Google AMPs: On Improving Your Site’s SEO & Mobile Usability
According to mobile usability data on page load speed, statistics show that roughly 40% of visitors will click off a page that takes more than 3 seconds to load. That represents a huge chunk of mobile web users, and many wasted opportunities for businesses, publishers, and website owners. And when these usability and engagement metrics drop, SEO performance can hinder as well.
Google, alongside several large publishers, came up with a mobile-friendly solution for developers called the AMP Project. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages – a project supported by Google whereby a new standard can be adopted by developers and publishers to have their pages load faster and transition more seamlessly on mobile devices. Not only will this effort help to create a better user experience for mobile users, but it can also enable businesses to improve their SEO by meeting quality standards of Google.
Tyler Tafelsky, the senior SEO specialist at Captivate Search Marketing, a Google SEO company in Atlanta, states that “AMPs are quickly becoming a competitive edge, especially for publishers and content hubs that thrive on high volume traffic, lasting engagement, and loyal readership.”
So what do AMPs have in store and how do they work? Below we share a bit more insight on Google’s new Accelerated Mobile Pages and how you can leverage them.
The Nuts & Bolts Behind Google AMPs
From the point-of-view of a SEO-friendly web developer, Google AMPs have three main components:
- AMP HTML – This is essentially basic HTML that has additional, custom AMP properties. Most HTML tags stay the same, but image tags for instance, are replaced with AMP-specific tags. These include the size and dimensions of the image so that even if the image hasn’t loaded, it has its place on the page – preventing that jumpiness when a page loads its layout.
- Google AMP Cache – This is a proxy-based delivery network that fetches AMP HTML pages, caches them and improves page performance automatically.
While this technical-speak may or may not make sense, there’s more big-picture reasoning why Google AMPs might want to be atop your mobile marketing strategy in the coming months.
The Movement Toward Accelerated Mobile Pages
Currently, there are over 150 million AMPs in Google. Most are news publishers, but the likes of Disney and Reddit are but a few big names to have joined the ranks. The major reason for adopting Google AMPs seems to be the movement toward content prioritization – Google even coining the phrase, “Content is King, User Experience is Queen.” This sheds light on how important the roles of content marketing and social media on SEO and generating quality traffic.
With the evolution of technology and expectations rising, the attention span of web users is steadily decreasing. In order to keep visitors engaged on a website, content needs to be delivered ASAP and in easily-digestible format. The worst outcome for a publisher or content marketer is not delivering the information that users seek due to mere technicalities teamed with a lack of patience.
In Google’s mobile search results, AMPs are identified with a blue lightning bolt symbol next to the URL listing. Whilst being an AMP or not won’t make a difference in the organic search results, Google argues that the lightning bolt symbol will entice consumers to choose that article over non-AMPs in an aim to view content more efficiently, further encouraging companies to take the plunge into the world of AMPs.
On top of these benefits, performance is guaranteed and there is no need to spend a lot of money repurposing content (which is often the case for search marketers who religious infuse SEO and content marketing strategies.
Not So Fast
There are some debated cons surfacing the search marketing community around what AMPs mean to publishers and businesses. Some argue that publishers are being pushed back as there is free access to Google’s entire cache. But as a site is served from Google, we can’t tell how the data comes back to the publisher. Some could be lost and some could fall in the wrong hands.
This is one area that will unfold an interesting future for Accelerated Mobile Pages. However, David Bresbis (VP of Engineering at Google) advises site owners to “focus on creating great content with a unique voice no matter how it’s being published.” In an era where information is provided in abundance, it is the information that is highest quality that measures up.
The Future of AMP
Right now, the movement toward AMPs for businesses, brands, and publishers is growing, with Google continuously refining its project for seamless integration. Early adoption from big players like Buzzfeed will help to set the trend of creating screamingly fast, mobile-optimized content, setting the standard for consumer’s expectations of page load time.
Are you interested in implementing AMPs for your website? We recommend setting-up a test site and seeing how your technology integrates with it. See the official website of Google’s AMP Project to learn more and get started!