Google AMP and its Influence on SERPs

Written By: Blake Davies

AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an initiative first introduced by Google in 2016. Since then, more than 600 million individual AMP pages have been published, with the largest contribution coming from the tech industry giants such as Bing, Google, eBay, WordPress, Pinterest and even Reddit. There’s a lot of debate going on in the SEO circles, as marketers and SEO professionals argue over whether AMP will one day find its place among other ranking factors and the implications it may have regarding the ranking position in the search engine results page.

How does AMP work?

Accelerated mobile pages are designed and used to make the content more streamlined on mobile browsers by decreasing the page load and increasing user engagement. This is accomplished by using a specific, open-source HTML code which loads the elementary formatting and basic imagery first and then loads the bulky page elements normally found on an average page. Additionally, Google caches all the content on its own servers, in order to further decrease the loading times.

Is it a ranking factor?

One of Google’s top webmaster analysts has stated during an interview that at this moment, AMPs are not considered to be a signal. This does not mean that in won’t become one sometime in the future, it simply means that the influence AMPs have on website ranking is simply negligible. That said, Google is already incorporating accelerated mobile pages into their organic search results.

Fast loading speeds and mobile-friendliness are the key traits Google’s algorithm is looking for when ranking a website, and AMPs are already mobile friendly and lightning fast. However, AMPs actually get the same boost when it comes to website ranking as do mobile-friendly pages, making their impact on SERPs less significant.

Will AMPs replace standard mobile results?

The answer is no. Google will not replace the traditional mobile results with accelerated mobile pages. Rather, Google wants to replace the mobile-friendly and desktop pages only if a website has an AMP page with that same content.

AMPs are favored, but only if they’re available. If not, it will first try to display the mobile-friendly page and if that’s not available, only then will it display the desktop page. This doesn’t mean that your website needs to have AMP pages. In fact, your website will have the same ranking position regardless of whether it is AMP(ed) or not.

Are there any benefits from using AMPs?

There are more than one actually. On mobile browsers, AMP pages show up at the very top of the results page, neatly packed in a horizontal swiping carousel.  This not only eliminates the need for additional vertical scrolling but also offers excellent visibility for the top-ranked AMP websites. And when it comes to digital marketing efforts, any additional screen real-estate is worth the pursuit.

While we’re on the subject of digital advertising, AMP pages are actually supported by both Google AdWords and Google Analytics. Publishers can incorporate ads into their AMP pages, along with dynamic content and various social media buttons.

Using analytics, you can then monitor the efficiency of your advertising efforts by tracking the way users interact with your AMP page. You can find out exactly where they click, how long they’ve stayed on the page and how many times your page got shared on various social media platforms.

What are the downsides?

Unfortunately, AMP pages cannot be used for lead generation. This is due to the fact that the AMP code doesn’t allow marketers to include any forms on their landing pages. Furthermore, accelerated mobile pages aren’t exactly designed to accommodate e-commerce. Instead, they are mostly used by news agencies for long-form, complex articles. That said, if you still wish to use AMP for your e-commerce business, SEO experts from Perth recommend you go over the instructions provided by Google for implementing AMPs into e-commerce websites.

From the perspective of an average user, AMPs are an ideal solution for bulky, slow-loading websites, bad internet connections and sometimes dreadful service provided by mobile networks. News publishers and web page owners also reap the benefits as their pages take way less time to load than they normally would, which leads to a better experience for their visitors and an increase in the overall rates of conversion.

Whether AMPs will go down in history as yet another digital trend, or will they end up joining Google’s list of ranking factors is still uncertain. But one thing is certain and that is that users want speed and AMPs are doing a hell of a job delivering it.

Bio: Blake Davies is a content marketing expert and a blogger. His interests include SEO, Google related novelties, tech and latest gadgets.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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