SEO, WordPress

Google AMP: All you need to know

At the end of the day, what matters to the websites is the traffic. The more the traffic, the more successful is a website’s marketing strategy. But what drives the traffic is a multidimensional matter. Search engine optimization is the most popular strategy for increasing online presence and driving more traffic. To put it another way, it is a process of driving traffic from search engines like Google listings. However, it is essential to handle SEO optimally due to constantly changing algorithms and search engine rules.

A few years back, Google launched a mobile-friendliness update. It declared page loading speed one of the mobile search engine ranking factors. Therefore, today, SEO is focused on Google’s accelerated mobile pages (AMP). Thus, speed is one of the essential elements of an optimized website as the website’s loading speed affects SERPs. But what exactly is AMP, and how does it affect a website’s traffic?

What is a Google AMP?

Google AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) is an open-source initiative offered by Google that allows you to create web pages with fast loading time on a mobile browser. It is a prerequisite for capturing mobile traffic by providing a better mobile user experience. Technically, it helps the publishers create mobile-optimized content that takes less loading time. Google mentioned that it wants rich content like videos, high-quality images, graphics, and animation to load immediately. As an open-source, it is backed by LinkedIn, Word press, Twitter, Bing, and many more; however, Google is the key contributor. It is why it is called a Google AMP. The primary goal of the Google AMP is to enhance a better user experience on mobile and help drive more traffic. The inclusion of AMP in Google listing was in response to Facebook’s then instant articles and Apple News. Those formats were oriented to create mobile-friendly pages that load quickly.

How does it work?

The essence of AMP is caching. AMP pages use limited HTML and JavaScript and make the content host on Google AMP cache. So, when users type something in the Google Search and find your website, Google will direct them to the cached version of your website or the webpage. Accelerated mobile pages are the stripped HTML copies of an existing website. AMP pages strip down the original website to improve the load time. In this way, they will get access to the website or webpage without spending lots of time on buffering. It is how Facebook’s instant articles work. The only difference is that anyone can access your website or webpage without signing up for your page. In your AMP mobile Page, you cannot add additional features and widgets as you are restricted to use limited HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Moreover, you can only use Google Analytics for your AMP mobile pages.

When users click on AMP content, it is displayed in either of two ways:

1.    Google AMP viewer: 

When the source of the content publisher domains is displayed at the top, the URL remains a Google Domain.

2.    Signed Exchange:

It allows the browser to treat the webpage as it belongs to your domain. Out of Signed AMP content and Regular AMP HTML, Google will prefer linking it to the signed content for browsers that support it.

Why is AMP important for SEO?

AMP can be beneficial for your SEO; however, it is not necessary. AMP is not a Google ranking factor; it can help improve the factors that play a part in Google Algorithm. To put it simply, when a webpage has fast loading times, it will definitely get more mobile traffic. Today, people are more likely to access web pages on their phones. When they click on your webpage, the fast loading time will hook them, and with slow loading time, you will lose them. It further leads to an increased conversion rate. In this way, AMP is beneficial for SEO. But it would be best if you remembered that improving the mobile experience is not paramount to SEO. Moreover, AMP pages are oriented to be simple for the readers. If you are using third-party tools to generate traffic, you must check if the AMP page functions and captures information like the regular pages.

Benefits of Google AMP:

The many advantages of Google AMP are:

1.    Fast Loading times:

They say content is the king, but the users will only know about it when they access your website. The pace and frequency of consuming online content are readily increasing day by day. Therefore, the publishers are focusing on creating readable content. But with that, it is essential to make it easier for the reader to access the content. It is where Google AMP comes into play. AMP helps significantly decrease the loading times and makes it easy for the users to access it quickly as they click the website. People browsing the internet jump from one site to another, so you have a significantly short time to be presentable. It takes a few seconds to press the back button for the user when a website takes more loading time. So, an AMP webpage has fast loading times which is essential for increasing the user time on site and conversion rate and decreasing bounce rates.

2.    Enhanced Mobile Search Engine Rankings:

Mobile-friendly web pages and websites get higher rankings in the organic mobile search results. AMP mobile pages are more valuable according to the search engine than regular pages. It means that when someone types something relevant to your website in the Google search on the mobile, Google will show your AMP website or webpage in the top positions. 

3.    Additional visibility in Google search results:

AMP pages get a prominent display on the Google Search engine results page on mobile. These pages are shown with a lightning bolt icon that outstands them among other regular pages without such designations. Mobile users are more likely to proceed with such pages as they know they take less loading time.

4.    Flexible Ad support:

Looking at a webpage on mobile is very difficult as it is jumbled with distractions like header image, navigational menu, sidebar, and popups. These distractions significantly reduce the conversion rate necessary for the monetized websites and blogs. Such websites and blogs are primarily created to make money. But an AMP page has the solution to that. AMP removes the distractions on mobile browser pages as it uses limited HTML. The reduction in distractions means that you will easily make money from the website. However, it is essential to make sure that you deliver ads immediately and grab users’ attention. In this way, AMP allows for more flexible Ad support that enables a smooth flow of the ads helping you generate money.

5.    Analytics:

For any website, it is essential to keep an eye on the analytics to know about the leads and use the information to increase the conversion rate. Therefore, along with capturing the traffic, it is necessary to find where they are coming from, how much time they spend on the website, their navigating behaviors, etc. AMP offers you analytical tools that you can use to find the necessary information for tracking. 

Downsides of Google AMP:

1.    AMP cascading style sheets:

It is a restrictive framework that supports restricted  HTML, and JavaScript is out of the question. There are restrictions on CSS as well. It should be in line and size bound. The limit of the inline sheet is 75kB which has expanded from previously 50kB.

2.    Brand Identity:

AMP also overshadows a particular brand identity. When the users land on your AMP webpage, the URL of the actual website hides as Google caches it. The URL of the website is hidden under the info button at the top of the AMP page. It confuses and creates ambiguity for those who know the importance of URLs.

3.    Double legwork:

As said earlier, AMP itself is not a Google ranking factor; you will still have to optimize it like the regular website. It means that your task doubles, as you have to optimize the regular webpage and AMP page.

4.    Limited Ad features: 

The ad features on the AMP are also limited. AMP does not support disruptive Ads, like expandables or direct-sold ads. It can support few kinds of ads, like display ads and quick video ads.

5.    Engagement:

The AMP offers a swipe-up feature, which decreases the engagement rate. People do not engage with such content because they can read the same content from other publishers without swiping. As a result, this feature sometimes turns to be a downside to an AMP page.

Types of Google AMP:

You can use Google AMP to create four main kinds of accelerated mobile pages.

6.    Websites:

The Google AMP website is like a regular website that is created with limited HTML and CSS. However, from its appearance, it looks exactly like a regular website. The only way to differentiate an AMP website from a regular website is the lightning icon on Google’s search engine. The icon shows that the website has a fast loading time.  

7.    Ads:

When it comes to advertising, speed matters the most. The slow and sluggish ads are a source of distraction that is not suitable for websites.

Google AMP ads are the solution to monetize web pages. They load five times faster than regular ads. For example, if a regular ad takes 5 seconds to load, the Google AMP ad takes one second.

8.    Stories:

Like Instagram and Facebook stories, Google stories give instant visual narratives. Many news briefings use Google stories to highlight the hot stories. The users who do not want to skim the headlines and top stories quickly go through the short stories. Today, more people consume content through stories.

9.    Emails:

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing techniques. But there are a few emails with emails that are static and can only be fruitful if clicked by the recipients. If untouched, that they outdated easily. Google AMP emails, however, can sort out this problem. AMP emails are dynamic emails that display interactive and engaging content within the email, compelling the recipient to click the referral link.

Do you need an AMP?

While there are many benefits of AMP for a wide range of websites and web pages, it is essential to realize if it is worth it for your website. It is highly recommended to use an AMP website if most of your traffic comes from mobile devices. Also, it is highly advisable to use AMP pages to lower bounce rates. However, if most of the influx is from other sources like personal computers and laptops, you do not necessarily need to use AMP webpages.    

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