Parts of the mobile web are getting faster, much faster, because of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
Since AMP project’s February 2016 debut, adopters of the optimized mobile pages are experiencing substantial performance improvements. The Washington Post, for instance, decreased its article load time on AMP pages by 88 percent. The Post has also seen 23 percent more return visitors from mobile search.
Is Google AMP a fit for you and your brand? Here are six questions you should ask, and the answers you should know.
1) How does AMP work?
AMP pages are hosted on a company’s existing domain yet are separate from the website’s existing pages. Therefore, AMP pages can have a uniquely designed user experience. According to Google, “Since AMP HTML is built on existing web technologies, and not a template-based system, publishers continue to host their own content, innovate on their user experiences, and flexibly integrate their advertising and business models—all within a technical architecture optimized for speed and performance.”
2) Where is AMP available?
In the beginning, stories housed in AMP were mostly found in the Top Stories section of search results. In August, Google announced AMP will roll out across all organic search results pages.
3) Will AMP help a page’s ranking?
Not directly. AMP isn’t a ranking signal. You won’t get a lift from having AMP pages. Nor will you be penalized for not having them.
That said, AMP speeds up load times, and page speed is a ranking signal. If Google evaluates two articles that are equal on other ranking factors, Google ranks the faster one higher. So while Google doesn’t say AMP is a ranking signal, it seems likely that if two webpages are equal in all other respects, but only one uses AMP HTML, the AMP page may rank higher.
4) C’mon, we’re talking Google. This could change, right?
We think so. Google’s rollout of AMP to its entire organic search results may foreshadow changes. For instance, in 2015, Google offered web developers early warnings prior to the mobile friendliness rankings signal taking effect. If history repeats itself, and AMP becomes widely accepted, expect AMP to turn into a ranking signal.
5) What’s the downside of AMP?
We recognize a few downsides:
- AMP keeps visitors in Google’s ecosystem, which could result in limited or decreased engagement with other site content.
- Clicking a Top Stories carousel link loads an AMP page with the option to swipe for more AMP content. This feature limits the likelihood of a visitor staying on your site.
6) Should I give AMP a shot?
First and foremost, if your site is not mobile friendly, make it so. Mobile friendliness is already a ranking signal.
We encourage our clients to use this uncertain time to explore what it will take to create AMP pages from a development and investment standpoint. You’ll be prepared to move quickly if Google confirms AMP as a ranking signal. That’s important, because Google could confirm AMP as a ranking signal at any time, with no notice.
Find AMP developer resources at AMPProject.org.