Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP tread the line between the quality and trustworthiness of your site and its actual performance on search results. This Google innovation stands in the place where your digital marketing efforts and search engine algorithms intersect.
Google launched AMP in 2015 to support mobile-friendly websites and in keeping with its inevitable transition to mobile-first index. AMP-certified pages have small lightning bolts when they appear on search engine results.But are accelerated mobile pages necessary to your SEO efforts? How do they work and what is their main purpose?
Google partnered with Twitter to launch the AMP Project in October 2015. This joint initiative is open-source and can be replicated or distributed on various platforms. Its primary goal is to build fast and high-performing mobile pages, thereby enhancing user experience.
AMP helps developers restructure websites so that they easily load and can be accessed on mobile. Although this sounds no different from installing a mobile-responsive design, the guiding principles behind AMP transcend beyond that.
At its core, AMP is a simplified form of HTML. It makes use of light codes and specific types of tags. This means heavy codes used for desktop versions are out of the question. To a limited extent, developers can use CSS but are required to streamline their CSS codes. Referencing external style sheets is not possible.
This open-source initiative is often confused with mobile optimisation. While mobile optimisation produces mobile-friendly websites, AMP focuses on mobile speed and content delivery. They load quickly on any device and on any browser.
Inventing AMP is Google's way of saying it's about time websites improve their page speed and give mobile users a valuable browsing experience. If you are currently in the middle of an SEO or digital marketing campaign, installing AMP HTML codes alongside a responsive web design offers the following advantages:
AMP protocols boost your page's search rankings and expose your site to more organic traffic. Accelerated pages increase your website's chances of appearing on the AMP carousel but have no effect on domain or page authority.
The AMP carousel is a horizontal, swipeable display of web pages with related content. Complete with image and text snippets, they often appear just above search engine results along with the AMP logo.
AMP carousel has a selective algorithm, which means your website may not appear on every carousel of every query. Appearing on a few carousels, however, can make a significant difference in your mobile site's organic search rankings.
Studies show that most users do not have patience for slow websites. Websites that take longer than 3 seconds to load lose a great chunk of their profitability. Accelerated mobile pages help websites overcome this setback.
40 percent of users tend to abandon websites that are not up to speed. Even a second's delay is crucial. An article on Kissmetrics asserts that e-commerce stores may run the risk of losing $2.5 million per year for a mere delay of 1 second.
Websites that load fast, are easy to navigate, look clean, and have various functionalities encourage users to browse deeper. They are more likely to respond to built-in and embedded features on your site including videos, subscription buttons and forms.
Fast loading pages make content readily available to potential customers. Clients sincerely interested in what you have to offer will deliberately click on your site. However, no matter how good your website looks or captivating your content is, loading issues are more than enough to turn your clients away.
On average, websites take 22 seconds to load. With a lot of competitors at hand, beyond 22 seconds is already a loss for your business.
By coding your mobile pages according to AMP guidelines, your potential clients will have little time to browse other websites. Once you engage them with your web content, all that's left is for them to contact you and make an inquiry.
The truth is, search engine optimised websites are everywhere in cyberspace, only a handful know what AMP is. Or that it even exists.
That is why now is the perfect time to convert your old HTML codes to AMP. It seems like many websites are now mobile-responsive and optimised for search engines. But whether these sites are coded based on Goole's accelerated HTML specifications is another story.
You can guarantee that a number of your competitors have yet to incorporate AMP into their website HTML source code. If you're currently doing SEO, this will double your advantage over websites still using traditional coding styles.
Sticky content, your content's ability to increase the amount of time users spend on your page, is a big boon to online businesses. Couple this with an impressive load speed and you are likely to encourage more customers to remain on your site. Based on data acquired early in 2017, Google AMP was able to increase dwell time by 10 percent.
It is also important to note the AMP carousel requires you to follow HTML specifications before featuring your site. There are significant differences between a traditional source code an an AMP HTML source code. To feature on the carousel, you need to follow these recommendations:
➨ Add an image you want to appear on the swipeable panel
➨ Use recommended HTML style sheets and CSS codes
➨ Add a canonical tag recommended by the coding guide
➨ Create accelerated mobile page versions of each page on your website
➨ List down your priority search queries
➨ Provide fresh and relevant content with your target keyword on the header tag (H1)
➨ Minify images and other on-page elements
➨ Test your page until you achieve the page load speed required by search engines
Visit Google's AMP guidelines or go to the AMP Project website to know what HTML format you should and should not use.
Implementing AMP protocols has two caveats. One, tutorials and resources provided by Google require some knowledge on web development or website design. If it's hard to overcome the learning curve on your won, you need professionals to guide you through the process. Second, there's only so much that Google Analytics can do. While you have data on user search behaviour, you're left to your own devices when optimising your website's UX.
In conclusion, converting all your web pages to AMP HTML can be a tall order. If your website has tons of pages, this will take a lot of time. Current SEO practices do not make this new HTML innovation mandatory. But much like mobile-responsive web designs, now that the mobile-first index has started rolling out, accelerated mobile pages will eventually be necessary.
So if you're ready to accelerate your mobile page, do it now while you still have the advantage. Work with your resident developer or find a website development company to help you convert your source codes to AMP HTML.