The Future of Mobile Content: Google AMP 🚀

Google took the world by storm when it released the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, an open-source initiative which is geared to take mobile search experience to the next level.

Google AMP is symbolized by the word AMP next to an encircled lightning bolt – giving a picture of what AMP is made for – making searching through one’s mobile phone faster. Web pages that have been AMP’ed load faster than regular pages.

AMP was brought about by the need to improve the loading speed of mobile web pages. Before AMP, pages take a while to load fully. Studies reveal that users abandon pages that load slowly. It is, therefore, essential to speed up the rendering of mobile web pages.

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From the Google AMP Project Website

Publishers are the first to transition to Google AMP, and since having gone to AMP, notable improvements have been experienced by users. VentureBeat has compiled results from case studies to show how Google AMP has boosted the performance of publishers’ websites:

  • New visitors make up 90 percent of the AMP traffic of the Daily Dot.
  • New visitors also make up more than 80 percent of AMP traffic to Gizmodo. However, this is less than 50 percent of all mobile traffic. Also, impressions on Gizmodo pages on AMP are 50 percent higher than those that are not on AMP.
  • 10 percent more time is spent by visitors on AMP pages for the Miami Herald than those of regular pages.
  • After being on AMP, there is a 44 percent increase in monthly unique visitors directed from Google for the Slate. There is also a 73 percent increase in the visits per monthly unique user.
  • For Wired AMP pages, there are a 63 percent higher click-through-rates (CTRs) on ads as compared to non-AMP pages. There is also a 25 percent increase in CTRs for search results.

What are the Benefits of Google AMP?

Google AMP offers a tremendous opportunity for those who would dare to test this out:

  • Faster loading times – this is the most significant and outstanding benefit from Google AMP. It virtually strips down a website to its bare necessities, showing only what you need. Because of the decrease in loading times, there is reduced page abandonment, resulting in lesser bounce rates.

Note that this is only for mobile pages. Once your user clicks on a link that is not modified as an AMP, it will show the current mobile page that you have. Slow websites are a big problem; take note that this can also be caused by several factors such as cheap web hosting, loaded, complex websites, and even latency due to geographical issues, mostly evident in international websites.

  • Increased search engine visibility – because Google prefers to show AMP pages instead of the other websites, you will notice that those lead the search results. For trending news, there’s even an AMP carousel on mobile.

Currently, publishers are enjoying the benefits of Google AMP as cited above. Google has plans to push AMP further with e-commerce integration, recipe pages, and more soon.

  • The boost in website traffic – people are now aware of what the little lightning bolt means; it means that they will get the results they want faster. Thus, people will click on AMP search results more than the other websites. On the other hand, Robert Mening has provided a guide to increase website traffic to a website using content and social media. Use this to your advantage.
  • Potential search ranking improvement – this will be discussed further below.

Google AMP: Soon-to-be Ranking Factor?

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We all know the story of Secure Sockets Layer or SSL. It became the standard technology in keeping a secured link between a web server and a web browser. Websites that make use of sensitive information are required to make use of SSL.

SSL became a ranking factor for Google because of all the benefits it provides. Although SSL was never a major ranking signal, a lot of websites installed SSL.

Google AMP has the potential of becoming a ranking factor. Although there are no clear signals yet that Google AMP will affect ranking soon, it is expected that Google will put the spotlight on sites that can provide a better user experience. With Google AMP, mobile searchers will be able to work faster, easier, and better, and with all that, hopes are high that AMP will be a key ranking factor soon enough.

How does Google AMP Affect Mobile Apps?

Last September, Google released this statement quietly in the Search Console Help Page:

Search results on mobile devices have begun to direct users to the equivalent AMP page, in preference to the equivalent app or web page. This might result in a decrease of traffic to your app pages when an equivalent AMP page exists.

To sum it up, here’s what Google’s John Mueller have to say:

 

In one sentence, Barry Schwartz makes it easier for us to understand:

 

It means a big deal as traffic will now be served to the AMP URL on your website, and not on your app.

This move by Google does not try to go up against Facebook’s Instant Articles feature. Facebook Instant Article only works with publishers to deliver instant content to readers, while Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages go beyond that. Google AMP is soon to be integrated with e-commerce websites, recipe pages, and more.

On the lighter side, even Bing is riding the AMP bandwagon. Now, Bing can detect an AMP website and prefers to load it first before the heavy version of the website.

Group Engineering Manager Marcelo De Barros is in charge of the AMP integration at Bing. “We started experimenting with AMP in our Bing App last May and have noticed that AMP pages load, on average, approximately 80% faster than non-AMP pages. Lighter pages also translate into fewer data being transferred over the network, requiring less network bandwidth to be downloaded.”

With Google and Bing supporting AMP, the future of the mobile internet is faster than ever.

How does AMP Work?

To boost the loading speed of websites, Google AMP works on three crucial factors:

  • AMP HTML

AMP HTML is basically HTML that are bundled with extensions for richer content but with certain restrictions to increase performance.

Some usual tags for basic HTMLs are replaced with AMP tags. For example, the ordinary <IMG> tag will be <amp-img>. These AMP-specific tags will ensure that the pages will perform better.

  • AMP JS

AMP JavaScript’s library are geared to help the faster rendering of AMP pages.

AMP JavaScript makes external resources asynchronous so that the page itself is not blocked from rendering.

Furthermore, iframes are sandboxed, the layout of all page elements are pre-calculated, and slow CSS selectors are disabled.

  • Google AMP Cache

The Google AMP Cache improves performance by caching AMP HTML pages and delivering valid AMP documents. By caching, documents and resources load from the same origin. HTTP 2.0 is used for maximum efficiency.

How to Install Google AMP

Google AMP is not that easy to install and implement.

Except for WordPress where an official Google AMP plugin will automatically transition your site to Google AMP, you will have to AMP up your site page by page. So talk to your developer and share this guide with them. (Note for WordPress users: pages and archives are not yet AMP-ready. Furthermore, AMP content is not displayed automatically. You can be directed to AMP only through Google Search).

Google AMP: The Future of Mobile Search?

Although Google AMP was initially made available for publishers, it will be available for all types of websites soon. In the not too distant future, all kinds of apps and websites will be AMPed. eBay has now started the AMP revolution for e-commerce; eventually, you’ll start seeing sites selling designer clothes, golf clubs, Star Wars collectibles, or your local grocery store loading faster, with easy access to the products you want in almost a blink of an eye.

Again, the story of SSL brings wisdom to ponder on. SSL was once an ambitious idea. It soon changed the way online security is maintained, ensuring that transactions are kept protected. AMP is also an ambitious idea. An idea to make mobile searching a faster, richer, and better experience. With all the benefits that Google AMP can give, it may just be the future of mobile search!

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is an e-commerce business owner somewhere in California, specializing in activewear and yoga outfits. She’s now debt-free from her student loans after she tried starting an online clothing boutique. You can find Erin doing a Baddha Konasana somewhere in La Jolla Cove when she’s not busy with her business.

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