Google has added a new tool in the Labs section of Google Webmaster Tools. This tool will help webmasters diagnose problems related to Instant Previews, a search feature that shows a visual preview of search results. Since its launch, the feature has been updated and improved but has been receiving complaints and problems from its users. The company said,
“When we see issues with preview images, they are frequently due to:
- Blocked resources due to a robots.txt entry
- Cloaking: Erroneous content being served to the Googlebot user-agent
- Poor alternative content when Flash is unavailable”
This new tool is designed to troubleshoot issues such as mentioned above. It is available for English users only, for now. Using this tool, you can watch the preview of any page on your site by enter the URL of the page.
Google also said that both the renders (shown by the tool) uses a recent build of Webkit which includes no plugins such as Flash or Silverlight. Therefore, you should consider providing alternative content for these situations that would be helpful for search engines and benefit visitors without the plugin. They also said that they can provide automated feedback on problems that they can detect, for instance, missing or roboted resources.
There are various comments on the tool, of which a common “issues for "roboted", and "fetch failure" on images” can be seen. There is also a Webmaster World and Google Webmaster Help thread each on the tool where you can read comments or post your own queries if you have.