Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Optimization

In October 2015, Google announced on their official blog that they would be rolling out the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project in hopes of creating a “faster, open mobile web” experience. Accelerated Mobile Pages was launched by Google in February 2016, allowing publishers to create cached, fast-loading versions of pages on their site. Unlike other mobile publishing platforms like Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News, Google simplified the process by not involving an app or publishing tool. Accelerated Mobile Pages is still in its early days, but it seems that is here to stay and will only become more important. So let’s take a deeper look at AMP to get a better understanding of how it works, how it affects search, and what it may look like in the future.  

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Accelerated Mobile Pages are stripped down, lite HTML versions of web pages created to facilitate a faster, streamlined experience for mobile users. Primarily regarded as a publishing platform, Accelerated Mobile Pages often take the form of published content such as news stories, articles, and blog posts. Distributing this content in AMP format makes mobile content more accessible than ever before.  

How do Accelerated Mobile Pages work?

There are a combination of factors that allow Accelerated Mobile Pages to load fast on mobile devices. Overall, a limited number of tags are used on these pages including streamlined CSS properties and a unique set of AMP related HTML commands. A new format of standardized Javascript for mobile pages is also used on Accelerated Mobile Pages to allow external page content and resources to load asynchronously. The result of limited tags, streamlined CSS, and custom AMP related HTML and Javascript commands create a heavily cached, fast loading version of the page for mobile devices.  

Accelerated Mobile Pages in SERPsAccelerated Mobile Pages

Now that we’ve been able to see Accelerated Mobile Pages in action, we can see how they will affect mobile SERPs. Where will they show up in search results? What will they look like? Accelerated Mobile Pages appear in a carousel format in mobile SERPs, and allow users to scroll through results by swiping to the left. In these results, you will mostly find news stories, articles, and blog posts being indexed by Google as Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google has also started to implement advertisements in AMP results that will be cached, fast loading versions of these ads. As Accelerated Mobile Pages continue to evolve and be inserted into mobile SERPs, there will be an ever-growing need to optimize AMP pages to increase visibility and clicks to your site.   

SEO Benefits

Implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages on your site will not only create a better mobile experience but also has the potential to increase the overall visibility and SEO value of your site.  

    • Click-Through Rate – Faster load times and greater search visibility has the potential to increase CTRs and drive more users to your site.
    • Mobile Page Speed – Faster page speed will increase the SEO value of your site and encourage more visitors to engage with page content.
    • Impressions & Engagement – AMP driving more visitors to your site will help increase these two important metrics for your site.
    • Future Ranking Factor? – While AMP is currently not a ranking factor, it may be something Google will look to prioritize in the future.

  Accelerated Mobile Pages can have a big impact on your site in many ways. Optimizing your Accelerated Mobile Pages for search engines and users can help ensure your site is taking full advantage and reaping the rewards of AMP.  

Optimizing Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages optimization starts with ensuring that you have set them up correctly with the correct HTML and Javascript formats. First, check to see how AMP will integrate with your site’s CMS. For example, WordPress has a plugin that helps you set up AMP on your site.   AMP Validator Tool   After setting up AMP pages, you can use the Chrome AMP Validator Plugin to test the validity of the pages and see if they are functioning properly. Once you have validated your Accelerated Mobile Pages and configured analytics (AMP requires a unique analytics tag), you can begin optimizing your pages and measuring results. When optimizing AMP pages, it is important to make sure you are creating engaging titles and headlines that include a call-to-action and encourage clicks. It is not a good idea to stuff keywords into this text, but rather focus on the topic of the article for the title. Also, consider optimizing your article’s featured image that will appear in AMP results. Use an image that is bound to grab the attention of users. Now that you have the attention of your visitors, make sure users engage with page content by having a robust headline and introduction. Search Console is a great resource for tracking and measuring the success of Accelerated Mobile Pages on your site. This will help test your Accelerated Mobile pages for errors and show you how google is indexing these pages. Check out this Search Console Guide for more AMP tips, including how to properly set-up canonical tags on your Accelerated Mobile Pages.  

The Future of Accelerated Mobile Pages

As mentioned earlier, Accelerated Mobile Pages is still in its early days and will continue to evolve and change search in many ways. Currently, Google is primarily indexing news, articles, and blog posts in AMP results, but has recently published a blog post detailing an expansion of AMP results beyond the top stories section in SERPs. Accelerated Mobile Pages will now be found throughout the entire search results page, presenting many new opportunities for sites to implement AMP. For instance, the online shopping giant eBay has implemented Accelerated Mobile Pages on many of their shopping pages in anticipation of a future indexation of AMP shopping results. This is just one example, but represents the ample opportunities of Accelerated Mobile Pages in the future. Now is the time to Get Started with Accelerated Mobile Pages. Happy optimizing!

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