How comfortable are you with Google’s prerendering capabilities? Do you like the idea of your site loading faster in Chrome thanks to this technology? The idea behind Instant Pages is to immediate load the top search result for a particular query, so, when it’s clicked, it immediately loads up in your browser. Naturally, when Google discusses this technology, it refers to its Chrome browser, the prerendering works in the following browsers:
Chrome v5 or higher, Firefox v3/4, Safari v5 for Mac and Internet Explorer v8/9.
As for Instant Pages, a quick look at some of the cons that immediately popped up shows they are awfully weak, if not outright laughable:
There are those, however, that believe Google Instant can waste much time as it saves. “You could end up getting distracted by the suggestions and read an article that you weren’t even looking for,” Heather McClain, 16, a waitress, told the BBC. “It will probably end up costing you more time than it saves you.”
Or it could be Heather is like most tween Internet users who get distracted by just about anything.
Another check in the con column against Google Instant is that it may hurt SEO marketers. Searchers will be less likely to click through to a second page of search results, critics say, which will give marketers fewer keywords to work with.
Since when was it Google’s job to ensure SEO remains a viable industry?
All of that aside, over at the Google Webmaster Central Blog, there’s a post discussing the benefits of Instant Pages. The amount of time save particularly stood out:
We’ve been closely watching performance and listening to webmaster feedback. Since Instant Pages rolled out we’ve saved more than a thousand years of ours users’ time. We’re very happy with the results so far, and we’ll be gradually increasing how often we trigger the feature.
For those of you worried about pageviews and are worried about how prerendering will affect these numbers, Google addresses this too:
…only results the user visits will be counted. If your site keeps track of pageviews on its own, you might be interested in the Page Visibility API, which allows you to detect when prerendering is occurring and factor those out of your statistics. If you use an ads or analytics package, check with them to see if their solution is already prerender-aware; if it is, in many cases you won’t need to make any changes at all.
For those of you who are lamenting the fact that your site isn’t near the top of the results for keywords you’re targeting, Instant Pages isn’t going to help or hurt you. With that in mind, it’s isn’t going to hurt if your site is at the top of the results, either. In fact, the opposite seems a lot more likely, especially if your site ranks highly for a competitive keyword.