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Everything You Need to Know about Google AMP

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Google AMP Blog - Featured ImageWith the growth in mobile and tablet usage, more and more consumers are demanding better user experience for these devices. Today’s discerning users want and essentially demand lightning fast loading of publisher content on a mobile device. Remember, Google cites a 29% drop off when mobile users reach a site app that’s either too slow or that doesn’t provide the right information up front.

But when everyone is trying to do just that, how will you ensure that your strategies make you stand out from the crowd? This is where Google’s newly launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project comes to your rescue. Given that mobile usage is set to outpace desktop usage in the next few years, it could mean that, soon, AMP would become the norm, rather than exception. And we’re sure this realization will push a lot of marketers to change the way they conceptualize and create content for their sites. This article will introduce you to the nuances of Google AMP to help you stay ahead of the curve in 2016.

What exactly is Google’s AMP project?

Google has always given preference to mobile responsive designs to improve the working of mobile web. You must have experienced several times that you click on a link from your mobile and the page takes endless time to load. However, do you keep waiting for that site to open? Well, let’s see what the stats tell us. 

  • 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. (Source: Kissmetrics.com)
  • 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less. (Source: insights.wired.com)
  • A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. (Source: Econsultancy.com)
  • If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year. (Source: Sessioncam.com)

Therefore, to reduce site abandonment and other problems faced by mobile users, Google came up with this idea of launching AMP. The AMP feature will help your pages load much faster giving a good experience to the users.

How quickly will your AMP pages load?

Your AMP content will load at least 4 times faster than the conventional mobile-friendly pages. Also, it will use 10 times less data than the traditional pages. An article published in digiday.com states Google said that in experiments, its cut load time by 85 percent.

“Any story you choose to read will load blazingly fast—and it’s easy to scroll through the article without it taking forever to load or jumping all around as you read,” Google search vice president of engineering David Besbris wrote on Google’s blog. “It’s how reading on the mobile web should be—fast, responsive and fun,” cited an article published in wirelessweek.com.

Why do traditional mobile pages take time to load?

When you click on a link which is directed to traditional page from your mobile, there are many small parcels of information such as the scripts, image carousels, videos ads and other transcripts running in the background.

There are so many thing that it becomes almost impossible for your mobile device to pull it off therefore it loads slowly with the top part appearing first (in 3 or more seconds) and rest of it loading later.

On the other hand, an AMP tries to bring all these features together and resent it in a simple way to the audience. The main purpose behind AMP is speed and readability.  It is a simple form of HTML minus the forms, Javascripts with a streamlined version of CSS.

Let’s see how an AMP-optimized mobile content looks like

You can easily get to know how your content looks like after it is AMP optimized. Just type g.co/ampdemo in a browser of your smartphone and type in any popular keyword phrases such as “Justin Bieber Birthday” or “Jennifer Lawrence.”AMP-optimized mobile content

Further, on clicking the search button you will see that the pages that appear have an AMP tag to it. And also the fact that it has higher ranking than other pages in Google. It’s only the AMP pages that are showing above the fold and the other traditional pages are below them.AMP-optimized mobile content - 1

When you select the first article to read, it will look like the following.  

As you can see, there is content, images, ad as well as videos in this page. But it looks pretty simple to read.AMP-optimized mobile content - 3

What’s the reason for Google launching this AMP?

As we discussed it above, Google is obsessed with the performance of the web on mobile as more and more people are turning “mobile” these days. For Google, the website speed should be really fast on mobile devices. This implies that everything on your website, right from the images to the content and from your business logo design to your contact details must load within 3 seconds or less.

Therefore, it launched this AMP to improve the loading speed of web pages on mobile devices making it convenient for the users. But wait, how does this Amp help the publishers? Let’s go further deep to know about the benefits of AMP to business firms.

There is no denying to the fact that people love to read. And the faster they get, more of it will be consumed.  Apart from the regular content, Google is also trying its hand on to win the news intake war. 

In 2015, both Facebook and Apple had launched applications that allowed users to consume news related content. They were known as Apple News and Instant Articles.

On the other hand, what search engine giant Google did was to simply go to the big news publishers such as Time Inc., Vox, BBC, The Atlantic and The Huffington Post and ask them to optimize content for web consumption that makes it easy for distribution. 

Later, companies such as WordPress, Adobe Analytics, Chartbeat, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest too joined this bandwagon of optimizing content for open web.

A complaint about AMP

A common complaint about AMP is that there are restrictions on the type of content you can create for mobile – You cannot have fancy designs in HTML pages as speed is what AMP focuses at. Apart from the appearance, other things such as your email lists will also get affected. 

How to develop your first AMP?

Creating your first AMP page won’t be that easy. First, go through this basic guide and follow the below written pointers:

  • Use a boilerplate code to develop your first AMP
  • Stage it.
  • Certify that your content is AMP compliant using Google’s validator and this is the most important step.
  • You can now distribute your content.

Some of your elements will carry an AMP tag after these steps. For instance, your <img> tag will become <amp-img> and the <video> tag will become the <amp-video> tag and so on.

Benefits for WordPress users

In February only this year, Automattic launched an official AMP plugin. Thus, WordPress users will just have to click on that downloadable plugin and will get their AMP-optimized content.

The only issue here is that the plugin only supports posts and no other pages or archives. But imagine, just activating a plugin and all your content is AMP optimized. Isn’t this great? 

All your posts will be easily downloaded and read but the users. This, obviously, will help in increasing your number of readers. You can easily check the AMPlified version of your posts by fixing “/amp” at the end of the URL. For instance, the AMP version of mywebsite.com/amp-wicked-fast becomes mywebsite.com/amp-wicked-fast/amp.

AMP is not a search ranking factor

AMP is not something to increase your rankings. Turning your posts to an AMP version will make it more mobile friendly. It may reduce your bounce back rate but it is not here for your rankings. 

However, if we look closely, AMP pages anyway rank better than other traditional pages on Google. Therefore, even if you are not aiming to improve your ranking, this will anyway be an added advantage. Having an AMP page will make you stand out from the others in the mobile content war. 

An article published in Searchenginejournal.com states that “what does it matter if AMP is a ranking signal or not if AMP content already has a one-way ticket to the top of the first page? For the most part AMP content is already ranking above organic results, which is one of the greatest ranking boosts one can ask for.”

Before we wrap this up, last but not the least, AMP does not impact your advertising. An article published in Businessinsider reveals that, “According to Google, they want to support a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies. Any sites using AMP HTML will retain their choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience.”

Wrapping up

This was a lot about AMP. We hope that you found this post as well as our suggestions useful and are now clear about the recently-launched Google AMP Project. There is no harm I having both regular and AMP version of your pages. In fact, it will only bring you more benefits of fast loading pages. So, if you are a publisher and have not AMPlified your page yet, we would suggest you to check it out as this is an opportunity for a good mobile head start.

Author Bio:- Gaurav Kumar has been a blogger, digital marketer and an SEO expert at Designhill.com, one of the fastest growing custom design crowdsourcing platforms. Over the years, he has been helping small businesses and startups improve website design and SEO strategy, content marketing and user experience. He writes on a wide spectrum of subjects and is a regular contributor to several top-notch blogs and websites. You can engage with him on Twitter here @digitalmid.

Image Credits: designhill.com

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