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With the launch of instant previews for natural search results in November last year, and previews now being shown for paid search results (reported in March 2011: Page Previews in AdWords – Quality is Key) Google have now introduced a neat little tool held within your Webmaster Tools account.
The Instant Previews Tool allows you to see how your page will look in a preview state and any errors.
The tool can be found under the ‘Labs’ section of your Webmaster Tools account. Here you enter the page you want to check, and click Compare. The tool will then render the page as it would appear as an Instant Preview.
Underneath the previews Google will report on any errors experienced with previewing the page.
The primary advantage of this is that you’ll get to see any potential errors before searchers do. Therefore if Google can’t read a particular element on the page, rendering the preview ineffective, you can make the necessary adjustments. This is particularly true of Flash type images, which may make you think twice about using these – certainly excessively.
We tested it for some of our clients and what we saw in the tool was slightly different from the actual search results page previews – it would appear the actual page previews show better than the Labs diagnostic tool!
Has anyone been using this tool with any success? It has been interesting to get some insight in to what the Googlebot reports back on pages.