdWords ads to the side get no previews, at least in what I'm seeing.

I'm assuming that the Instant Previews, from the beginning, whether for organic or for ads, were intended to reduce unnecessary clicks. As such, they must have reduced clicks to some organic results, increased them to others, depending on the pages.

Previews on AdWords at the top would arguably have similar click behavior, but the Preview on these would probably make the clicks more likely to convert, thus making them more attractive to advertisers who are at the top. Maximizes satisfaction for top ranked advertisers (ie, as ranked in AdWords). That's my take on it, anyway.

I have no guess to venture at this time whether the new arrangement would affect organic click-throughs more than ads at the top already have.

The cache link, in a small circle that's displayed right in the organic serp, just after the url, is very Bing-like, and an improvement over what Google's had for a while, of hiding the cache link in the Preview.


 7:12 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

< moved from another location >

Noticed today that the Google is no longer showing a preview of websites when you hover over the link.

Also, they now have a dropdown arrow to reveal "Cached" and "Similar" ala Bing...

[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 9:36 pm (utc) on Apr 6, 2013]
[edit reason] moved from another location [/edit]

Robert Charlton

 9:40 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

Convergence - What do you observe about previews for the AdWords ads above the fold?

brotherhood of LAN

 9:47 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

When logged out I see:
- Arrows on top PPC links, no "share","cached", "similar" links.
- "cached" and "similar" links on organic, above screenshot
- no "share" link

When logged in I see:
- Arrows on top PPC links, no "share","cached", "similar" links.
- "cached" and "similar" links on organic, above screenshot
- "share" link next to URL


 9:47 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)


Did not notice that. However, things appear to have reverted...


 10:45 pm on Apr 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

It depends on the browser-- or rather, on the perceived age of the browser. Thanks to the "like Firefox 3.6" in its UA string, Camino is often interpreted as an old browser although it isn't really. This is sometimes useful and informative.

You get different versions of search based on UA detection. Same thing happens with image search: "old" browsers get the older version, without the lightbox business. (But with a full page load if you ask for a closer look, so you really can't win.)

"old" browsers (Camino, MSIE 5), not logged in: "Cached" and sometimes "Similar"
"new" browsers (Safari, Firefox, Chrome, Opera), ditto: no "Cached" or "Similar", but preview arrows on hover

I don't think the presence or absence of "Similar" is significant. So it's either "cached/similar" or preview but not both.

Detour to raw logs shows a dramatic change in Preview hits over the past year. At the beginning of 2012 it was nothing but Google Preview; then Bing Preview started showing up and is now about half and half. Not only because bing numbers have gone up but because google preview numbers have gone down.


 12:37 am on Apr 7, 2013 (gmt 0)

Logged in SERPs have previews on left column ads and organic results but no previews on right column ads - there is a share link beside organic titles.

Logged out SERPs are the same as above but without the "share" link.

Logged in or out, the preview covers up everything on the right side. I'd love to see the G results use the same "cache/similar" link as Bing though.


 9:09 pm on Apr 9, 2013 (gmt 0)

Just now seeing the instant preview for the top 3 ads, but not on the right side ads, and not for "organic" results (those have the drop down arrow)...


 6:28 pm on Apr 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

Today I've got previews with a link to "cached" in blue next to the URL or breadcrumbs depending on which is present. When I view the preview I get a link to similar next to the URL on the preview itself, but the similar link is only present for some previews.

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