A boost to your mobile website speed and SEO?
In this time and era of the World Wide Web, eCommerce and News feeds, you can find literally everything online. All it takes is opening your smartphone or tablet and you have instant access to the Internet and an entire world of searching and shopping at your fingertips.
Lately, during your mobile searches, you might have noticed the lightning bolt on the left of some of the websites appearing in your search. This would identify that the website is using Accelerated Mobile Pages, or (AMP).
1.) Exactly what is Google (AMP)?
Basically, this is a combined project from Google and Twitter to try and serve up quicker loading mobile web pages. At its core, it basically is a stripped down, no-nonsense version of HTML that is very lightweight with fewer bells and whistles.
In the minds of Google, this project came in response to something that is currently happening with Facebook, the social media giant. Heard of Facebook Instant Articles? It’s a joint project between Facebook and Apple News. Google wanted to create something similar, but with ability for all website niches to create faster loading mobile pages.
“We want webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously.”
David Besbris, Google Vice President Engineering
2.) How do Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages work?
Accelerated Mobile Pages, AMP for short, uses HTML5 and a page cache system as it’s core function. The cache system works similar to a CDN (content deivery network). When a request is made to the server by the user, a cached version of the web page is sent for the user. This also then stays stored on the server and will quickly load for the next user.
AMP pages are different from the typical mobile site.
“Assuming your site has a desktop version, a mobile version and an AMP version, the desktop version will be the canonical (preferred version), and the mobile and AMP versions will each be annotated separately as alternates.”
Jim Robinson CEO of Quickseed
The basic point of AMP is readability and speed. Having the pages load faster and making it easier for people to have quicker access for mobile content. Leave everything else aside, like fancy images, moving graphics and the like, for the people who are accessing the Internet via desktop computers. Ads can still be used, but with restrictions on their size and placement.
There have been nearly 6000 developers in over 30 countries that have signed on to the project since it’s inception, with literally thousands of mobile websites already using this. This is an open source project, making it more acceptable and relative for all interested developers – for free.
Are you going to be next on the list?
3.) Which type of websites are currently using AMP?
In the beginning, most of the sites using AMP were News Publisher websites. But now, there are currently over 700,000 websites publishing their content with AMP. Many website niches out there are developing and taking advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Forbes, Washington Post, Gizmodo, and Wired are just a few of the bigger sites that have decided to use AMP. Ebay has taken advantage of AMP and created over 8 million AMP-based “browse nodes” for their listing products. AMP is really catching on for eCommerce websites and their product pages.
Sales and conversions are highly dependent on quick loading websites. Product pages can become more simplified and yet still be effective. So, AMP has been a very enticing option for eCommerce owners. Keeping a low bounce rate and high conversion rate is the name of the game when selling online!
4.) Google’s Reason for creating AMP.
Google wants their users to experience higher loading speed when using their search engine and clicking on websites. Although Google dominates the search market share, there is still competition to be had. Quicker loading websites, especially on mobile devices, should and will attract more users to their search engine.
With over 50% and (increasing rapidly) of people using the Internet on their mobile device, it is not surprising that Google has made this jump to the next stage. First it was responsive websites coming to age, and now we are seeing the importance of speed, especially on our cell phones. Google would like to keep their users on mobile, as they have 5 of the 9 most installed mobile apps.
5.) What do Accelerated Mobile Pages mean for SEO?
We already know that AMP pages were designed for quicker speed and loading for the mobile web. Website speed optimization is one of the bigger factors for visitor retention and soon to be a ranking signal for Google. With lighter coded Accelerated Mobile Pages using a cache system, these pages load quickly on the mobile device.
This gives a slight edge to the organic SEO search results. It has been said by Google that AMP websites wont get a massive boost in the SERPS, but by having AMP, the user experience will be quicker and better.
Also, AMP search results are appearing on top in News carousels as seen below:
There are several ways to optimize your mobile web site for speed, so as of now, there should not be any panic to create new AMP pages. This project is still in the early stages, and more will be revealed on the effects of SEO.
6.) What are some of the potential downsides of Google AMP?
There are limitations on the code you can use when creating and integrating AMP into your web site. A specific javacript library has to be adhered to. Ads and images will be scaled down. And AMP will present a more basic form and non flashy and less dynamic web page. This would be the cost for quicker loading web pages.
There is a learning curve for developing AMP for web site platforms. WordPress has come out with some very useful plugins and is off to a good start for integrating AMP. But, unless you are a web developer or don’t have a lot of experience with these type of plugins, you may have to hire a developer to create AMP for your website.
Also, when a reader wants to share a link to an AMP website’s content while searching through Google, the link will point to Google.com’s URLs. So this would play a big role in sharing content, content marketing and content strategy. I am guessing this will be resolved in the near future, as inbound linking and sharing content is certainly on the rise.
7.) Does AMP have a solid future for the Mobile Web?
Seeing as how less propriety AMP is compared to Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News, this bodes well for the community of developers and users that want to take advantage of lightning fast mobile pages. All source code is readily available, and creating AMP is becoming much easier and accessible. This sets a bright tone for the future development of AMP and it’s users.
Not everything Google comes out with, succeeds. The Authorship Markup project did not quite succeed as Google had intended. Publishers having to deal with code modifications that would require their writers to set up Google Plus accounts, didn’t bode very well. So time will reveal how AMP continues to catch on and grow…or not.
What is the Bottom Line?
The bottom line is that overall this is going to make a much nicer, much faster loading experience for your mobile users. And when the mobile users can access your site more readily, they will stay longer. This is going to ultimately lead to ranking higher in search engines.
Additionally, sites that have implemented AMP have had higher click-through rates (CTR) and they have seen much higher revenue generated in just the short amount of time since this system has rolled out.
It is also going to potentially lead to more sales if you are an eCommerce site. The more time someone spends on your website, the more likely they are to buy.