In February 2016, Google launched their Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. The move was made to decrease the loading time of web pages, especially when they are browsed on mobile devices. AMPs are also quite useful for mobile browsing in areas with low signals. The number one question on every publisher’s mind, however, is this: How has AMP changed search engine optimization (SEO)?
How AMP Impacts SEO?
As mentioned, they launched in February, but Google announced the changes in October 2015. This gave publishers time to reevaluate their native advertising strategies in order to utilize AMP to their advantage. It wasn’t until September of 2016 that AMP was included in organic search pages.
The AMP is actually a similar tactic used by Facebook to limit the loading time of the links of publishers. When publishing an AMP page, it requires definitive coding techniques, much like the one Facebook requires to publish accelerated pages.
The changes allowed users to search for a keyword and come up with the easiest way to view the results. On the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), you will see the tag AMP next to the result.
It is not clear whether they take priority, but most of the results you now see on mobile’s google search include AMPs. Google announced on November 2016, that they would release a mobile-first index, similar to the one that they use for site submissions on their SERP.
Up to that point, most of the techniques used by publishers were simply experimental. Now, they are more aware that they have to optimize the responsiveness of their mobile sites – an existing and significant requirement by Google to rank high on SEO.
With AMP pages, it is a different ball game. You’re not just urged to make a responsive version of your website, you also have to create an alternative AMP page if you want to be included in their mobile first index.
How Can You Rank Higher with AMP?
Of course, Google would never promise that you will definitely rank higher because of AMP, but it does give you a better chance to rank first for a particular keyword. At this point in time, many of the first pages of SERP feature at least one AMP page. How do they do that?
It’s quite simple really. The only thing that’s changed in how Google reads mobile SEO is the existence of an AMP code and alternative page from your website. The keyword and quality analysis hasn’t changed, but the results have, in a way. Here’s how you can get your page to rank high on SERP:
- First, learn how to create an AMP page.
- Create an AMP HTML page. The codes are freely available on Google’s AMP page.
- Add a featured image. Don’t forget to add an alternative text for your main keyword. The image is not necessary, but users are more inclined to trust your site when they see high quality images.
- Ensure that the presentation looks well on mobile.
- Index your page.
- Validate your page to check if it follows standard AMP requirements.
- Once you publish your page, use this link to validate your page.
- Check to see if there are errors and correct them if necessary.
Pros and Cons of AMP
It is sometimes necessary to cut some stuff out to make room for better performance. That is what happened when AMP was released. When you Google popular keywords nowadays, you’ll see that little icon with the lightning rod, indicating that you are about to view an AMP page. It
loads faster, you get your information more quickly, but there is a cost to sending out information as quickly as AMP does. To give you a better example, here are some of the pros and cons of using AMP:
- AMP loads 4x faster than a regular mobile web page.
- It’s easy to use. You just need to type in a code in your page and you’re done.
- You can reduce image and document sizes for faster accessibility as well.
- Google favors AMP pages on SERP.
- Most AMP pages only allow one advertising tag.
- This limits your monetization options.
- Even if it’s easy to place an AMP code on a page, it is much more difficult to place on your source code. For that you will need to spend more on a web developer with expertise in AMP.
- Sometimes, AMP doesn’t work for a number of reasons:
- Some sites strip down their AMP codes to prevent major alterations in their source code.
- Some people try to do it on their own, thereby placing the AMP code in the wrong place and ruining the site’s chances of ranking altogether.
- Lastly, some users think that the analytics of AMP pages are not that robust.
With that being said, have you created your own AMP page yet? Do you have other questions about AMP? Learn more about SEO and how AMP affects it by starting a discussion in the comments below.