In a quest to deliver fast and frictionless content experiences for mobile, Google offers brands and publishers a solution.
Parts of the mobile web are getting faster—much faster—because of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Since Google debuted its AMP Project in February 2016, adopters of these 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.
At Manifest, we’ve been leveraging the AMP framework for our clients for the past few years and have seen AMP code enhance search visibility and help our clients extend their content’s reach to mobile users, driving an 88 percent year-over-year increase in sessions to AMP pages. Additionally, we have seen older content receive renewed search visibility when formatted for this mobile experience.
There is nothing not to like about that type of performance. But is Google AMP a fit for your brand? Here are six common questions about AMP along with the answers to help you figure out whether this mobile-friendly tool is right for you.
1. What is Google AMP?
AMP is an open-source website publishing technology that lets users create webpages that load almost instantly on mobile. Its purpose is to speed up the display of web content for mobile users.
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 mobile speed and performance.”
2. Where are my AMP pages in the search results?
In the beginning, stories housed in AMP were mostly found in the Top Stories section of search results. Since then, AMP framework has advanced significantly to support a large array of on-page elements and options.
AMP pages now appear in Google search results on mobile just as your standard links appear in Google—and in news feeds once Google has crawled and verified your AMP’d pages.
AMP results appear with a little lightning bolt icon beside them, like this:
It is important to keep in mind that being eligible for a certain search feature doesn’t guarantee the display of that feature, according to Google.
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.
Although 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 about Google. This could change, right?
It certainly seems possible. Google’s rollout of AMP to its entire organic search results may foreshadow changes. For instance, in 2015, Google offered web developers early warnings before the mobile friendliness rankings signal took effect.
If history repeats itself and AMP becomes widely accepted, expect AMP to turn into a ranking signal.
5. What are the pros and cons of AMP?
With AMP pages, another step forward on the road to a new integrated internet experience, Google aims to build a framework for web designers to easily create mobile-ready webpages.
Let’s look at a few advantages and disadvantages of AMP pages.
Three pros of AMP:
- Standardized mobile optimization: Accepting and using AMP standards provides a ruler for measuring what’s mobile-ready and what isn’t.
- Increased speeds: Visitors are more likely to engage with content and make purchases on pages when they know the process will be quick and hassle-free. That means shorter load times.
- Increased visibility: AMP pages are eligible for Google’s Top Stories carousel, which sits at or near the top of the search results pages. Since 2016, Google has featured AMP pages in organic search results.
And a few cons of AMP:
- Bounce potential: 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.
- Tracking problems: AMP pages do not work with already implemented tracking. AMP pages take special effort and resources to implement so tracking might not be immediately available.
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 time to explore what it will take to create AMP pages from a development and investment standpoint. Consider implementing AMP on some of your site’s critical pages: informational pages, blog posts, contact pages, etc.
That way, you’ll be prepared to move quickly if Google confirms AMP as a ranking signal. That’s important because Google could make AMP a ranking signal with little or no notice.