AMP-Up Your Mobile Search Efforts Now

Those who heeded the warnings of Mobilegeddon and now have pages designated “mobile-friendly” have found that users strongly prefer the mobile-friendly pages and reward them with clicks. Google has just upped the ante with its announcement earlier this month that accelerated mobile pages (AMP) would soon be receiving a special notation in the search results.

Google AMPIf you put mobile on the back-burner with the passing of Mobilegeddon in April 2015, you made a huge mistake.

First, mobile searches have continued to grow and now outnumber those done from the desktop. Mobile devices have now become the de facto tool in the hands of almost everyone. The diversity of searches on mobile reflect this.

Mobile search is no longer confined to busy individuals looking for flower shops, restaurants and pizza stores. Yes! Mobile search is still used for finding local eateries and services, but today there is a much broader diversity of searches.

Those who heeded the warnings of Mobilegeddon and now have pages designated “mobile-friendly” have found that users strongly prefer the mobile-friendly pages and reward them with clicks. Google has just upped the ante with its announcement earlier this month that accelerated mobile pages (AMP) would soon be receiving a special notation in the search results. This advance warning from Google should give site owners some time to develop their solutions before this designation is rolled out worldwide.

AMP Adds New Urgency for Mobile SEO

AMP pages are the result of an open-source initiative envisioned to help publishers create mobile-optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere. Thousands of developers have worked on creating this project.

Google has long touted speed as a key SEO element, so savvy SEO practitioners have sought every available means to speed their pages. Users don’t abandon fast-loading pages, and Google uses reduced bounce rates as one of its algorithmic measures. Google has noted that 40 percent of users will abandon any website that takes more than three seconds to load. Mobile pages often take at least eight seconds to load.

Slow-loading mobile pages lead to user frustration, abandonment of searches and other undesirable results.

AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages. This is because AMP has essentially overhauled the core elements of how websites structure their mobile pages. It allows developers to strip down the markup creating a simpler, leaner, faster Web page. AMP eliminates third-party scripts like Javascript to create a bare-bones version, cached and delivered through Google’s speedy network. The results are stunning.

Google has been showing AMP results in the news carousel for several months. This has essentially softened up the user base for the full implementation.

It should be noted that AMP implementation should not be undertaken under the mistaken notion that it will provide a rankings boost. Whether a page is AMP or not will not influence its ranking, but here is the minor rub. Page speed has long been a ranking factor, and users have been shown to prefer fast pages. To my way of parsing the logic, a faster page will result in a better user experience. A positive user experience is the ultimate ranking factor.

Not Ready Yet!

Be advised that there are already 150 million AMP pages out there. You will not be a pioneer if you get on board now. If you are not ready to jump in the AMP pool with both feet, if it’s too new perhaps or too risky, then consider AMP-ing just a few pages or sections of your site and give it a test.

Don’t wait too long — this is another fast-moving change driven by users’ preferences for fast-loading pages, and your site is all about the users, isn’t it?

Author: Amanda G. Watlington, Ph.D.

Amanda is the founder of Searching for Profit, a search marketing strategy consultancy; and CEO of City Square Consulting, a management consulting firm. Amanda is an internationally recognized author, speaker and search marketing pioneer. Her consultancy focuses on using organic search to drive traffic to customer sites. She is an expert on the use of language for search. Her clients have included well-known and emerging brands.
The purpose of this blog is to provide insights and tips for how to use search profitably. It will cut through the volumes of information that threaten to overwhelm the busy marketer and will focus on what is truly important for making search work.

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