Back in 2015, the launch of Accelerated Mobile Pages marked another milestone in the way of a better mobile experience. For those who are unaware, AMP is an open source project, which helps mobile website content to be delivered quickly.
At a time when the audience’s attention span is down to 8 seconds (less than that of a goldfish), AMP has become a powerful weapon for publishers for grabbing the audience’s attention. By making websites and ads faster, AMP has helped businesses increase engagement and drive more conversions.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
AMP optimised mobile pages are lightweight HTML pages that have the capability to load faster.
In AMP, various elements come into play to improve website speed. For instance, images are loaded only when they are scrolled into view. Also, you cannot use certain HTML tags.
Let’s see how AMP functions: A search query in Google simply saying “NASA” will pop a top stories carousel at the top with these AMP optimised results. The median load time for these AMP pages is less than one second.
Note: Search engines like Yahoo, Bing etc also employ AMP.
Here, it is important to highlight the relation between page loading time and customer satisfaction.
Let’s look at what the stats say:
- A 1 second delay reduces customer satisfaction by 16%.
- 1 second of load lag time would cost Amazon $1.6 billion in sales per year.
This clearly reveals that your audience prioritises websites that are faster and that AMP is a good option to help deliver that.
AMP: From 2015 to now
Initially, AMP was mainly focused on media sites. Since AMP helped them find a way to the top of the search carousel, it was a blessing for the industry that operated on “breaking news”.
But the AMP landscape has experienced a dynamic shift since then. As more industries began to realise that AMP brought with it many advantages owing to the speed factor, they embraced the change.
Additionally, since Google has shifted its focus to mobile-first index AMP can be just the right option to benefit from this change.
Over 31 million domains have added AMP to grow their business since its inception. As per a report revealed by the AMP project, India Today, an AMP partner, is seeing 23% more revenue on its AMP pages as compared to non-AMP pages. AMP has also worked on improving the ads hosted within AMP pages. AMPHTML ads load up to 5 seconds faster than traditional ads. In fact, these ads can also be placed on non-AMP pages once they have been created.
How does AMP affect SEO
AMP is not a direct search engine factor but it matters because it is built around speed which is a key visibility metric.
Since the rollout of AMP, these SEO changes have been observed:
1. Increase in organic search traffic
Google is pushing mobile friendly content to the top of the search results. And AMP is a classic example of this. AMP pages get showcased on the first page of results. As a result, AMP has helped increase organic traffic. Take the case of Thrillist. They converted 90% of their web pages to AMP pages and saw a 70% increase in organic traffic, of which 50% came from AMP.
2. Better search engine rankings
When AMP puts your result at the top, organic traffic improves. And an increase in traffic boosts your search engine ranking. Research by Search Engine Land found that there was a significant increase in rankings when AMP was used.
Search engine rankings are a crucial determinant of your business visibility and a very important SEO metric. So, it won’t be wrong to say that AMP affects your SEO but indirectly.
3. Improved dwell time
Increased speed doesn’t just bring people to your website, it also improves the dwell time (the average time a user spends on a website) which means that speed not only enhances the readability but also contributes to better page interactions.
These interactions can also pave the way for further user engagement since a good mobile experience can prompt revisits.
Should you go the AMP way?
AMP pages definitely outperform non-AMP pages in terms of speed. But they do come with their own limitations. Since an AMP page uses a stripped down form of HTML, you cannot use some HTML tags. Since AMP restricts you to code your page in a particular way, a lot of the existing elements on your page might not work properly and you may need to stick to the basic ingredients.
But AMP is evolving and a few recent changes have worked addressing these issues. A couple of tweaks in the AMP library were rolled out in February this year. One of the features allow you to carry out significant UX enhancements to image galleries which improve the way users navigate through carousels.
With these changes, AMP definitely gains more appeal.
AMP can be really great for your business especially if loading time directly impacts your traffic, conversions and your revenue. In fact, adopting AMP is the right way to go when the dependence on speed is critical. Plus in the age of the mobile-first index, AMP does hold more relevance. If you feel the need for speed, AMP is the way to go.
In order to be able to define success when implementing AMP, it is crucial to set fixed key performance indicators over which you can monitor your results. For instance, if click through rate is most relevant to you, check your results for this metric, with and without AMP. Depending on the findings, you can decide whether to stay with AMP or not.
The AMP project is evolving. Whether you look at the improvements being made to the galleries or the forms or even the ads, AMP is working on delivering a better user experience. This means that AMP won’t just be about higher speed but will also focus on the intricate elements that affect user interactions.
All these changes are likely to enhance the impact of AMP on SEO in terms of click through rate, traffic and rankings.
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