Google AMP : Things you should know
For the first time in web history mobile internet users surpassed desktop net users last year and it is a no-brainer that this will keep on increasing. And this surge in mobile net users is what prompted Google, on collaboration with Twitter, to create Accelerated Mobile Pages fondly known as AMPs. AMP is an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices.
According to Google AMP can reduce the page load speed by 15% to 85%. It is basically a framework to create mobile pages and has a 3 part framework.
According to production engineer of Pinterest, Jon Parise, “In early tests, we found that AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages. A better, faster mobile web is better for everyone, including users, platforms like Pinterest, and publishers.”
And this change will definitely change a lot of things in SEO as well. We’ll see in this article what those changes are and how can we stay ahead of them.
The effects of AMP
AMPs has definitely affected SEO if not directly. The sites with content, for example news publishing sites, will load faster and Google hopes to improve user experience with AMP.
AMP results are shown horizontally on top of the search results.
How AMP affects SEO ?
There isn’t a direct effect of AMP in SEO but it can affect the website performances indirectly. Check the points given below:
- AMPs do not affect affect search rankings. But as page speed increased the website’s impressions, clicks and traffic can also increase, thus affecting SEO.
- Link building for AMP will not be as effective as that for other sites. This is because URL of AMP pages is still rooted in Google.com, so even if we get links those pages, we won’t get the same link juice and benefit as you would from a regular ordinary page.
- People who click on AMP sites are more likely to engage with the content and read through the content. So basically, AMP is targeted on pages that generally does not create leads, so if you own a lead based website better not waste time on AMPs.
- AMP does not create much effect on ecommerce sites as it’s sole focus is on long content websites. Since ecommerce websites does not fall into that category they remain largely unaffected by AMP update.
Optimizing Your Content for AMP
Yes, you read it right, if you have decided to take the vow with Google’s AMP then you should change your content accordingly, or in other words you should optimize your content for that. Let us see what all changes should be made to your content strategy.
- Catchy headline: It is found in researches that on an average, eight out of 10 people will read the headline copy and only two out of 10 will read the rest. So the first and foremost thing you require is a catchy headline. Your headline should catch the interest of readers at one glance and prompt them to read the entire article.
- Colourful Image: Colourful images increases the tendency of a person to read a content by 80%, researches have said. So if you use standout colourful images then your content would garber more engagement. But remember one thing, do NOT use images that should be enlarged to be legible. This is because AMP does not provide the option to zoom in or out.
- First 100 words: When Google displays the AMP pages it will have the heading, image and the first few words from the content. So your first 100 words are crucial. They should be able to convey what the content is about and should make readers come to your site.
Pros and Cons of AMP Optimization
As any tool, AMP also has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages. So before you decide to set up an AMP page you should go through all these to figure out if it’s going to benefit your website.
- Mobile pages exposure: According to researches mobile sites that takes more than 3 seconds to load has a drop off rate of 40%. With AMP this problem can be corrected and the bounce rate has been reduced.
- Improves server performance: Obviously when mobile takes over most of the traffic the server load is reduced and its performance improves.
- There isn’t much changes you have to make to the content to optimize it for AMP.
- Set-up Time: Even though there is no major rework required, you will still have have to spend some time on the website to optimize it for AMP. This may include rewriting content, installing some pluggins etc.
- Video content: Video will take more time to load and this will not be supported by AMP. Also as stated earlier we cannot zoom the images in AMP
- Pop-ups, sidebars, pop-unders, slide-outs, toolbars, etc are some other features that cannot be optimized with AMP
If any of the above mentioned cons applies to your website or content then you should think again about converting to AMP.
So now that you have a fairly good idea about AMP it’s upto you to take the call. I would like to add one more point, though AMP does not have much of an impact on search rankings or SEO now it may in future. So if you want to gain on digital marketing services it would be good if you can start adapting to the AMP culture slowly but steadily so that you don’t fall behind on the race.